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Too much water in the butter!

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Ever since I've been doing criossant at work we have got New Zealand butter, which is really nice! How ever yesterday my supplier was out of it and gave me 4 blocks of Australian butter.

As I was cutting it for folding into my criossant this morning I could see that it had too much water in with the butter. Now I've heard that some people throw their butter into a mixer and beat it until the excess water separates.

I have also heard that you can mix the butter with a little flour. I like the idea of this, but I was wondering how much flour should I add?

Am I the only one who gets %&#@ butter? What do you guys do?

post #2 of 23

add flour

you should add about 5% of bread flour to your butter, if that still is not enough you can go up to 10%, it really depends how much water the butter has.
happy cooking-baking...
post #3 of 23
I would choose to beat the water out. It's pretty easy and quick with a paddle attachment to the mixer and then I'd have no worries about any flour in between my layers.
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
I tried 5% flour today and I don't think it did enough. I dont think I'm prepared to go to 10%, so I might just try and beat the water out. Thanks for the input guys!
post #5 of 23
At Dufour Pastry Kitchen, which makes some of the best puff pastry in the United States (imho, even though I no longer work there :lol: ), they work flour into the butter (obviously, US butter; don't know the water content).

Actually, I'm surprised that it would be a problem. Don't you want water in the butter, to create the steam that makes puff pastry puff? (Can you tell that I was not in pastry production there? :lol: )
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
post #6 of 23
Butter inherently has water in it, 19% on average. But too much to me means that several potential problems could occur. Excess water would leak out and combine with the flour developing the gluten resulting in a tough pastry. Or the layers would be too damp to dry properly and you wouldn't get an optimum flaky texture because the water would evaporate at a different time than the fat. Water combining with the flour could cause problems when booking the dough. If I'm going to commit the time and effort into making puff pastry from scratch, I'd want to do my best to avoid any potential problems from the beginning.

I'm sure it's possible to combine flour with the butter if you work with the butter enough and experiement with the recipe long enough to figure out what will work, but if you can switch purveyors to one that provides a butter without issue to begin with, seem like less work in the long run.
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 

Full puff

If we're talking about full puff, I've got a recipe that calls for a portion of the flour to be mixed in with the butter. It works out perfect, but I was unsure as to the application to criossant dough. I can post the recipe of you guys want?
post #8 of 23
The difference between classic puff pastry and croissant dough is in the amount of yeast (croissant has bit more for height and flavor) and uses fewer folds.
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the confirmation. I am aware about the differences between criossant and puff, I just didn't want to screw up 6 x 14kg blocks of croissant by putting too much flour into the butter.

I phoned my rep the other day and he wasn't completely sure but suggested that I add about 10% flour to the butter and subtract that from the flour of my dough (like an inverted puff is suppose).

It's not like my customers can tell the difference, but I like to push myself everyday and learn as much as possible :smiles:
post #10 of 23
Are you confusing the issue with the "fractionised butter"?
Some NZ manufacturers produce fractionised butter sheets specifically for the production of puff and croissant pastry which does not shatter in the dough and eliminates the need to add flour to the butter you are using for lamination.:D
Leading the global ban on cup and spoon measurements in recipes!
Leading the global ban on cup and spoon measurements in recipes!
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 

"fractionised butter"?

Not sure what fractionised butter is?

No I've just got crap australian butter with too much water in it. It cracks when I beat it and when baking, the pastries leak out butter onto the tray.
post #12 of 23
Sounds like unless you get better butter, this is your only choice so go for it and let us know how it turns out.
post #13 of 23
The butter isn't crap. You need to either use a fractionised butter plate (such as the one you were using when you bought NZ butter) or add some flour to your butter.
The butter is leaking out in baking due to poor lamination because the butter is cracking when you try to laminate your dough.
I have used duck river/ringarooma daries, Anchor and girgar butters and none of them are crap, all can be used succesfully.
If you are unsure on fractionised butter, you will need to go back to your college/TAFE library and do some research.:D
Leading the global ban on cup and spoon measurements in recipes!
Leading the global ban on cup and spoon measurements in recipes!
post #14 of 23


I have been having problems doing porffiteroles in a good size batch, as well as the outside becoming a little to hard for my liking,any recomedations ? Thanx!
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks felix, I'll do some research!
post #16 of 23

fractionised butter....

I'm a U.S. pastry chef and this is the first time I've heard the term "fractionised butter". What does that mean exactly? Higher butterfat?
I have used special "roll-in" type shortening stuff (yuk), I have incorporated flour into lower grade butters, and I have used higher grade butter like Plugra. I rarely get Plugra out here however, so most of the time I mix flour in with the butter. Seems to work just fine.

I've also never heard of beating the water out of the butter either. Whenever I beat butter, it just, you know, whips. I've never seen butter and water separated in a mixer bowl before.
post #17 of 23
Try making butter from scratch. You'll see the liquid come out of the butter. I would assume any butter that has excess liquid in it would release the liquid if it were beaten.
post #18 of 23


I have made butter from scratch.....accidentally......when I left my mixer on high while whipping cream and walked away from it. There's definitely "water" (or isn't that called "buttermilk"?) in the bowl separate from the newly formed butter.

But when I put butter on a mixer to beat it, I never get that kind of separation. That's what I was referring to.
post #19 of 23
Yes, it is buttermilk. Save it for baked goods, there's nothing better for moist cake. Perhaps you've never purchased butter with the water content of the butter in question above... ;)
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Chefpeon, what percentage of flour do you add to your butter?
post #21 of 23

percentage of flour

About 5 percent works good for me when I use the lower grade run-of-the-mill butter. I use bread flour by the way.:smiles:
post #22 of 23
Chefpeon, the term "fractionised" is technical and is a process used by butter manufacturers to produce flexible butter plates which are specifically manufactured for lamination in dough.

A process for separating a substance into more or less purified groups of its constituents.
For milk fat the process used is a purely physical process called dry fractionation by crystallisation; the fractionation is carried out without any additives.
The liquid fat is cooled slowly in vats called crystallisers; during this cooling process crystals of the fat constituents with a high melting point (called stearin) form; the latter are then separated from the remaining oil (called oleine) by filtration.

What does this mean?, basically they seperate the fats and the fats with the higher melting points are retained in the product; this gives a butter sheet with similar working properties to a danish/croissant margarine but with a superior flavour and a better finish.

Can you do this in your bakery? No! That is why we add flour to butter to give it plasticized properties.

The bottom line is that butter is not always butter, we now have specific butters for specific purposes, if you can't get the info out of your local food rep, then you should call the company direct and talk to someone with technical knowledge.

Like I said, Australian butter is not crap - I love it!:D
Leading the global ban on cup and spoon measurements in recipes!
Leading the global ban on cup and spoon measurements in recipes!
post #23 of 23

thanks felixe.....

for the info on fractionised butter! Is this a European thing, or does anyone know if there is a US brand name I can look for, or ask my supplier for?
Is there a European brand name for it?
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