Please help me bake the perfect croissant!

I am a baking newbie. I am not making my own dough but buying frozen ready-to-bake croissant dough from a reputable local source. This source is said to also supply many local bakeries.

My usual practice is to put the dough on a aluminum catering tray (yeah I know, not even a baking pan at home), heat the oven to 425F and bake until outer later is golden brown. But I have a few problems:

  • When outer layer is just past golden brown, i.e. a little burnt, the center is cooked well. But if outer layer is perfect, it is a little doughy in the center.

  • its burnt where the dough touches the plate if the center is baked well.

For the first problem, I am trying to get around by applying some oil/ butter to the dough before baking, or turning the oven down to around 375F in the middle of baking. Seems to, to my untrained baking eye, make a little improvement, but not enough to solve the problem.

Any tips on how I can bake a better croissant? Thanks in advance!

Have you had this same issue no matter how large or small you make the croissants?

Are you letting the dough come fully to room temperature before baking it? Assuming you do let the dough warm up before baking it, you might trying lowering the baking temperature a bit (say, 25 degrees).

Croissants shouldn’t need an oiled/buttered pan. I would first get a proper baking sheet. Bake your croissants from chilled to get a flakier result. I would probably bake at 400 not 425.

I have to question what you mean by ‘burnt’. There are many shades of brown beyond golden that are delicious. Unless it is carbonized or bitter, don’t fear a little more browning. ‘French brown’ looks too dark to many Americans, while the typically blonde result of many American bakers is under baked and under flavored to those who appreciate the Maillard reaction. Color is flavor, and brown is delicious.

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Prepared laminated dough is expensive. Invest $10 in a new thermometer to be sure you know how hot your oven really is. Here’s a nice one that sticks to the interior wall so it doesn’t fall off the rack or get in the way. https://www.amazon.com/CDN-MOT1-Multi-Mount-Oven-Thermometer/dp/B000HHGYJM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1468347750&sr=8-2&keywords=oven+thermometer+magnetic

For example, this is a local French bakery that bakes to a darker shade of brown when appropriate: http://www.honorebakery.com/gallery.html That pan au chocolat looks gorgeous to me.

n.b. the bakery in the link just got sold, so I don’t know how long their site will be up

Thanks for all the replies!

I didn’t make the dough. I bought them. With that said, the finished croissant is about 5-6 inches across.

Yes, I left the dough defrost on the counter overnight so its room temperature when I baked them.

I will try lower temperature. Thanks @MikeG, @Gourmanda

That’s a good point, it looks a bit like this, probably a little less so:

@greygarious that’s a good point. My oven is a pretty old style Wedgewood and I never checked its temperature. Cooking times/ results for other food / temperature seems fairly accurate so I never bothered to confirm.

So you are buying pre-formed croissants? Your OP indicated you’re buying dough then shaping the croissants. I still think they should be baked chilled, not room temp.

Croissant dough is tricky as it is a combination of a yeast dough and a laminated dough. So in my opinion if the rise and flake of the dough is right then your dough temp is right.

I would try the two temp method. Start at your normal temp at the start to ensure your get the laminated aspect to react correctly and you get a nice flaky dough. Then turn down the temp to finish.

(Though my first reaction is starting with a better baking sheet or even try baking on a silpat or even a few layers of parchment to just help insulate the bottom a little since the rest looks right from the picture).

Edit: you also don’t mention on which rack you are baking and what type of oven. Baking on a lower rack can cause the bottom to brown more - also an exposed heating element can cause excessive bottom heat - all of which can contribute to bottom burning when baking. Some of which can be helped by baking on a higher rack or baking on a double stacked baking sheet.

Ok, I’d call that burnt too, definitely some undesirable over-browning on the bottom there, but the color on the ends looks good. I agree with whomever already suggested a heavier duty baking sheet and trying a different oven rack.

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I just got what seems like a pretty thick aluminum sheet pan and an oven therometer ($1!!!) from that FSW thread.

I am baking on the upper rack.

Can’t wait to start baking once the stuff gets here!

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Tomorrow (9/5) at 11a.m. eastern time, Gesine Bullock-Prado is doing a live video laminated dough master class on Facebook.

Thanks. I finally got my pan and thermometer 2 weeks ago so I will be doing some baking experiments soon.

I will never make laminated dough (TJ’s frozen croissants bake up as good as those from a first-rate bakery) but watched the program with great interest. Gesine is a born teacher who communicates thoroughly, clearly, and with great charm.

Sunday 9/11, at 11a.m., she’ll do more of it - cronuts, bear claws, etc.

This time I defrost the dough on the countertop for 12 hours. They became at least 2x bigger before going into the oven. 425F heating the oven. Turned down to 400F when the croissants went in. 10 minutes later, I found that the oven was still 425F. Opened and closed door a number of times in an attempt to get the oven down to 375F for the next 10 minutes. Overall I’d say its a big improvement compared to my previous efforts. They cooked much more evenly top to bottom compared to previous efforts.

I need to remember to rotate the pan when I lower the temperature to 375F. Some croisssants were more cooked than the others.

Thanks much for the advice- they really helped me. Any other observations on the end-product from this time?

The dough on the baking pan:

After ~20 minutes:

The bottom:

You oven is too warm, your thermostat is not accurate.

It’s a common problem in home ovens. I’ll bet you have the same problem with cookies.

Keep walking the temperature back 25 degrees at a time until they come out right.

Also make sure convection is off.

This last batch looks great. I’d eat those anytime.

I would further mention that some home ovens are not well insulated and as a result the temperature will go up and down quite a bit while you are baking. If your kitchen gets really warm when you have the oven door closed that would tend to indicate this is a problem.

But again the general solution would be to continue to walk the thermostat setting back in 25 degree increments until they come out right.

Did you base that on the color of the croissant (a little dark)? Thanks.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold