What happens when you make a sacrifice a whole batch of Potato Donut Dough to the Pastry Gods?
They bless you with a perfect batch of croissants. No torn dough, no shingling, no early signs of proofing, lots of beautifully laminated layers of beurrage and detrempe.
Some things I have learned while trying to get my croissants this way everytime:
- The butter should be of the same consistency as the dough. Consistency meaning temperature and flexibility. If your butter is getting warm or even nearing room temperature, it will be too soft. The ideal consistency is cold butter that is pliable, and a cold, rough dough that is fairly stiff.
- 20 minutes of relaxation between each fold, NO MORE! NO LESS! No less: The gluten in the dough shouldn’t be very developed in the beginning, but nonetheless it still exists, and gluten can be a real bitch if you don’t leave it alone for 20 full minutes after stretching it. So just let it chill out in the refrigerator. No more: The butter is getting cold in the refrigerator, the more cold it gets, the less pliable it becomes. When it’s not pliable it shingles. Shingling is when the dough is being stretched out but the butter is not rolling smooth between layers but instead breaking apart. Think of trying to roll out an iceberg; Since you can roll it out it just shatters into pieces. When this happens (and it will if you are trying this for the first time) you will cry, or at least your little pastry heart will crumble.
- Sometimes if I have unfortunately left it in the refrigerator for 5 minutes too long and can tell that the butter is going to shingle, I can remedy the catastrophe before it begin by letting the dough sit out at room temperature for 10-20 minutes. Obviously this is a time set back that is really bothersome, so save yourself the trouble and not wait 5 minutes because you just have to get those cookies in the oven.
- Why not let it relax at room temperature the whole time? Why because then the dough will begin to proof, the butter will warm , your butter will bust out of the sides of the dough, and, again, your little pastry heart will crumble.
- The # and type of folds and lock-in: Well lets just say its debatable. I lock-in the dough with one tri-fold/single fold, which triple the layers, then use two tri-folds/single folds and one book fold/double fold, which quadruples the layers. So the lock-in gives you a 5-layer block (Dough, Butter, Dough, Butter, Dough). Fold One: 15-layer, Fold Two: 45-layer, Fold Three: 180-layer! It is what works for me, but you rarely find the same method between different croissants.
- When rolling it thin: USE YOUR MUSCLES! and lots of dusting flour.
- Try as best you can to keep the surrounding environments cool, dry, and without direct sunlight… butter just melts the sight of the sun, literally.
- When your dough tears in the sheeter (and it probably will several times), let your little pastry heart crumble, and use the dough for something that is less about the perfect layers and more about, lets say, almond cream, like a bear claw!