The Fresh Loaf

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Croissant rollout woes

lennyk's picture

Croissant rollout woes



any suggestions on dealing with dough which becomes very tight to roll out after the first turn ?

I am using weekend bakery croissant 3 day recipe, have tried others also.

Using AP, tried bread flour but was even harder to roll out.

I cannot understand how I also see sheeting machines roll out dough so easily.

It is quite frustrating as I have made many attempts and not getting any consistency, some tries are very good others very bad.

I have tried the usual recommendation of "let it rest in the fridge" for a variety of times, 10, 20,30,60 mins etc

Could it be that my hydration is too low ?

Should the dough be able to do some window pane prior to first turn ?



BaniJP's picture

There can be multiple reasons for the dough being tight:

- too low hydration (something between 50-60% is normal)

- too cold dough or butter or both (both should be cold, but still malleable)

- overmixed dough (leads to very tight gluten network, thus tight dough)

lennyk's picture

The weekend bakery recipe is just slightly under 50% which is about same for most that I have seen.

I will try 60% and see how it goes, might just make a batch of dough and do folds without butter to see how extensible it is.


my ap flour is 12.5 protein also. May try dropping that.


chleba's picture


Try the following?

1. Mix the initial dough less, so it just comes together

2. before you begin rolling out the folded dough, press down with the rolling pin across the dough to make an impression of the pin, beginning in the middle, go up and down, then turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat.  Turn the dough back to original, and try rolling it.

3. when it gets tough to roll, put it the covered dough back the fridge for 15-30 minutes more, then bring it out again.  You might need to let it sit at room temp for a few minutes.  Then do pressing of #2 and start rolling.  Repeat this if necessary. 

4. if you are using a dowel-type pin (without handles), make sure your hands are at the ends of the pin, and you start rolling from the middle of the dough.  Press down at and forward or backward angle. I'm new to rolling, have a dowel without handles, and had my hands placed between the middle and ends, and found it much easier once my hands moved to the ends

5. I've read somewhere that it helps to have a heavy/strong pin; I can't confirm/deny this, maybe consider this as a last resort?

I'm trying to find a video that demonstrates #2.  Okay, here is one:

Purpose of video is not to show recipe, but technique of what I'm trying to say in #2 :)  Try doing that when it gets tough to roll, but careful, it might soften the butter too much.

lennyk's picture

I have tried exactly what you say there many many times, the rest 30mins over and over until the cows come home.

chleba's picture

Are you able to roll out the dough without butter?  Try that.  Do the laminating steps without butter.  This might help us understand if it's actually the dough that's the problem.  If you are worried about waste, then just bake the resulting dough.

retired baker's picture
retired baker

#1 , absolutely right on. Rolling folding will develop the gluten.

#2, yes but slam it hard.

#3 if it gets tough to roll it was overworked, over rolled. 

#4 Get a real rolling pin, Leverage is a well established engineering technique. 

#5 see above.

The video is only half right, he isn't a trained baker and doesn't understand he is defeating himself when he pounds it but then rolls across the tops of the troughs. That will force the butter to bunch up into rows.

You can see how its done in all bakeries here, this is danish but the technique is identical.

lennyk's picture

Well the 60% was a no go,

a floppy mess even when cold.

will try 55% next.


andythebaker's picture

another suggestion would be to look into adding extensibility to your dough.

this can be done by adding a bit of preferment, like a poolish or a sourdough starter.  many professional places even add old croissant dough scraps back into their mixes, for economy and as a dough conditioner.

a bit of sugar can also help loosen a dough.

best of luck.


Cinnabon's picture

Hi Lenny:

A very hard art to master for sure!

The chilling of the paper thin layers of unsalted butter, the consistency of the poolish and the flipping, fluffing and turning of the chilled dough. It's honestly in the temperature of the dough!  If you keep the dough chilled and act quickly in rolling it out, you should have no problem!  I have a plastic rolling pin that I freeze water in and it keeps the croissant dough chilled while rolling it out!. 

I wouldn't suggest using bread flour it will be tough and not a great outcome!   I use double sifted AP flour! even though I am experimenting with flours I would rather use that are far healthier, I have yet to perfect a flour mixture  that can make a decent croissant other than using AP flour!



lennyk's picture

I baked the rolls which were not butter laminated,so basically dinner rolls.

tasting them I realize that they are very salty.

i understand more salt makes for a tighter gluten structure.

i am wondering if my digital kitchen scale does not measure small amounts accurately and it probably causing extra salt to be added.

will compare to a jewelers scale I have.

lennyk's picture

I checked my costco digital kitchen scale against a small jewellers type scale

and for small amount like less than 20g it reads 1g less

so instead of 10g I have been adding 11g for the recipe I use (400g ap, 10g salt)

this works out to about 2.75% instead of 2.5%

dunno if this is enough to affect extensibility/elasticity, however they certainly tasted salty.

but I will try another batch with less salt.

Cinnabon's picture

I honestly cant see a gram making that much difference but you never know!   I would double sift the AP as well for croissants! Are you using Kosher salt? or iodized? 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

yes, even 2% salt is too much in the dough 

Q:  How much salt is in the butter?  Is the Butter unsalted?

mwilson's picture

Standard french formulations include 2%-2.5% salt, and quite often above 2% typically.

Salt as a percentage of baked product weight and its density or specific volume is more relevant to saltiness rather than as a bakers percentage.

Also I would suppose that salt balances or enhances the butter flavour.

lennyk's picture

got some success today, made change of only mixing for 2mins for minimal gluten development.

was able to do the two folds and then final shaping rollout 8hours later with one 20min rest to relax before cutting.

I highly recommend newbies to practice the folds without butter block to get a good feel and no pressure of worrying if butter will melt or break.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

is in German but you can turn down the volume and still pick up tips and tricks.  At about 14 minutes, the author decribes cutting 90g weight croissants and you can see he is constantly correcting the dough with the roller.  I just about fell asleep watching waiting for the shaping part of the video.  The author has a very soothing voice. 

Note triangle shape cut, this gives the dough more room to expand when compared to a square shape.  He also pulls the triangle after cutting to make the dough longer and don't forget the notch cut in the end before rolling up.