Sourdough Croissants – Scaling Up

In previous posts I mentioned that I’m experimenting with “scaling up”. I’m exploring the “ What has to be true for THAT to be true?” question I constantly ask myself when working through problems.

In this particular instance I’m wondering about ramping up croissant baking.

Croissants proving by the fire

Today’s experiment is covering a number of things:

First, I’m working on my proving method. One of the Sourdough Bakers I really admire mentioned that his proving for sourdough croissants is done at 82°F with 80% humidity. I don’t have that ability per say but I’ve got my croissants at 82°F (with obvious humidity) in the bag.

Second, I’d like to scale to 3 batches (36 croissants) from one (12 croissants). To do that I need to place 9 croissants on my 2/3 size sheet trays. My experiment today is to do that and see if I have any tweaks needed to temps or time. This is due to the larger tray being a bigger “heat sink” than my smaller 1/4 size sheet tray.

The reason why I chose tripling my batch size is due to the process of lamination. I feel like I can cycle thru three batches and not impact my current timing in my method.

I’ve not yet achieved the honeycomb crumb I desire. Been trying hard over the past year. The baker I’ve been following mentioned he had thought lamination was the biggest factor in getting that crumb structure. However, he’s come to believe it’s actually that final proof. Largely this is due to the croissant not being a good conductor of heat. It takes awhile for the interior to prove fully.

The impact of your method to that point is clearly important. Low quality butter won’t be stable as you prove at that temperature and duration. Poor dough (gluten) strength will cause surface tears in the lamination.

Here is what my croissants look like at 4.5 hours of proving. Similar time to what I’ve done previously but at a more consistent 82°F in front of my fireplace.

Proved, Egg washed and about to bake

I baked at my normal 385°F convection for 14.5 minutes. Nice golden brown on top but more done on the bottom than I prefer. The second tray I’m doing for 13 minutes at the same temperature and I’ll check.

My second tray was baked on my normal 1/4 size sheet tray. The temp and everything is the same as my normal method. It may/may not actually be a good check. I think I may need to just check the larger tray at 13 minutes and dial it in when I try doing more in my next batch.

Here are some pics from the second tray:

No appreciable residual butter in the trays so the butter held up / didn’t melt out of croissants as they proved! Yay!

Virtually zero residual butter in trays

Here’s how they came out!


Still not my desired honeycomb but not bad! I’ll keep on experimenting!

Published by Jim Hayden

Enterprise Transformation Consultant by day; Baker by night! Learning all the time! Iterative and incremental improvement always!

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