Lamination is the process of creating layers in dough, typically achieved by alternating between butter and dough. When done correctly, this results in light, flakey, and airy pastries. However, lamination is also one of the most challenging aspects of baking to master. It requires patience, precision, and a careful touch. Even the slightest mistake can ruin an entire batch of dough. For us, perfecting the art of lamination is a work in progress. But with each failed attempt, we inch closer to achieving croissant perfection.
One of my biggest concerns heading into making croissants had to do with finding the right butter. Especially since I live in the U.S., where I had been told the right kind of butter for croissants is almost impossible to get my hands on. So I spent an insane amount of time reading French pastry blogs and books and watching an unhealthy amount of videos on the topic. I was relieved to find out that I’d be able to make perfectly wonderful croissants in the U.S. using butter I can find in most supermarkets.
The best butter for the home baker making croissants is slow-churned European style butter that contains at least 82% butterfat. This type of butter will contain less air and water which makes it more pliable and resistant to being absorbed in dough during lamination. Butter with a higher butterfat content will also produce a flakier, more tender crumb in the finished product.
While you may be able to find European style butter at a specialty grocery store, it’s not always necessary. Many American brands of butter, such as Plugrá and Kerrygold, now offer slow-churned European style butters that are perfect for making Croissants.
If you’re looking to make croissants at home, there are a few things you should know about the type of butter to use. While professional-grade laminating butter that has a higher melting point is often considered the ideal choice, it can be difficult to find and is not always made available to the general market.
This means that using the 82% supermarket butter is often the best choice for home bakers.
Additionally, many chefs suggest that the higher grade professional butter is not worth the expense or trouble to track down, revealing that they use 82% themselves.
What Brands of Grocery Store Butter Meet the Croissant Standard?
There are many different brands of groceries available at your local store. This list is not exhaustive, but it is meant to give you a starting point. Some of the brands that you may find include: grocery store brands, local grocery store, and shortlist. These are just a few of the brands that you may find when you visit your local store. You should be able to find one of these brands near you. Each brand has its own unique products and benefits that you can enjoy.
Plugra -If you’re looking for a butter that’s going to give you the best results for your baking, then Plugra is the ideal choice. This brand has a higher butterfat content than most other grocery store brands, which gives it a creamier texture that’s perfect for laminating. The slow-churned process used in European-style butter also makes it ideal for creating flaky, tender pastries. Whether you’re making croissants or pie crusts, Plugra is the best butter to use if you want professional results.
Kerrygold -When it comes to laminated doughs, butterfat content is key. For croissants and other similar pastries, you need a butter with a high fat content in order to get the layers of dough and butter to stick together. Kerrygold butter has a butterfat content of 82%, which is just under the Plugra brand, but still high enough to get the job done. The main downside of Kerrygold is that it tends to be on the soft side, so you have to be extra careful to keep your dough and butter cold during the lamination process. However, Kerrygold is generally easier to find than other brands, which is why it made our list. Our very first attempt at croissants was made with Kerrygold.
President-butter is a rich, creamy butter that is perfect for baking. It has a high fat content, which makes it ideal for creating flaky pastries and tender cakes. President butter is also easily available in supermarkets, making it a convenient option for bakers. I have never used this brand of butter before, but I saw it suggested in several French baking blogs. Based on my research, I believe that President butter would be a great option for anyone looking for a high-quality baking butter.
What if I Want the 85% Butterfat Butter?
If you’re looking for butter with a higher fat content, you might be able to find it at your local health food store. Some stores, like Sprouts and Whole Foods, carry 85% butterfat butter. This type of butter has a higher fat content than regular butter, which makes it ideal for baking. In addition to being great for baking, 85% butterfat butter is also perfect for sauteing and frying. So if you’re looking for a richer flavor, you might want to give it a try.
In a world of mass-produced, factory-made products, it can be refreshing to find a company that still takes the time to do things the old-fashioned way.
Straus Family Creamery is one such company. For over 70 years, they have been producing butter using a small, traditional churn. The result is a butter with an incredible 85% butterfat content – perfect for making flaky, delicate croissants. Although it’s not the cheapest butter on the market, it’s well worth the price for anyone who wants to make the absolute best croissants possible.
So next time you’re in the mood for some homemade pastries, be sure to give Straus Family Creamery butter a try. You won’t be disappointed.
Tips For Working With 82% Butterfat
If you’ve decided to go with the easy-to-find European style supermarket butter, you’re going to find that you don’t have a lot of time to roll your dough out before the butter starts to soften too much to work with. To be certain, they will be less resistant to absorption than the typical 80% American style butter, but you’ll still need to take great care to keep things cool while you’re working with your dough. This also has to do with using a hand roller instead of a lamination machine, but nonetheless, you’re more than capable of producing amazing croissants this way. The key is to work quickly and efficiently, making sure that your butter stays cold throughout the process. If it starts to get too soft, simply pop it in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up again.
Our key tips are as follows:
- Make sure your kitchen is relatively cold. A temperature of 70°F or lower is ideal. The colder the better, so if you can run the air conditioning or open the windows to get the temperature down to 65°F, that’s even better.
- Anyone who has ever tried to roll out dough knows that it can be a frustrating process. The dough is either too hard and refused to budge, or it’s too soft and sticky, making it difficult to work with. One way to help ensure that your dough is the perfect consistency is to place an ice pack or bags of frozen peas/corn on your work surface for 10-15 minutes before pulling your dough/butter out of the fridge. This will help to firm up the dough so that it’s easier to work with, and it will also prevent the butter from melting and making the dough too soft. As a result, you’ll be able to achieve the perfect consistency for your dough, making it much easier to roll out.
- While you might be impatient to get your dough rolled out, it’s important to make sure that the butter doesn’t become too soft in the process. If the butter is too soft, it will spread out and make the dough difficult to work with. It’s best to chill the dough in the freezer or fridge as soon as you notice the butter getting soft. This will help to ensure that the butter is pliable but not too soft. If your dough is too large to fit in your fridge, you can use ice packs or bags of frozen peas to cool it down between rolls. By taking these precautions, you’ll be able to roll out your dough more easily and achieve the desired results.
- When making croissants, it is important not to roll the butter block out too thin. If the butter block is too thin, it will melt and absorb into the dough during the first turns (folds). This will create a brioche-like texture and less of a croissant. The exact thickness really comes down to how thick your dough is, but generally speaking, somewhere around a quarter of an inch is getting pretty thin for this type of butter block. If you want to ensure that your croissants turn out perfectly, err on the side of caution and don’t roll the butter block out too thinly.