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Croissant is fail

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I took my first stab at making Croissant yesterday. I wrapped the initial dough in saran wrap and it managed to rise beautifully, although maybe too fast as it was ready to burst out of the packaging within two hours of going into the fridge. I was determined to follow the recipe so it stayed in there for the full eight hours and came out for butter and turns. What has me confused now is that after this step the dough didn't rise again. It went back into the fridge overnight and just sat there.

So is the eight hours of rising more of a guideline? Did following the recipe so exactly kill my yeast? Is there a better way to know when it's time to roll out my dough?

Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 3
If I’m following correctly… You made a dough that required a sitting spell in the refrigerator before incorporating the butter layer. That portion rose significantly in the refrigerator. After incorporating the butter layer (with all that folding and rolling) the dough didn’t rise in the fridge. This is causing you to speculate that the yeast died.

My thoughts:
Croissants are formed out of a laminated dough. Puff pastry is a laminated dough as is Danish. They do what they do and are what they are because the fat is incorporated in layers. That is what all that folding and rolling is about.
Over simplification of laminated doughs: Danish and croissants have soft fluffy layers because of the yeast. Puff pastry has thin crunchy layers because there is no yeast or baking powder, puff pastry “puffs“ it doesn’t so much rise.

The long slow rise for the dough before you incorporate the butter is there for a couple of reasons. Flavor is a big one. Long slow rise (which refrigeration provides) on any yeasty substance gets you a good flavor. I prefer croissant recipes that have you refrigerate the dough before the lamination process for two reasons. Fist and best reason: flavor. Second reason: a cold dough is easier to handle when incorporating the butter layer, but that is my preference. Another reason is to allow this portion of the dough to rest even before you begin the laminating turns.

Once you get to the folding and rolling , the “resting” in between turns is to allow the gluten to relax. All that working of the dough is going to make it tough and non-elastic. You can only do so many turns without resting the dough before it simply is too tough to roll out. At that point you have to put it in the fridge to let it relax before you repeat the process that creates all those flaky layers.

Once you have completed the required number of turns the dough has to rest again before you try to roll it out to cut into the wedges that will be rolled into the classic croissant. If it doesn’t rest enough they will be tough and unattractive. I like to give all my laminated doughs at least twelve hours in the fridge before I attempt to shape them. (Final turns before I go to bed get me ready to go dough in the morning.)

You will always see a more significant “rise” out of a refrigerated dough with out butter in it than you will with a refrigerated dough with butter in it because cold butter is a solid and not so very malleable.

All that being said, what recipe did you use and did you even attempt to bake them yet?
post #3 of 3
It's hard to know what's going on because you didn't provide the recipe.

Your 8 hour refrigerator rise might have been too long for your dough, at that stage of its development. That is, the yeast exhausted the available food and the dough became tired.

The modern technique involves retarding the dough rise as long as possible during the time it takes to complete the laminated dough.

Make the dough; let it rest covered, in the refrigerator until it's cold, about an hour or an hour, and not much longer; remove the dough and butter from the refrigerator and allow them to warm just enough to be pliable; form the dough, butter package and making the first turn.

Then continue the process allowing an hour, wrapped, in the refrigerator after every two turns until you've satisfied your lust for layers. I usually take four or five full turns. Actually, it's been quite a long time since I've made these. They're too much trouble considering the number of good Vietnamese bakeries in the area.

Wrap, and give the dough a long rest -- 8 to 18 hours -- before rolling out, cutting, rolling and forming, and baking. This rest is the dough's chance to incoroporate a lot of air. So, no more turns after resting.

That last process from roll-out to rolling and forming can be a bit tricky, it's hard not to lose all the air in the dough and put in alll that work. But if you know how to make biscuits or are accomplished at forming bread loaves you know how to handle dough while keeping as much gas in it as possible. If you're not familiar with those tasks -- don't expect great results right off the bat. It takes time and practice to develop "touch." In the meantime, keep it light.

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