Eclairs side cracks

21
11
Joined Jan 8, 2017
Hi,

I am not a professional chef, but I am crazy about everything french in terms of desserts[emoji]128516[/emoji]. I want to achieve professional looking eclairs in my home kitchen, so please tell me if it is possible?! First[emoji]128516[/emoji] And second: is it normal to have cracks on a side of eclair? The top looks perfect, but sides...pretty much all of them have that. - what do I do wrong?
Also, when I cut my shell in the middle, I see some webbing inside - is it normal? Or they are supposed to be completely hollow? And when I touch them inside they are slightly moist, outside is nice and brown, but inside - how they supposed to look and feel inside.

Please help me to get them right, otherwise I will loose my mind[emoji]128514[/emoji][emoji]128514[/emoji][emoji]128514[/emoji]


 
21
11
Joined Jan 8, 2017
Forgot to mention: with these particular ones I was using chefjoeyprats recipe I found here. And I was baking them on a perforated silicone bread mat.
 
4,474
422
Joined Jun 27, 2012
You are off to a great start /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif  !

The cracking is just steam escaping from the choux as it bakes.

Try lowering your oven temp and if that does not help pipe a larger shell.

You could try adding boiling water to your oven (equalizes the humidity in the oven so whatever is in there will release steam slower) but then IMO you end up being fiddly re the amt of steam.....was it enuf ...was it too much.

Drive yourself crazy lol.

mimi
 
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21
11
Joined Jan 8, 2017
You are off to a great start :)  !
The cracking is just steam escaping from the choux as it bakes.
Try lowering your oven temp and if that does not help pipe a larger shell.
You could try adding boiling water to your oven (equalizes the humidity in the oven so whatever is in there will release steam slower) but then IMO you end up being fiddly re the amt of steam.....was it enuf ...was it too much.
Drive yourself crazy lol.


mimi

I tried the lower temperature and it didn't give a big lift to them. How much water do you think I should add? And just pour it to the bottom?

Thanks, Mimi
 
21
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Joined Jan 8, 2017
Obviously you are not baking bread but this blog post helps with some whys and hows.
http://www.thekitchn.com/food-science-tip-add-steam-whe-76586

m.

Thank you! Read it all! [emoji]128516[/emoji][emoji]128516[/emoji][emoji]128516[/emoji] and already mixing a new batch to try this! [emoji]128516[/emoji][emoji]128516[/emoji][emoji]128516[/emoji] What temperature you think I should try this time?
At this point I tried 180C, 190C, 220C - they didn't grow fully. The best lift I got (and it is on my pictures) - preheated to 250C, put the tray in and turned it off for 15 minutes (I read somewhere that it supposed to mimic a deck oven effect), then turned it on 170C for the rest
 
21
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Joined Jan 8, 2017
Ok, that didn't work[emoji]128516[/emoji][emoji]128516[/emoji][emoji]128516[/emoji]
Now I have cracks on both sides, plus they were flat.

Do you think it could be a recipe that causing this?

Could this recipe potentionaly work better?:

125 ml water
125 ml milk
100 g butter
150 g flour
10 g sugar
5 g salt
4-5 eggs
 
4,474
422
Joined Jun 27, 2012
I am not a huge pastry person so cannot do more than speculate...maybe your water flour ratio or maybe getting the choux too dry during that last moment in the pan.

There are those who are and maybe one could jump in?

This looks promising...I don't own a copy but at one point had a chart hanging in the pantry.... http://ruhlman.com/2009/06/pate-a-choux-cream-puff-dough/

Hope this helps my friend.

mimi
 
3,317
738
Joined May 5, 2010
Cracks are normal. It happens when I bake gourges or cream puffs too.

It's the steam escaping. If they went flat, they may have been under cooked.
 
4,474
422
Joined Jun 27, 2012
 
Cracks are normal. It happens when I bake gourges or cream puffs too.

It's the steam escaping. If they went flat, they may have been under cooked.
Altho it is thrilling to have a perfectly turned out batch sometimes.

Looking in the mirror wondering if I were a batch of shells where would I end up lol.

Bottom back of the tray most likely lol.

mimi
 
4,474
422
Joined Jun 27, 2012
Ok, that didn't work[emoji]128516[/emoji][emoji]128516[/emoji][emoji]128516[/emoji]
Now I have cracks on both sides, plus they were flat.

Do you think it could be a recipe that causing this?

Could this recipe potentionaly work better?:

125 ml water
125 ml milk
100 g butter
150 g flour
10 g sugar
5 g salt
4-5 eggs
Did not do more than glance but these look pretty darn perfect IMO.

We are all our own worst critics after all.

mimi
 
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4,474
422
Joined Jun 27, 2012
This is a different angle shot.

Is the line of cracks on the sides still as wide as the first?

m.
 
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21
11
Joined Jan 8, 2017
Cracks are normal. It happens when I bake gourges or cream puffs too.

It's the steam escaping. If they went flat, they may have been under cooked.

Chefross, so the cracks I have on my first pictures are normal??? Maybe I am just too hard on myself and want them perfect at all angles[emoji]128516[/emoji]
What about webbing inside them? What counts as being normal?

Thank you for your help!
 
3,317
738
Joined May 5, 2010
Chefross, so the cracks I have on my first pictures are normal??? Maybe I am just too hard on myself and want them perfect at all angles[emoji]128516[/emoji]
What about webbing inside them? What counts as being normal?

Thank you for your help!
I just did a Google search and looked at the images.When I did. I saw lots of cracks, and some webbing.

I think you are  being too critical of yourself.
 
4,474
422
Joined Jun 27, 2012
IF...you want to experiment further...try switching out your piping tip for something a bit larger...a regular round without the cute little lines.

It is fun to change things up sometimes and may stop some of the cracks (that are definitely normal and scream made by hand artisan!) IF you are feeling froggy that is.

Maybe.

lol.

mimi
 
5,192
296
Joined Jul 28, 2001
@OliviaS,

                 Although your first posted eclairs would pass in most professional kitchens, you can achieve what you're desiring.

The outside is not staying pliable/soft enough to handle the growth of the inside.

couple of things to consider.

Always start with a rapid boiling liquid.

A flour with a higher gluten than APF would probably be best.

Finish stirring the roux completely and add it to your mixer. Medium paddling will cause steam to escape. You need to paddle until most all the moisture is gone

     and the bowl will feel warm, not hot.

A softer mixture will help with expansion cracks.

When washing, it's best to dilute the eggs well. A stronger egg wash will form a skin quickly and inhibit stretch.

A complete and long preheat is best. Turning your pan will also help.

Personally, I'm not a fan of water bathing. There should be plenty of steam in your oven.

If you see your outsides starting to set to quickly, you can always spritz a little.

The goal is to keep internal temp the same as the exterior.

Don't be afraid to pipe a soft mixture.

A good test is when your finished adding eggs,( don't be afraid to let this part run a length of time ), run the handle of a wooden spoon through the mixture. The gap created

by the handle should be closing back up about 1.5 to 2" behind the handle.

HTH's
 
21
11
Joined Jan 8, 2017
@OliviaS
,
                 Although your first posted eclairs would pass in most professional kitchens, you can achieve what you're desiring.
The outside is not staying pliable/soft enough to handle the growth of the inside.
couple of things to consider.
Always start with a rapid boiling liquid.
A flour with a higher gluten than APF would probably be best.
Finish stirring the roux completely and add it to your mixer. Medium paddling will cause steam to escape. You need to paddle until most all the moisture is gone
     and the bowl will feel warm, not hot.
A softer mixture will help with expansion cracks.
When washing, it's best to dilute the eggs well. A stronger egg wash will form a skin quickly and inhibit stretch.
A complete and long preheat is best. Turning your pan will also help.
Personally, I'm not a fan of water bathing. There should be plenty of steam in your oven.
If you see your outsides starting to set to quickly, you can always spritz a little.
The goal is to keep internal temp the same as the exterior.
Don't be afraid to pipe a soft mixture.
A good test is when your finished adding eggs,( don't be afraid to let this part run a length of time ), run the handle of a wooden spoon through the mixture. The gap created
by the handle should be closing back up about 1.5 to 2" behind the handle.
HTH's

You will not believe me, but I've read all the post here about eclairs and did screen shot all your advises! :)

I did correct most of my mistakes: I was using bread flour, mixing till the steam stops, preheat well, BUT you are right - I am afraid to pipe runny mixture, I am afraid once I pipe them they will go flat :(. So I did this test and it did fail - it didn't close 2'' behind. Plus for some reason I am afraid to wash them, I spray some oil thinking it will have the same effect?
It is hard to control the steam inside my oven because it all comes out through the vent and there is no option to cover it.
When you saying wash should be diluted - can you give an example? Is it only an egg yolk or the whole egg? Diluted with milk, righ?
Also, should I dry the roux for couple of minutes? I've doing it for 2-3 minutes till the skin form at the bottom of my pan.
The recipe I posted above does it looks good to you? Or I should search for another one?
One more question if you don't mind - what temperature you will suggest to try once I get perfect runny mixture and some egg wash?

I know I maybe to harsh on myself, but when I look at Christophe Adam's eclair I don't belive they have any cracks! LOL! So that is my goal - I want them so perfect! [emoji]128516[/emoji][emoji]128516[/emoji]
 

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