Croissant Dough

I have been making croissants for my very small business almost every week for the past 6 months. I've had great success, and my croissants always turn out really beautiful, flaky, and crusty. However, the difficulty I have in rolling them out varies greatly from batch to batch. Sometimes, the dough is stiff and takes all my effort to roll out (I roll the dough by hand), and sometimes it's easy peasy. I've tried mixing the dough by hand rather than in a mixer, thinking that perhaps I was overworking the dough, but this didn't seem to make a difference. I rest/chill the dough in between folds, so theoretically this shouldn't be a problem. Any thoughts?



petitbleu February 8, 2013
Sounds like a plan! It'll be nice to have one less thing to think about at 5 a.m.! Thanks for help, everyone. Looking forward to making my next batch.
petitbleu February 8, 2013
I know what you mean! I've been scouring Ebay for a small-ish manual sheeter, and they just don't seem to exist! As for where I rest the dough, the bottom shelf of my fridge. Good to know that perhaps an hour is too long, but do you think it hurts the dough to be retarded overnight after the last turn? I like to have everything done except the final rolling, shaping, and proofing stage before morning, that way I can have fresh, warm croissants for my market customers.
boulangere February 8, 2013
No, I don't think you're hurting it at all. But you might buy yourself some time in the morning if you go ahead and shape them the day before, then overnight them and do the proofing and baking in the morning. As I said, I regret to this day....... Your customers must love you to pieces!
petitbleu February 7, 2013
Thanks for the really great info! I have been resting the dough an hour in-between rollings, so I'm not sure that's the culprit. I don't mind rolling stiff dough so much--it's great exercise!--but my elbows protest. My business is waaay too small to justify the purchase of a dough sheeter, so I'm trying to find other ways to cope. It's just frustrating that sometimes the dough is really easy to roll out, and other times it's really stiff. The outcome seems to be about the same in that the croissants turn out great, but the rolling process can be a doozy.
boulangere February 7, 2013
Do you consistently place your resting dough in the same spot in the refrigerator? The lower, the colder is generally the rule. I suspect an hour is too long, and may indeed be part of your problem. I'd suggest 45 minutes max, and try resting it in the same place in the fridge so you get consistent results that will help you vector in on just the right amount of rest time. I'm with you - I'd give my firstborn for a sheeter.
boulangere February 7, 2013
That's just between us, you understand! Several years ago I came across a tabletop manual sheeter on Ebay for $200. It was more than I wanted to spend at the time, so I put it off until the proverbial later. I've never seen one again, and regret to this day not having grabbed it.
petitbleu February 6, 2013
I have done that, and sometimes I let it warm up slightly to make it more pliable, but this is just an overall stiffness that doesn't seem to respond to resting. And as I said, sometimes the dough is very easy to work, and I've been using the same method consistently.
boulangere February 6, 2013
It sounds counterintuitive, but warming your dough may actually make it more difficult to roll because gluten in the flour is activated more in the presence of heat. Rolling cold or chilled dough isn't easy by hand, certainly, but if you persevere, the friction of rolling will soften the butter enough that it will become easier. I really think Chef June's suggestion about humidity is brilliant, as gluten is also activated in the presence of water. Rest, rest, rest your dough - even longer than your recipe suggests. 30 minutes between rollings is conventional, so try 45 minutes and see how it responds.
spiffypaws February 6, 2013
If the dough is stiff, maybe let it rest a bit before rolling.
ChefJune February 6, 2013
The humidity of the flour may also come into play. But your recipe will be more consistent if you measure by weight.
petitbleu February 6, 2013
I'm sure humidity does factor in, seeing as it's almost always humid here! However, you're right--I should definitely start weighing.
ChefOno February 6, 2013

How are you measuring the flour -- by volume or by weight?

petitbleu February 6, 2013
Oof! You've caught me there! I should be measuring by weight, but I have been doing it by volume. That may indeed be the culprit--it should have been obvious!
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