Croissants

Discussion in 'Professional Pastry Chefs' started by amethyst511, Jan 26, 2018.

  1. amethyst511

    amethyst511

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Exp:
    Pastry Chef
    Hi everyone, I'm new here and I'm hoping to learn loads. I already have - I just read through 10 pages of search results on croissants to learn from you and also not ask questions that have already been addressed in the past.

    I have been a pastry chef for the past 6 years, and only now am I getting into vinennoiserie. I've made puff pastry, inverted puff pastry, laminated brioche, kouign amann, kugelhopf with great success (all by hand), but a good croissant eludes me.

    After about half a dozen trials I have realised that I go too thin with my dough between folds (6mm) and at the end of 3 simple turns, the layers are too married into each other when I roll it out to 3mm to shape.

    My ingredients: Isigny St. Mere butter, plain flour, instant yeast (just ordered ormotolerant yeast to see if that helps),
    My tools: Large French rolling pin, kitchen at 19-20°C and and pastry wants to keep the thickness of my rolled out butter and dough precise.

    Here are my specific questions:
    * How thin should I roll our a recipe (with 250g roll-in butter for perspective)
    * How many folds do you typically make?
    * How thin is your final rolled out dough before shaping?
    * What is the size of your triangle for a croissant and the rectangle for a pain au chocolat
    * What is the % of yeast in your recipe (please mention type of yeast you are using)

    Also! I've been seeing wonderful photos of Bachour's croissant's all over instagram, but book reviews say that the steps aren't clearly mentioned. Has anyone tried his method/book?

    Many thanks in advance for your participation!
     
  2. Pat Pat

    Pat Pat

    Messages:
    532
    Likes Received:
    218
    Exp:
    Chef Emeritus
    Kouign-amann is a croissant that's finished in a different shape; if you had great success with it, there's no reason why you cannot make a good croissant.

    Anyway, to answer your questions:

    This is the question a lot of people ask. Basically, you roll it out to whatever thickness that produces the dough of the size that suits your equipment and space. The thinner you roll your dough out, the bigger the resulting dough once folded. For example, if you only have a 30 x 30 cm space in your fridge to rest the dough between folds, then you should roll your dough out to no more than 30 x 90 cm (if you're doing a single fold). In general, you can aim for 5 mm.

    It varies depending on my need. With less folds, you get a more delicate (wide-open crumb) product. With more folds, you get a sturdier (finer and tighter crumb) product.

    Also varies depending on my need. Anywhere from 3-5 mm for a standard croissant.

    This varies as well.

    1-2% of osmotolerant yeast depending on the dough resting time. Longer rest = less yeast.

    Yeah, I have the book. The instructions are kinda shoddy like you mentioned. I don't know if it's because he's just a bad writer or if he intentionally withholding information so people will spend more money attending his baking classes.

    I haven't had a chance to bake from his recipes yet, but one thing I notice is that he kneads his dough until the gluten is fully developed (i.e. it passes the windowpane test). Typically, you barely knead the dough at the beginning and develop the gluten during the rolling and folding procedures. So maybe that's the key to the honeycomb crumb you are after?
     
    amethyst511 likes this.
  3. amethyst511

    amethyst511

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Exp:
    Pastry Chef
    hi @Pat Pat. Many thanks for taking the time to reply to my post.

    The window pane test for the croissant dough is a very interesting deviation. I've never done that, and I'l give that a go next time.

    As for having success with kouign amann - i feel like because I'm making by hand, I have better results when the % of butter is higher? So it doesn't spread as thin as it does with croissants. I wouldn't completely agree that kouign amann is croissant dough in a different form. Maybe that's a case now (At least in the States) as this article also confirms: http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/09/best-kouign-amann-nyc.html My recipes are drawn from comparing ratios of French chefs (Pierre Hermé, Conticini, Yann Couvreur, Christophe Adam...) and putting them in an excel sheet to bring them down to percentages.. and the average % of butter as a % of flour for kouign amann is 80% (aka leavened puff pastry) whereas for croissants is typically 50%. Although, some of the chefs do have a higher % of butter, but that's the average.

    Thank you, again, for all your feedback.

    Looking forward to how more of you approach croissants too.
     
  4. chefross

    chefross

    Messages:
    2,731
    Likes Received:
    384
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    I've given your thread a thought or two since I regularly made croissants each and every day for about 3 years while going to college.
    If I may:

    a. Do you stretch the triangles after rolling and cutting them?
    b. Do you make a small grape sized "football" shaped piece of dough to roll in the middle of the croissant?
    c. Do you bake at a high to get the "umph" the dough needs to rise?

    Besides all the ratios and ingredients, have you given thought to the proof?

    My French Chef built his own proofer because he was not satisfied with American made ones.
    He always mentioned how important that final proof should be.

    There were times that I doubted him, especially when the croissants came out of the proofer with a lot of the butter leaked out.
    But sure enough into a 500 degree deck oven they went and 17 minutes later, "heaven"... came out of the oven.
    Those babies were golden brown with a nice crust, 7 folds on each side and nicely curved.
    I had to learn the "right" way or I would have been gone from that place.
     
  5. amethyst511

    amethyst511

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Exp:
    Pastry Chef
    Hi @chefross, I do believe that my croissants get a good proof. The latest batch was nice and jiggly and you could see the seperate layers, before I baked it in the oven. I simulated the conditions by keeping the temperature of my oven at 27°C and a hot water tray at the bottom for humidity.

    To answer your questions:
    a. Do you stretch the triangles after rolling and cutting them?
    Yes
    b. Do you make a small grape sized "football" shaped piece of dough to roll in the middle of the croissant?
    No, haven't done that before in my trials. Now that you mention, I do remember that at one of the bakeries in Paris I staged at, they stuffed the edge trimmings into folds (not quite the same thing) but it makes me wonder if that messes up the lamination?
    c. Do you bake at a high to get the "umph" the dough needs to rise?
    I bake at 200°C for 10 mins with steam and then turn it down to 180°C (except that in this latest batch photographed above, I forgot to turn the oven down!!)

    I've attached a photo of the latest batch of croissants I made. I used it making this recipe weekendbakery.com/posts/classic-french-croissant-recipe/ (this recipe has 6% fresh yeast compared to the others that are at 3-4%). Finally I can see a crumb that's open! But there's still a lot of work to be done.

    [​IMG]
    images uploader

    Based on my last try, I have additional questions:
    * Why are my croissants spreading wider rather than rising? I suspect it doesn't have enough gluten strength to hold up so I need to knead the dough to windowpane test the next time?

    The plan is to get my structure, shape and technique right, after which I want to tinker with fermented dough, poolish and levain in my dough. Many thanks, again.
     
  6. panini

    panini

    Messages:
    5,168
    Likes Received:
    283
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    Just me, nut But I don't thing kouig-amann and croissants are similar at all. the Kouign-amann has fewer layers and the dough inside is allowed to be baked inside. In croissants, the the thin sheets are fried between the sheets buy the fat in between.
    Just me now.
    Most memorable mornings of my life was to be asked as a kid to get up early and help Chef Yves Thuries prepare Kouig-amann for one of his female friends.
     
    amethyst511 likes this.
  7. Pat Pat

    Pat Pat

    Messages:
    532
    Likes Received:
    218
    Exp:
    Chef Emeritus
    From the picture, it looks like your croissant is either under-baked or the dough is too wet (too much liquid).

    I produced a similar looking crumb once when I switched the flour type but forgot to adjust the liquid.

    Does your dough feel flabby when you're lifting or folding it?
     
  8. amethyst511

    amethyst511

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Exp:
    Pastry Chef
    @Pat Pat the dough feels pretty firm -it takes effort to roll it out. Are you sure it could be underbaked - the colour is so dark and intense.. I want my croissants to be golden.
     
  9. dueh

    dueh

    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    35
    Exp:
    Professional Baker
    baking at 200 C seems a bit hot too me. Although I am at a high altitude, which makes a bit of a difference with all things leavened.

    I bake croissants at 176 C ( 350 F) and egg wash rather than steam. Lower temp and the egg wash leaves the outside moist longer allowing for expansion, and does not brown the outside near as fast. Steam is great for a crusty bread, but i have never tried it with a croissant.

    A few questions though...
    Do you mix the dough and laminate same day?
    How long are you resting the dough between turns?

    How do you have your oven set up? Baking stone?
     
  10. amethyst511

    amethyst511

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Exp:
    Pastry Chef
    So far I have heated the oven to 200°C and bake for 10 mins, then reduce to 175°C for the next 5-10 mins. Definitely need to tinker with that. I eggwash, not steam. 1st coat of egg wash after shaping, and 2nd right after baking.

    Today I baked 3 more croissants from the same batch (i'd refrigerated them overnight) and I proofed it for an hour at 27°C and the structure held better rather than how it's spread out in the photo up. So that's good progress in terms of keeping an eye on the clock for the final proof.

    To answer your questions @dueh
    * I mix the dough on Day 1. Leave it out for about 45 mins then refrigerate for 12-18 hours
    * I laminate on Day 2
    * I bake some on the same day and refrigerate or freeze as needed

    So far I'm testing in a home convention oven in a regular sheet pan without a baking stone which kinda sucks because I need the strong heat from the bottom to lift the croissants..
     
  11. Pat Pat

    Pat Pat

    Messages:
    532
    Likes Received:
    218
    Exp:
    Chef Emeritus
    I'm not sure but it's possible judging by the way the crumb looks.

    Crust colour doesn't always indicate how cooked the inside is. Think of a rare vs. medium steak; they look the same on the outside, but are completely different on the inside.
     
    Vjan likes this.