Croissants

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tcmx3

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Hey folks, been making croissants at home. It's pretty enlightening. And even if you dont get them perfect they are some of the best food on the planet IMO

What are your top tips, preferred detrempe recipes, etc.? Do you have a source for dry butter that isnt buying 2 kilogram blocks?

I have a few questions myself specifically around the detrempe:
  • egg in the detrempe? what about milk?
  • honey in the detrempe?
  • levain, poolish, nothing?
I've been making a go at it with a modified version of the recipe in Cedric Grolet's Opera, as I like the idea of honey in the detrempe, but I have to admit I'm kind of on the lookout for something different. I think not only is the technique CLEARLY designed with a dough sheeter in mind but maybe the butter ratio is a bit low at 400g of butter block for 1000g of flour. Ansel is just over 500g, Claire Saffitz's is a massive 560!
 

tcmx3

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here is the version of the recipe as Ive gotten to after a lot of experimentation and pracitce:

detrempe:
500g King Arthur or other ~11.5% protein content All Purpose flour
235g water
1/2 egg (you can mix it up and pour half of it into detrempe)
12g SAF Gold Label or other sugar tolerant instant yeast
50g granulated sugar
9g salt
10g honey
35g unsalted butter, room temperature


butter block
250g butter (French [82% fat] or tourage [84%])
5g flour (if you cant get tourage this will aid plasticity)

egg wash:
the other half of the egg
pinch of sea salt
bit of honey
splash of milk

the advice I was given is that egg in the detrempe provides a bit of extra protein & improves the texture of the detrempe. honey versus sugar is a taste preference thing. Ive not been using a poolish, but you can and it may aid in extensibility of the dough.

because of the rolling pin versus dough sheeter situation, Ive had to increase my hydration and lock in percent, and decrease the kneading a LOT. with a sheeter you take the dough all the way until it's smooth, with a rolling pin you need to stop while it's still shaggy.
 
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tcmx3

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here is the version of the recipe as Ive gotten to after a lot of experimentation and pracitce:



the advice I was given is that egg in the detrempe provides a bit of extra protein & improves the texture of the detrempe. honey versus sugar is a taste preference thing. Ive not been using a poolish, but you can and it may aid in extensibility of the dough.

because of the rolling pin versus dough sheeter situation, Ive had to increase my hydration and lock in percent, and decrease the kneading a LOT. with a sheeter you take the dough all the way until it's smooth, with a rolling pin you need to stop while it's still shaggy.

cant edit, but forgot 9g of salt in this one
 

rmrf

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I used to follow the recipe from Tartine Bread:

Baker's percentage:
45 milk
30 levain
40 poolish
100 white bread flour
2.8 salt
8.5 sugar
1 dry yeast
40 butter

I reduced the sugar to 6.5. I didn't make a note of it, but knowing me I used 10-20% whole wheat flour.

So, I don't use any egg but I use milk instead of water. I like the idea of using egg+water instead of milk though as I never have milk in the fridge.

My biggest improvement came from making sure the butter was warm enough. You actually don't want super cold butter. I think 55-65F, aiming for 60F.

For butter percentages, I remember trying at higher percentages but I didn't really like the flavor as much. One thing I was playing with was creaming the butter in a standmixer to make sure you break the crystal structure. I'm not sure if that is necessary if you get the butter to the right temperature. I suspect bread bakers will have a lower butter percentage and pastry chefs will have a higher butter percentage.

I also prefer egg yolk + cream as a wash over using egg white. I find it gives a deeper color. I never tried sugar in the wash.

If you want to watch a professional bakery make croissants,
If I go back into croissants, I will probably base my recipe off them. 100% sourdough levain, no yeast 😍.

My biggest advice is to not make them too often. I used to make croissants weekly and the smell became repugnant after a year or so. Also, if you have a standmixer and haven't tried making broiche, you should. Its a lot easier and much more forgiving.

Keep us updated!
 
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tcmx3

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I used to follow the recipe from Tartine Bread:

Baker's percentage:
45 milk
30 levain
40 poolish
100 white bread flour
2.8 salt
8.5 sugar
1 dry yeast
40 butter

I reduced the sugar to 6.5. I didn't make a note of it, but knowing me I used 10-20% whole wheat flour.

So, I don't use any egg but I use milk instead of water. I like the idea of using egg+water instead of milk though as I never have milk in the fridge.

My biggest improvement came from making sure the butter was warm enough. You actually don't want super cold butter. I think 55-65F, aiming for 60F.

For butter percentages, I remember trying at higher percentages but I didn't really like the flavor as much. One thing I was playing with was creaming the butter in a standmixer to make sure you break the crystal structure. I'm not sure if that is necessary if you get the butter to the right temperature. I suspect bread bakers will have a lower butter percentage and pastry chefs will have a higher butter percentage.

I also prefer egg yolk + cream as a wash over using egg white. I find it gives a deeper color. I never tried sugar in the wash.

If you want to watch a professional bakery make croissants,
If I go back into croissants, I will probably base my recipe off them. 100% sourdough levain, no yeast 😍.

My biggest advice is to not make them too often. I used to make croissants weekly and the smell became repugnant after a year or so. Also, if you have a standmixer and haven't tried making broiche, you should. Its a lot easier and much more forgiving.

Keep us updated!


re temperature, yes when I actually lock it in I aim for 55F; I use a Klein infrared thermometer and look for 56F on the surface; I found that this matches 55 with the thermapen but it's more convenient.

too much butter is definitely not great, I will agree.

this was the crumb from my last batch. there are plusses and minuses here =/
PXL_20220409_182722748_2.jpg


batch before that was probably a bit better tbh:
PXL_20220327_233508513_2.jpg
 

tcmx3

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I can and did. Let me know if it's wrong place.

Croissants may be my all time favorite food.

much appreciated, you got it exactly right.

and yeah croissants are among my favorites, along with its sweeter cousin the kouign amann. hard for me to choose between the two but the croissant is definitely more versatile; can go savory with ham & cheese or a turkey sandwich, or sweet with almond croissants or curd fillings.

Im really hoping Kate Reid (Lune bakery) eventually publishes a book or a recipe. she seems like one of the more precise bakers and while "best croissant in the world" is an inherently laughable premise, I have no doubt that she's got one of the more explicit understandings of how to make good croissants.
 

tcmx3

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so basically what's solved the problem for me is a combination of two technique improvements:

1. pouring some hot water into a tray and using a cold oven to proof. this puts them temperature up to about 78F, so under butter's melting point, but enough for the yeast to really get into gear
2. rolling out MUCH thinner, especially on the first fold. this byself dramatically improved the quality of my lamination. it also made subsequent turns much easier. Im talking like 5 or so mm here. not only that, it makes the post-turn dough flatter, which seems to make it faster to cool down. before I was doing like 7-10-5 (first/second/roll out for cutting), now it's more like 5-6-4
 
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rmrf

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so basically what's solved the problem for me is a combination of two technique improvements:

1. pouring some hot water into a tray and using a cold oven to proof. this puts them temperature up to about 78F, so under butter's melting point, but enough for the yeast to really get into gear
2. rolling out MUCH thinner, especially on the first fold. this byself dramatically improved the quality of my lamination. it also made subsequent turns much easier. Im talking like 5 or so mm here. not only that, it makes the post-turn dough flatter, which seems to make it faster to cool down. before I was doing like 7-10-5 (first/second/roll out for cutting), now it's more like 5-6-4
Your post in April inspired me to try baking croissants again. I'll be trying these two tips today with my current batch :)
 

robzilla

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I'm no help with recipes, but my wife and I will prostitute ourselves for a fine croissant. This is one of my favorite pics...

IMG_0073.jpeg
 
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