Croissants - total % butter


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Hello all,

The standard croissant recipe calls for approximately 30% of the weight of the détrempe in butter. While that has yielded me some decent results (attaching pictures), my croissants have always come out bland and rather insipid. I am French (living in USA) and perhaps I'm just too used to the croissants that I get back home, which have a higher butter content and stronger butter flavor.

Has anyone attempted homemade croissants with a butter content of ... say... 40 or 45%?

Worth mentioning that I did make a "croissant loaf" which called for higher butter content, and taste-wise it came out much more to my liking; much closer in taste to croissants in France.
 

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Hello all,

The standard croissant recipe calls for approximately 30% of the weight of the détrempe in butter. While that has yielded me some decent results (attaching pictures), my croissants have always come out bland and rather insipid. I am French (living in USA) and perhaps I'm just too used to the croissants that I get back home, which have a higher butter content and stronger butter flavor.

Has anyone attempted homemade croissants with a butter content of ... say... 40 or 45%?

Worth mentioning that I did make a "croissant loaf" which called for higher butter content, and taste-wise it came out much more to my liking; much closer in taste to croissants in France.
It’s the type of butter not the percentage that is making the difference in the taste of the croissant. In the United States the butter is sweet cream butter. The butter is not cultured. So even if you use a higher butterfat American butter, the taste is still bland by comparison.

In France the butter is cultured, meaning the cream is fermented. This gives the butter a tangy rich flavor. In addition the butter in France has a higher percentage of butterfat. And finally there is terroir. French dairy cows are grass grazing. American dairy cows are not always left to graze, and when they are, they are often supplemented with grains.

The French are so dedicated to the traditions of butter that wood churned and paddled butter is still sold in France.

French butter is far superior in flavor than American butter. If you want a better croissant use imported French butter such as Echiré and Beurre d'Isigny. If you can’t find either of those look for an American butter called Vermont Creamery. The founder of the creamery learned to make butter in Brittany by culturing the cream. The creamery was sold to LandOLakes in 2017. But they continue to produced a couple of styles of cultured butter, one of which is an 86% butterfat. You can experiment and see which butter fat percentage you like best.

Flour differences is probably another issue. Take a look at a website called Central Milling Look at their Organic Artisan Bakers Craft Plus. This is a unbleached hard red wheat flour blend that is 11.5% protein, with 0.60% ash. Central Milling supplies some of the top bakeries in the country. Their client list reads like the Who’s Who in America Bakers and Bakeries. Their training center is often host to Peter Yuen. The Artisan Bakers Craft and Plus are standard flours used in the training center. Yuen is probably the Grand Master of laminated dough. I can’t wait for things to settle back to normal because Yuen was suppose to give a two-day workshop on lamination there. And I really want to take it.


edit: the difference between Organic Artisan Bakers Craft Plus and the Organic Artisan Bakers Craft is the Plus is malted. Malt is added to flour to aid browning during baking. Most all purpose flours have malt (look at the ingredients on a bag of flour like King Arthur.



 
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Hello all,

The standard croissant recipe calls for approximately 30% of the weight of the détrempe in butter. While that has yielded me some decent results (attaching pictures), my croissants have always come out bland and rather insipid. I am French (living in USA) and perhaps I'm just too used to the croissants that I get back home, which have a higher butter content and stronger butter flavor.

Has anyone attempted homemade croissants with a butter content of ... say... 40 or 45%?

Worth mentioning that I did make a "croissant loaf" which called for higher butter content, and taste-wise it came out much more to my liking; much closer in taste to croissants in France.
American butter has high moisture content, you can feel it splash on your skin when the butter is pounded out.
Plugra is a lot better.
I use 2.3 k butter to every 5.8 kilo flour. whats that.. 40-45% ? ,
Type 55 flour is the usual type used in France for croiss, it is blended with hard winter canadian wheat to strengthen it.
Same for baguettes, in the USA you can use hi-gluten flour such as all trumps by general mills.
French flour is good but , due to climate, not as strong as the Manitoba flour from Canada.
For brioche, baguettes and croiss the stronger flour makes the difference.
 
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American butter has high moisture content, you can feel it splash on your skin when the butter is pounded out.
Plugra is a lot better.
I use 2.3 k butter to every 5.8 kilo flour. whats that.. 40-45% ? ,
Type 55 flour is the usual type used in France for croiss, it is blended with hard winter canadian wheat to strengthen it.
Same for baguettes, in the USA you can use hi-gluten flour such as all trumps by general mills.
French flour is good but , due to climate, not as strong as the Manitoba flour from Canada.
For brioche, baguettes and croiss the stronger flour makes the difference.
The French categorized their flour ash content, so the baker can tell the ash and protein content simply by looking at the number. The number represents the ash content.

T55 is like Central Milling Bakers Craft & King Arthur all purpose flour in the US. The 55 represents the ash content. The higher the ash content the stronger the flour.

T45 is like a pastry flour .40% ash, 9% protein

T55 is like CM & KA AP flour .55% ash, 11% protein

T65 is like bread/strong flour .65% ash, 13% protein

T80 is like a blend of AP and wholemeal .80% ash, 15% protein

T150 is like wholemeal flour

In the United States Central Milling is the only mill that provides the specs for their flours on their website, including the protein and ash content. The reason they can do this is they have spent years building relationships with their farmers to ensure certain varieties of wheat are planted and available year after year. This ensures consistent blends year after year. That ensures consistent flavor and performance of flour year after year


Large corporations like General Mills buy whatever wheat is available. You don’t know what you’re getting in the bag season to season when you buy a General Mills product
 
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I called tech support at general mills out of curiosity once, the gluten content goes up and down with seasons and harvests, its not what is in the publicity blurbs.
 
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I called tech support at general mills out of curiosity once, the gluten content goes up and down with seasons and harvests, its not what is in the publicity blurbs.
Protein varies by acre in the same season. But what is most significant is the variety of wheat that goes in the bag. The variety of wheat determines the performance of flour. Not all varieties are created equal. Those proteins bind with water and develop gluten, but some create very bucky doughs, others less bucky doughs.

What baker’s don‘t realize is all purpose flours are often blends of wheat. So keeping the protein and ash consistent is about variety of wheat. And General Mills cannot guarantee what goes in their bags.

An example is yecora rojo a variety that is prized because it is less bucky than other varieties. No baker wants a bucky dough. Among artisan bread bakers, this is a much loved variety. But it’s not a cheap easy variety to grow. And it is only cultivated in certain areas. It makes an excellent flour to blend with other varieties to make a better performing flour. Yecora rojo is the variety that is used in Artisan Bakers Craft to give it better performance. Central Milling has spent years working with the same farmers to build those relationships to ensure certain varieties of wheat continue to be cultivated.

There was a point in the US when the price of wheat skyrocketed. The farmers could have taken their crops and sold it elsewhere for more money. But the years long relationship they have with Central Milling means something to all of them, so instead of taking their wheat to a place like General Mills, they honored the relationship with Central Milling.

And that’s why their flours are consistent year after year. Plus they entire supply chain is employee own and part of the baking process. From the farmer to the baker. The flour that goes in the bag begins with the bakers who work with the farmers and millers.
 
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