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Temperature in the pastry kitchen

7592 Views 9 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  chefpeon
I have recently started working in a supermarket pastry kitchen in Cyprus where the current outside temperature is 34C.

The air con in the kitchen only brings the temperature down to 26C, and the pastry kitchen is part of the main hot kitchen. I have problems making puff pastry and croissant and Danish dough. What should the maximum temperature be?
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Well, obviously the maximum temperature in which you're working, 26C (78F) isn't suitable for laminated doughs. You've determined that. 

The real question is, is it POSSIBLE to bring the temperature in kitchen down by turning up the air conditioning? And would your employers even be willing to consider that? It's costly. I'm guessing that cranking up the air conditioning isn't a reasonable solution here. 

It may be possible to do laminated doughs in your present temperature environment by changing the way you do things. Do you have a walk-in cooler? Or any refrigeration with room to work? My suggestion, first off, would be to refrigerate EVERYTHING. Before you even start mixing. Your mixer bowl, the hook/paddle, your flour, the butter/shortening, the yeast, etc. Your liquids should be ice cold. If your recipe tells you to warm the milk or whatever, ignore that, because it's not going to hurt anything. Put your dough back in refrigeration at every opportunity. Work quickly when it's out at kitchen temp. Do you have to roll by hand, or do you have a sheeter? If you roll by hand, keep your pin in refrigeration too. It all helps. If you have room to work in a walk-in cooler, you might want to consider doing your "turns" inside the walk-in if possible.

Just keep it in your head to start everything cold, work quickly and keep it cold. It's a reasonable place to start. 

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Is there any way you can do the laminated doughs early in the day, before the kitchen gets that hot?  Would your boss be open to having you come in that early and your shift starts (and ends) earlier.  Is it possible to do these on one specific day (for example, Mondays or Wednesdays; you come in very early and all you do is the laminated dough production for the next few days)?

What kind of quality are the doughs now, being made in such a hot kitchen?
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That isn't viable either because would you believe they've put the bread oven in the pastry kitchen (it's the size of a small house), and the baker's there until 6am.

The last batch of croissant dough was far less flaky than it should be .
I agree with Annie,

 From your description you are rolling by hand. Wierd, they would spring for a huge oven but no sheeter. If you have a sheeter, then you just have to change the procedure.

Just me, but I feel the most important step in laminating is the nap between folds in the cooler to bring the dough and butter to the same temp.

   Just me again, if you are unable to put out a quality product due to the environment then maybe procure a product that is partially finished. Then you are just rolling, cut and form.

Are you on the island of Cyprus?
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I use a sheeter, but despite the dough resting in the fridge for 60 or 90 minutes between rolling, the dough sticks to the sheeter.

We are in North Cyprus, where there is no option of importing ready made dough because of strict food laws. The north is part of Turkey and outside the EU.
How is the humidity there? It could be that high humidity is causing your dough to stick to the sheeter, but it also could be that you are starting out with a very wet dough

or you may not be using enough flour for dusting as you do your turns. Have you tried being a little more liberal with the dusting flour or reducing some liquid content in your dough?

How experienced are you in doing laminated doughs? Is it something you've done successfully before at other locations and you're just having trouble at this particular location?

Are you using recipes that you're unfamiliar with? Are you required to use those particular recipes?
It's a tried and tested recipe. I 've been making laminated doughs for a long time. Of course I've tried using more flour when rolling the dough, and the dough isn't wet. The humidityis pretty high and the summer temperatures in July and August are extremely high.

There is no air con in the kitchen..

If you have a lot of experience in laminating then I am pretty stumped. Does your cooler have a lot of traffic? Is it gathering moisture in the cooler. Do you overwrap when resting?

Have you tried resting in the freezer.

I'm stumped because I have rolled in temps as high as 32c.

Using 3 singles?

I noticed that you said,  I've tried using more flour when rolling the dough, and the dough isn't wet.

I'm not trying to insult or anything, but did you check to see that your scrapers are in properly?
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Yes, @panini brought up a good point......gummed up scrapers on the sheeter make using it kind of a nightmare. It's also pretty easy to install them wrong on some models. Has it been taken apart and cleaned recently?

I'm kind of stumped at this point as well. Your original post mentions that the air conditioning brings the kitchen temp down to 26C, but now it's not working at all? If the outside temp is 34C, does that mean it's hotter than that in your kitchen? If so, I'd see why you're having trouble. 

Your original post says that you've recently started working at that location. Was someone there before you that had this task of making up the laminated doughs? How was their product? Are you the first person to try making laminated doughs there? 

Also, you say the last batch of croissant was less flaky than it should be; can you directly attribute that to temperature and humidity in the kitchen, or could it be something else? Like perhaps a one-time mistake like mismeasuring ingredients, or expired yeast, or lower-quality ingredients, or giving the dough too many turns, or over-under proofing. With labor intensive things like laminated doughs, a lot can go wrong at different stages of make-up. It could be that the kitchen temp isn't the (only) problem.
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