I don't know about the lower protein thing, but it kind of makes sense that the fewer folds, the crunchier. The dough layers will be thicker, though the times I've baked say the trimming of croissant dough after not enough folds just to see what would happen, it was crunchy, but I would also describe it as coarse, not finished. I use a 3, a 4, a 3 and a 4. There is a point of no return when making turns. You can smoosh everything together and then not get a lot of puff.