Tips on making croissants?
I don't usually bake much, but have a craving for croissants and thought I'd give it a shot (yikes!) Anyone with more expertise have any tips on how to make them come out light and flaky? Also thought I might try to fill some w/a good dark chocolate (yum)
Adagio, I have a question about your recipe. For the final roll before shaping, if I roll to 3mm (you recommend 2.75mm) my croissants weigh about 60g each. According to your spreadsheet I think they should weigh 125g. Is that correct? Thanks for your help........again!
I think I need to qualify something: If you use my spreadsheet, and you put 12 for the units with 125grams as the target, you will get something less than that.
Remember, during the laminating process, there is some trimming around the edges so we dont trap, what I'll call "dead dough"...that is dough without any butter layer.
And during the roll out, you might choose to "square" up the final sheet to get consistency of shape which will mean more trimming. Or, if you use a Croissant cutting wheel, you will leave some dough behind!
Remember...NO "patching", or mixing in the trimmed pieces with the laminated dough. Those pieces you use in the next day's batch of dough!
Your final roll will be something less than 125 grams...maybe 10% less. Of course, baked, it will be another 10% less.
Oh...and before anyone writes to yell at me, real "dead dough" is made with white rye and sugar syrup to make decorative pieces! The French term is Pate Morte.
The "dead dough" in my formula is my term!
Remember to proof the croissant fully...about 2 hours at 80F and 80RH. You should see the lamination on the sides of the dough and when proofed fully, the roll should "jiggle" if you shake the pan.
Egg wash 5:1 egg to water carefully and don't puddle up the wash in the cracks or you have croissant with an omelet in between!
When shaping, keep the roll tight and make sure the final tip is under the roll so it won't spring open.
If you do the German style (cressent), make sure you put a slit in the small part of the triangle and pull it apart somewhat so you will have a long enough roll to shape into the cressent. Also, before rolling, streeeeeeetch the dough somewhat to make sure you have enough to get the traditional seven steps...all this while keeping the dough cold!
so...tip on the bottom, pull the ends around, one tip over the other and press them together firmly. They will separate when baked and that's the goal.
After much experimenting, and TJ no longer selling Plugra cheap, I settled on Organic Valley European Style Cultured butter for my croissants. Both work equally well. I go back and forth about which flavor I prefer. Something to do with moon cycles, maybe.
When I'm traveling in places where really good, cultured butters are not available, Kerry is my best choice because it is available in so much of the world.
Hi Ralph, I want to thank you for all the croissant-making tips you've shared here. You also offered your recipe to anyone interested. Of course, I took you up on that offer. I practiced like crazy over the winter until my results were consistently great. This summer I am at two farmers markets and selling like crazy as well as filling special orders. Now my problem is upping production in my teeny, tiny kitchen. A great problem to have! This is all due to your help. Thank you!
Thanks so much Ralph, these were outsanding!
For the lamination procedures for the intricacies I followed weekendbakery's video, found here:
I still think it needs a bit of work in the middle to get more of that honeycomb structure you want but overall for my first try I can't complain!
Adagio, thank you for sharing your croissant recipe. You are so generous. As you suggested I'm making 4 batches 4 days in a row. Third one is in the oven now. Fourth one will be baked tomorrow morning. This has indeed helped me listen to the dough and learn my oven which is going to insure consistency in the croissants. The croissants are amazing. Gold-brown color, shatter effect, beautiful open layers inside, pleasant buttery taste. There is a women who sells her homemade croissants at a local farmers' market and she has a loyal following. She was my inspiration for setting out on my own croissant-making quest 5 yrs ago. I bought some from her this morning to compare with mine. The color was good but no shatter, dense layers and they tasted old. I am now convinced to go ahead with my home baking business. I appreciate the information you emailed me about equipment and state/county regulations. I've started the process to get my kitchen licensed to make "cottage foods" in Ohio. I'm in touch with a rep from Plugra to purchase butter in bulk. Not sure if it's possible but he's checking. I've heard of butter sheets that are available in Europe and Australia. Anything like that in the States? Since I can't eat all my experiments, I share them with friends and neighbors who give rave reviews. Now I want to see if people will put money where their mouth is.
TIPS AND TRICKS LEARNED FROM EXPERIMENTING WITH CROISSANTS DOUGH:
1. DO NOT MIX INGREDIENTS TOO LONG! GLUTEN WILL DEVELOP DURING LAMINATION! IF YOU MIX TOO LONG, GLUTEN WILL APPEAR TOO SOON, WILL RESIST YOU DURING ROLLING AND YOU’LL BE LOSING ITS FORCE FOR THOSE LAST MINUTES OF BAKING AND THEY WILL DEFLATE UPON GETTING OUT OF THE OVEN AT THE END!
2. A MUST MUST MUST: FREEZE DOUGH FOR ABOUT 30 MINS BEFORE incorporating the butter. Butter and dough here SHOULD be of the same consistency.
3. Roll dough gently in one direction, in single long shots and not in tiny interrupted ones.
4. When doing your folds, TRIM BOTH TOP AND BOTTOM EDGES SO AS NOT TO TRAP DOUGH AND GET “DEAD” DOUGH AS RALPH SAYS. I NOTICED THAT THIS WAY, BUTTER WILL ALWAYS BE IN CONTACT WITH DOUGH IN THE SHAPING, HENCE MORE AIRATION AND FLAKINESS.
5. When egg washing, don’t let egg wash drizzle on parchment for it will make croissants stick to parchment paper.
6. Proof at 75-78C or 23-25C.
7. Butter make leak from dough being too tight hence, not able to expand. Therefore, increase liquid in recipe.
8. If proofed enough, but SHOULD NOT leak during baking, (2-2.5 hrs).
9. Amount of butter block for lamination: 25%, so 250g for every 1Kg dough weight. You can go up to 35% if you like. If calculating from flour weight, use 45% of butter. For home rolling, increase butter otherwise if too thin, butter will be absorbed into dough or leak out. So, might use 55% of flour weight = 30% of dough weight.
10. Finally, READ AND EXECUTE EVERY SINGLE WORD Ralph says. I called myself Happierbaker here (Happybaker was taken) as a result of Ralph’s kind instructions to me. I now have nicer looking croissants with those typical hollow holes in the center and this is again due to him. It gives me great pleasure to post a picture of my progress and success. Couldn’t have done it without you Ralph, THANK YOU EVER SOOOOOO MUCH!!!
Don't forget Pain au Chololat!!!!
If you've rolled out dough for Croissant...why not a few Pain au Chololat?!
Just cut the dough into 4 X 4 squares and trap two chocolat batons so that you have two side by side connected rolls. Or, you can cut the dough about 2.5 X 4 and trap just one baton. If you do the two batons, after you roll one side, then the other, turn them over to proof on parchment just like croissant the same way.
You can find short orders of batons from King Arthur:
Barry Callebaut has made this chololat sticks just for pain au chocolat. The melt just enough at the correct temperature!
Make sure you put the batons IN the dough and NOT your mouth!
Don't blame me for the extra weight you put on!
Adagio Bakery & Cafe
You can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I'll send you the formula.
Remember, we use weight and NOT volume. A small dietary scale will do you. Also, frash baker's yeast is in the formula with an adjustment column for instant yeast.
blog...maybe I shoud do that...If I knew how!!!
Adagio Bakery & Cafe
And here's more fun with Croissant:
The Kerry Gold people generously send me a bunch of their high end unsalted butter to try.
I usually use Plugra.
So...today I made two runs and made sure I did everything, identically, the same.
I'll let you know how I did and who won>>>lol
Also, after much experimenting and trying to "cheat", there is no substitution for high end butter.
Notice I didn't say "hi fat butter".
As I understand it, in the normal butter process, if you do what you do to get butter, it comes out around 80%.
If, though, you upgrade the process, you get a different product. The higher fat...somewhere around 82 to 83% is a result of that process.
So...again, as it was explained to me...it isn't the tiny 2%, it's the process.
Wish me luck!
Adagio Bakery & Cafe
PS. Not terribly board literate here...how does one start a new topic!?
Click on "Chowhound" up towards the top of the page.
You will see a list of boards. Click the one that is appropriate to your topic and click it.
Towards the top of that page, in red on the left, you will see "add new post".
Click that and type away.
Then click "add topic" at the bottom in red when you are done typing to post your new topic.
OK...the butter argument...
I did several attempts with several butters.
All butters were unsalted, and of the European style...82% plus fat. Remember, it's not so much the fat content as the process by which the butter is made!
I look for the following.
1. extensible dough
2. pliability of butter at VERY cold temperatures for precise laminations.
3. Ease of final roll out to 3mm after 30 minutes in freezer
4. Proofing...no leakage of butter at 82 F and 80%RH
5. Good size increase during the proof...usually 2 to 2.5 hours. Croissant should be 'poofy' and jiggly and you should see the laminations on the side of the dough
6. No, or very little leakage of butter during the bake
7. good golden brown color without having to burn the bottom
8. inviting buttery smell...great for sales...:-)
9. the roll should be light feeling relative to its size
10. when cut down the middle with an extremely sharp serrated knife, there should be a well defined spidery web of dough and holes.
11. The buttery taste should be "lovely" and not overwhelming.
12. The taste should go away when you are finished eating...no lingering aftertaste.
So...with all the butters I have tried, Plugra still turns up the winner with Cabot just behind only because I can't get it easily in the Philadelphia area.
By the way...great pains were taken to make sure all runs were identical with regard to formula, gluten developement, rest periods, retarding, number of turns, roll out, etc. I made sure I was on my game for each attempt.
Perhaps on my future runs, time allowing, I'll do a series of pictures for each step and put it up here if you think you would like that...I must ge nuts!
But then...bakers are nuts!
Adagio Bakery and Cafe.
Thanks atlantanative for this thread and Ralph at Adagio for the croissant recipe and many helpful hints. Wanted to share my croissant-making experience with you.
I’ve been making homemade bread awhile but was intimidated by the difficulty of making croissants. But after reading thru the recipe, tips, and watching You Tube a few times, it began to come together.
Ralph, your recipe created the most PHENOMENAL croissants I ever tasted! I did it over a three-day period as suggested and I’m glad I did. Takes A LOT of time but definitely worth it! (I had a bit of butter pooling but I know that with practice I'll improve.)
I also used some of the dough to make Lebanese spinach pies and your recipe took them to a higher level. They all popped open so I'll probably have to roll the dough around the filling next time. But no problem. Overall not bad for a first attempt. Again, much appreciation for all your info.
Hello Ralph my name is Amy I had a question. I followed the 3-day "weekend baker recipe" weekendbakery.com and the temperature while laminating was always a solid 60F. I didn't measure my final roll out into a 20x110cm I did a 20x60 so my triangles were a bit thick. I proofed the raw croissants at 71F and at the 2hr mark they wiggled but the dough had a weird appearance (2nd pic) I thought perhaps this was the yeast continuing to ferment. I preheated the oven at 380F for 10 minutes. While my raw croissants were proofing in a room at 71F. when I placed them in the oven within 3 minutes they looked like they were disintegrating (pic 3). medium size amount of butter was leaking all throughout the cook. Where was my mistake? HELP!!! ;)
Well...the picture on the right shows a roll not quite tight enough...the picture in the middle may be too much mixer...most of the gluten will be formed in the turning process.
Proofing croissant is generally at 80F and 80RH for about two hours.
Would you like to see my formula?
Go to email@example.com and I'll send it to you...then we will begin the troubleshooting process.
Amy said she proofed at 71° but not how she maintained humidity. I agree with you about proofing at 80° but also caution to use a good digital thermometer to try for 80° but definitely stay below 82°. It may be slightly different if you don't have high fat, low moisture butter, but I have never tried it.
I don't have a hygrometer or humidity controlled oven. I just use a rule of thumb: a baking pan of water at approx 120° sitting in the bottom of my "proofing box," actually a room temp oven. I can open or shut the oven door to maintain the proofing temp. Maybe every half hour or so I replace the water or add hot water to bring it back to 120°.
The time it takes for the oven to heat to baking temp after removing the proofed croissants is just about right to let the croissant surface dry a tad before the second egg wash.
Laminated doughs are a favorite of mine and croissant is an 11 our ot 10 in the difficulty scale.
Your dough should be pliable, bulk fermente for an hour then in the frige overnight roughly twice the size of your butter block. Whatever formula you use...cut the water in half and add the rest in milk. It makes a smoother dough.
The butter block, rolled in parchement should be about 3mm thick and that goes in the fridge overnight as well. This is a good time to talk butter...buy the best you can get...we use plugra here at the shop. It's not only the extra fat, but the process is key.
The next day, the butter block must be rendered plaiabe...we tap it a bit.
Trap it in the dough...there are several methods, and you have dough/butter/dough.
And everyone is right...at this point we work COLD.
We roll it out and give it two single turns...like a letter. That makes dough/butter/dough/dough/butter/dough/dough/butter/dough.
Now that lookes like nine layers, but you must subtract where the dough touches dough.
So the first singe turns is 3X3-2=7 layters.
With two single turns you get 19 layers.
When you do your turns, make certain not to trap dough. So we trim the edges to expose laminations...trust me it makes a better lamination. DO NOT put the trimmings in the dough. That goes in the next days bake!!!!!
With two turns accomplished, the dough goes back in the fridge for at least 90 minutes, then in the freezer for 30 minutes.
After that...on more singe turn which gives us 3X19-2=55 layers in total.
For us...it goes in the frige overnight, then in the freezer for 30 minutes prior to roll out.
We now have a run of laminated dough, with three single turns ready to rock and roll.
Roll it out to 3mm or 1/8 inch. We use a sheeter, but doing it by hand will be aided if you go to Home depot and purchase to strips of 1/2" wide, 36" long, 1/8" thick steel.
Put the steel on either side of the dough and roll your pin on the steel. Your laminations will be PERFECT.
Roll it to 10" wide by however long your run will allow. TRIM those edges where the laminations are NOT exposed...do not trap dough!
Cut your croissant about 4.5" at that top and about 10 inches long.
Put a 1 inch score at the top for stretching.
Roll the croissant fairly tight. The complete roll can be left French..straight, or curve toward the small end for German.
Be sure to let them proof sitting on the tip so it does not come apart.
Now...here is the big tip...proof a long time...may 2-2.5 hours till puffy and they should shake like jello...you should see laminations on the sides of the rolls.
You can single or double egg wash. Egg washing immediately after forming keeps them moist!!!
Egg wash again just before baking.
Here we proof at 80 degress and high humidity!
Bake at 380 or so and shift them around in the oven to bake evenly.
If you proofed them enough...the butter won't run out!
If you like...I can show you what to do with leftover croissant.
Adagio Baker & Cafe
very interesting about NOT trapping dough...just to insure I understand you, when you do your turns, you should be able to see the butter layer if you looked at the dough on it's side (i.e. you should not have dough touch dough)....
Also: when you make puff pastry, does this same rule of not trapping dough apply?
thanks for the tips!
Absolutely! You have it.
So, anytime you "hide" and end in the fold, make sure you can see the laminations, otherwise you've turned in just a piece of dough. That's why we don't throw the "scraps" into the dough.
Puff pastry is the same. Remember here that Puff Pastry has NO yeast so all of the rise comes from the "steam" created by the butter!. If you incorporated, what I will call incorrectly, 'dead dough', that is dough without lamination, you just have a 'dead' spot.
Also the used of salted butter takes away the ability to control the amount of butter used in the dough process.
Laminating takes a little practice. Mainly, using the rolling pin as evenly as possible for the turns, keeping the dough rectangle so that the laminations are tight and even, trimming the ends. It sound daunting...but it really isn't.
Here's the trick to making perfect, and I mean PERFECT croissant at home: make them four days in a row. Any scraps fromt he previous day can go into the next day's dough. By the fourth day, trust me you will be an expert.
Here are some of the downfalls I see in makeing croissant:
uneven final sheeting (remember use the steel trick from home depot)
shaping...shaping must be tight. If you cut a one inch gash in the bottom of the triangle, stretch those ears out!. Also, stretch the dough lenght wise a bit. You need it long to get enough rolls. Traditionally...you need 7 little steps.
Proofing...proof long...2 to 2.5 hours in a warm, moist invironment. Moist it key. You can egg wash (5:1, egg to water) as soon as they are shaped...keeps them moist, then again just before baking.
They have to look...puuuuffffyyy. They should jiggle if you gently shake the pan.
If you have a convection oven, bake around 360. The temp here will vary according to your oven. We don't want to burn the bottoms before the top is a lovely brown. That's where the 4 days comes in...you will learn your oven.
Once you get these, you will be an expert and trust me they will be better than anything you can get outside your home.
The butter is all important here...the higher end 'european style' butters is a must for optimum results.
The butter block has to be made cold and kept cold. You want piability, NOT softness.
Let me know how you do!
Adagio Bakery & Cafe
You are an angel to provide all the great tips/instructions you have posted to this thread! Could you perhaps describe the Home Depot steels a bit more that you mentioned in the post above? Do you know where in Home Depot these would be found, or which department to look? Are these pre-cut strips or must they be cut in the store?
Thank you for your help,
No problem with the help...I give my formulas away all the time!
In Home Depot, in the Hardware Department is a section with "stock metals"...aluminum, steel rod, flat steel. You are looking at a bin with flat steel. The ones in which we are interested are 36" long, 1/2" wide, and 1/8" thick.
These rails will sit on either side of your final roll out to insure an even 3mm, or 1/8" thick dough from which we will cut croissant trianges or squares for pain au chocolat.
The strips come in singes measured out exactly as I described...no cutting necessary.
I use these in teaching the home bake that they can get results equally as good as the store bought items.
Now then...go make me perfect croissant, and by all means, at least tell us how you're doing!
Adagio Bakery & Cafe
I had considered replying but it would be superfluous after your essay. Listen to Ralph and pay attention to every detail that he wrote and your pasty will be perfect. Proper baking is about the details and if you skimp it will be noticed.
I tend to fold my doughs twice as much as most recipes recommend because I like the extra layers and the challenge but I wouldn't recommend it to the beginner.
P.S. Ralph, I looked at the Adagio website and your baked goods are impressive. Congratulations.
A Youtube link for those who like to see the process before they attempt it. It is part 1 of 4.
You are too kind.
And, I love to help. I come from a pastry background...My family was in the pastry biz for 80 years. But...I was the black sheep...got hooked on bread...don't know why...don't know how...but I love it.
Scream at me for any yeast problems.
My wife is an extraordinary pastry chef. We paint the line really thick...she does non-yeasted products...and I do all yeasted.
We have a passion for what we do and love to pass it on!
Ciao and good baking!!!!
Adagio Bakery & Cafe
I have a question on croissant making concerning oven temperature. I've used the CookIllustrated recipe before and, while they tasted really nice, I found I had a lot of grease left over on the bottom of the baking pan. CI's recipe has the oven set to 400....could this be too hot? cold? They were baked straight outta the fridge, so it's not as if it got too warm. Anyone have any suggestions?
I'm not familiar with the CI recipes, but I have 2 guesses:
1) Were the ingredients measured in cups rather than weighed? This could mess with the ratio of butter/lock in to dough and cause seepage.
2) As you suspect, baking right out of the fridge may cause the butter to seep out of the dough, as butter melts at a significantly lower temp than the dough will rise. I suggest taking the croissants out of the fridge and letting them temper for about 10-20 minutes (depending on room temp) before popping them in the oven. 400 degrees F does seem a bit high to me. You may want to preheat the oven to 400, then drop it to 375 when you put them in the oven (which will keep the oven cycle from kicking back on to recover the lost temp from opening the door). Also make sure you oven is properly calibrated, and/or use an oven thermometer.
butter running can come from a couple of reasons: not enough proofing, or proofing too hot.
Prooging croissant takes much longer than normal bread...2 to 2.5 hours until they are poofed up and jiggle when your done. You should be able to see the laminations on the sides of the dough.
Try throttling back the oven temp. If you have a regular home oven, try 375 to give them a chance to bake fully without burning the bottoms...with convection, maybe even 360.
If you rolled the croissant and refrigerated them without proofing, try giving them a chance to proof fully.
Here is what we usually do if we want croissant on Wednesday:
Make the dough on Monday
Make the butter block right after.
The dough bulk ferments for one hour...roll out to approximately twice the size of your butter block then refrigerate overight covered in plastic.
On Tuesday, the dough goes in the freezer for 30 minutes.
The butter block is tapped and made pliable again without warming whatsoever!!!!
Incorporate the butter block in the dough and give it two single turns right off the bat making sure to trim the sides that have no exposed laminations.
Back in the fridge to relax 90 minutes, then in the freezer for 30.
Out of the freezer and one more single turn.
Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.
Wednesday...into the freezer for 30 minutes
Rollout 10 inches by whatever length by 3mm or 1/8 inch.
Trim the parts that do not expose laminations.
cut triangles, roll, proof 80 degrees with high humidity.
If you can't get the high humidity, egg wash immediately, then again just before baking.
See if that goes better!
If you would like a recipe and you have micorsoft excell...email me.
Adagio Bakery & Cafe
"..Prooging croissant takes much longer than normal bread...2 to 2.5 hours until they are poofed up and jiggle when your done. .."
Ralph, this tip alone helped validate my croissant baking progress by leaps and bounds. Thank you!
What happened was I had gotten a successful batch once by accidentally leaving the shaped croissants to proof for too long. They looked exactly as you'd described, or, as my sister said, like "Jabba the Hut". They were so airy and hollow feeling that I was thinking for sure they will just flop once I put them in the oven. This was also the time I wanted to experiment with cold oven start. So, I turned on the oven and put them in only 5 mins after. And right about now is when i should also confess that I used less than usual amount of butter in the dough because I'd ran out of it...and also, I've used only 1/4 tsp of yeast for 3 cups of flour....
So, when they came out the best croissants I've ever made, I wasn't sure which of the elements contributed to the success. Now, I have a one less thing to investigate. Thanks again!
Here's a good essay on Laminated Doughs:
In addition to allowing yourself more time than you think you need, allow yourself more space than you think need to roll the dough. Also allow for more patience than you think you need, especially if this is your first time laminating dough.
Get the dough out and back into the fridge as soon as possible between lamination steps.
I like to use salted butter, but I like the flavor that salt adds to the pastry. Regardless of using salted or unsalted butter, make sure to taste your butter before you lock it in to assure the quality and flavor of the butter. It would be so disappointing to pull out your finished croissants and find that they taste like bad butter.
I like the traditional "pain au chocolat" shape for chocolate croissants. It just seems like you can get more chocolate in there. I've tried putting chocolate chips into the traditional rolled triangle shape, but it messes with the rise of the the dough and you end up with less chocolate impact.
Give yourself more time than you think for all the chilling, rolling, resting, etc. I used a recipe that called for adding the butter in three parts. I added it all equally (1/3, 1/3, 1/3) but I think I should have added more at the beginning and less at the last stage to have more equal butter layers in the resulting dough.
Also, make sure your oven is hot enough when you put the croissants in. I think mine was a touch off and I ended up with some butter pooling out instead of incorporating into the dough. They were still good, though.
I've made croissants from sratch twice and, while they were phenomenal, I now buy the little 4-pack of choc. croissants from Trader Joe's. I just proof them overnight and I get a flaky, light choc croissant after baking with much less work on my part.
ssusu makes a great point about keeping ingredients cold. I went to France on a cooking vacation and got a major lesson in croissant making. Laborious as all get out, but so satisfying. I'd say get some French yeast, for one thing - World Market has it sometimes - and follow a recipe that measures ingredients by weight. Also, take your time and keep it neat. It's important that the rectangles you roll out are even. Use unsalted butter. One mistake I made a couple of times was using chocolate that had too much going on. You want a semi-sweet chocolate that's mellow instead of acidy. Don't get all wound up in the "I only like the 70%" mentality. As hard is it is to make croissants, you don't want them to taste like medicine. Guittard chocolate chips, for instance, taste delicious in chocolate croissants, but stay away from products like Scharffenberger.
The "Baking with Julia" book has a recipe that works.
Oh, yeah. The egg wash, which you want for that laquer-y look and shattering bite: paint it on twice, letting it dry in between applications--15 minutes or so.
The technique for making croissants, like puff pastry, is called "lamination". Easy to see why. I like a marble rolling pin, too. Keeps the dough cold and takes a little of the work out of what is a major job. I mean, you roll and you roll. It's a great upper body workout. There's nothing quite as satisfying as pulling your own croissants out of the oven.
The most important thing is to keep everything as cold as possible -- ideally, you should work on a marble surface and work the dough as quickly as possible so the butter does not melt and your delicate layers are not destroyed. Obviously, your butter cannot be totally stiff and hard or it will break, rather than stretch, as you're rolling and folding the dough. Also, do be patient and chill the dough for as long as needed between each time that you handle it.