I've noticed that lately I can't get a uniform butter block for laminated doughs. I add 10% flour to unsalted butter and a splash of lemon juice and use a dough hook to make a pliable mixture, but some of the butter remains in solid chips and, therefore, doesn't laminate nicely. Anyone else have this problem? Any suggestions? Thanks.
Trouble with "chunky" butter in laminated dough
have you tried PLUEGRA? it's sold at whole foods & trader joes. or if cannot find, use a european butter with a high butterfat (at least 82%) content. do not add flour unless you're using american butter, the flour is unneeded for pluegra.
wrap your formed pluegra butter block in a parchment paper "envelope" and refrig. overnight. take out 30 minutes before use and soften for pliability, it should bend (not break) and your consistency will be perfect.
i was fortunate enough to study with some of the worlds best bread bakers at a recent pastry forum and this is one of the tricks i've learned...and it's invaluable!
i would recommend "artisan pastries and breads" by ciril hitz for additional tips.
I think a 3 to 4 % difference in butterfat (other butters vs. plugra) will make little difference, the main consideration would be in the taste.
The minimun in American butter is 80%, so you are looking at a 3% difference, not much. Your problem I think is caused by using a dough hook to soften the butter. I would cream the butter with a paddle instead. Think of creamed butter served cold at a table it is more malleable and easier to spread however, you do not have to cream it that much. The addition of flour to the butter wicks up some of the water content though having forgotten the flour on occasion I notice little to no change. I make about 100 or so assorted croissant a day and find that by creaming the butter, shaping it and chilling it in a cold refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes makes it work fine. Be sure your dough is well chilled too. We make the dough the day before since ours is a sourdough base the additional ferment time is needed and it does help believe me. I can get a jump on the first 2 folds since the dough is very relaxed after an overnight rest.
Just out of curiosity how many folds do you do and how many layers of better do you achieve?? I do a single fold for 2 layers then 3 book folds for a total of 128 layers, works good.
Let's start with this: I don't know.
With that out of the way, this may help. Or not.
I let the butter soften a bit, wrap it in cling wrap, and mash the **** out of it with my pin. Next I lean on it a bit and work it with paws. Then I re-form it in fresh wrap, and smash it again.
It seems the biggest issue with croissant dough, mille feuille, etc., is getting the dough and butter at the right temps/consistencies before rolling out. As long as the temps are similar and the dough and butter pretty much equally pliable, it generally works out well -- if not after the first turn, then after the second or third. You just don't want to push the dough and/or butter faster than it can go without tearing the dough.
FWIW, I've been thinking about the problem described in the OP (flecks left sticking to the side of the bowl), and wonder: Has the butter has ever been frozen?
Cabot podjo, you lost me. Why would you soften butter with a beater, only to chill it so it has to be softened AGAIN with a pin?