My croissants have issues
I've made Nancy Silverton's croissant recipe (available on epicurious.com) many times without any problems. I'll admit that it's been a couple of years, but I really befuddled this time around. The only ingredient that was different is that instead of Plugra butter (not available at WF yesterday), I used Straus European butter. I think that butterfat % is higher than Plugra, and that may be the issue, but what's happening is that there were a lot of discreet pieces of butter visible through the dough (even at the end). When I was forming the croissants, they looked pretty raggedy. Then, they didn't rise as much during the final proofing. They're in the oven now, and of course the butter pieces are melting all over the parchment.
Does anyone have experience with this butter? Was this the wrong choice? Could I have inadvertently done something else different that is causing this problem?
Yup. This isn't a butterfat thing.
I'm betting the butter block was too cold, so instead of the butter spreading when you rolled it, it split into tiny pieces.
There's a happy medium between a butter block that's too soft so the butter is squishy, and one that's too cold, so you have to bear down too hard with the roller and the butter cleaves into pieces. This is presuming that you are making the croissants using the classic method of encasing the butter block between two layers of dough to begin the lamination. If the butter block isn't at that happy medium so it moves continously with the dough, your croissants won't form their characteristic "thousand layers" and consequently won't rise in the oven. Boo-hoo.
I don't think it was the fat content. Fat content over 80% is a result of a different process lending itself to a higher fat content.
I suspect that your cold butter, and it must remain cold, was not rendered pliable enough. Remember there is a difference between pliability and softness.
You must literally beat the butter into submission quickly, folding it as your pound it with your rolling pin.
The butter must remain cold, and at the same time you have to get it pliable enough to form our butter block. Now...here is the trick...after fermenting all night in the fridge, the dough is ready to roll out to accept the butter, but the butter is NOT ready to be incorporated.
While it is still cold and in the parchment paper mold you made, you need to tap it with a rolling pin to render it pliable again. In the refrigerator overnight...it got hard!!!!
You don't want it to get warm to make it soft, so as you did in the beginning to make the block you tap it with the pin and it will become flexible if you will.
The butter block should have been about 3mm or 1/8 inch thick by however large you desire.
At this point you 'hide' it in the dough. It is easier if you rolled out the dough the night before about twice the size of the block and let it rest, covered in plastic on a sheet pan. That way, the next day when your ready to make your three turns (55 layers) you don't have to fuss with the dough so much.
Let me know if that is clear!
Adagio Bakery & Cafe
PS...there is an ongoing post about this under 'laminated dough' on this site.
I took a class on making croissants last year. The instructor had to find a recipe that would work in a 2.5 hour class. Here's the one she gave us:
I was so impressed with the results in class, I went home and made the dough that afternoon. The next morning, we had fresh baked croissants. Yummy!
Good article here on temperature and time issues in making croissants from the Boston Globe:
"Making perfect croissants from scratch is not difficult, but it does require about a day and a half from start to finish. Choosing a good butter is essential, as is paying close attention to the temperature of the dough, the butter, and the room where the dough is rising.'
"Perfect croissants? Set aside a day and a half."
re: maria lorraine
A day and a half is about right, and if you want more convenience...do it in three!
Day one: make dough and butter block.
Day two: do two single turns and return it to the fridge.
Day Three: put dough in freezer for 30 minutes, do a single turn, roll out dough to 3mm, cut in triangles, roll and proof.
With the three day method, you get up, and in a couple hours...you're baking croissant.
I just answered a guy in the topics that is having some issues...here is my reply:
The tropics will pose a problem in making the dough and rolling in the butter block.
You have to have a cold kitchen...or work faster.
Here are some tips:
1. make the dough on day one and put it in the fridge overnight. You should roll it out to roughly twice the size of the butter block...let's say a half sheet pan's worth.
2. make the butter block on the same day and keep it between the parchment paper. Lay it on top of your doght and let it chill overnight with the dough.
3. Bring out the dough and the butter block. Make sure the butter block is pliable. I like to tap it while still in the parchment with a rolling pin. Tap until the block is again pliable...NOT SOFT!
4. Put the block in the dough and begin with doing two single turns immediately.
5. Place the turned dough...covered...back in the fridge. You can let it stay overnight or if you want croissant that day...let it stay in the fridge for at least an hour.
6. Next day...or later that day...moved the turned dough into the freezer for 30 minutes.
7. Take it out and immediately give it its third and final single turn. By now you will have 54 layers of dough and butter.
8. Roll out the dough to 3mm (1/8"), cut into triangles and roll.
9.Now here is where the tropics is a plus. Proof the rolls fully in 80 degree F temp high humidity for about two hours. Watch them closely. Check them in an hour...it's hot down there and this may go more quickly. They should be significantly increased in size and jiggly.
Then go bake!!!
Let me know how you do!
Adagio Bakery & Cafe