Butter in Croissants


Hi there,


Does melting butter before you incorporate it into a bread dough (in my case, croissant dough, or a brioche) make a difference to the final dough?  Obviously it would feel like a higher hydration, however that would only be until you fridge where the butter will come back to a solid in the final dough?


Or by melting the butter and splitting the milk fat out of it, does this effect the consistency of the butter forever?


Any thoughts are appreciated!

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farinam's picture
farinam 2013 August 1

Hello imhello,

I think I am right in saying that butter is an emulsion of water in fat and after melting you are left with the fat and water as separate phases (the fat part is ghee) and they would stay that way without some serious mechanical input.  I imagine it is possibly that the water could be extracted from unmelted butter  by the flour when it is mixed but I think the main effect is due to the fat in any case.

Brioche, in my limited experience is a fairly soft dough and uses melted butter.  Croissant dough on the other hand is made with solid butter layered between the dough and repeatedly rolled and folded to produce the flaky pastry.  Although the first layering is done with soft butter, rolling is only done after refrigeration so croissant dough is quite firm to handle.

In fact, any dough, whether enriched or not will be firmer after being refrigerated.  This is often cited as a benefit of refrigerator retardation in that it makes soft dough easier to handle while it is cold.

Rich doughs do take significantly longer to rise.

Good luck with your projects.


petanque 2013 August 1

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Butter in croissants is layers and being mixed in you will not get the texture required.


Brioche dough the butter is mixed in this changes the texture/ and flavour of the product.


I must admit brioche is not to my taste.

phaz 2013 August 2
my understanding of croissants is that the layering of butter and dough is what makes a croissant a croissant. sandwich the butter between the dough, rolling to flatten and thin the dough/ butter, folding and rolling again, etc, all work to get those very thin layers of butter and dough, and that makes a proper croissant. I've had " croissants" that were dough with butter, not very good. texture is all wrong. no layering = no flaky crust = yuk. actually, the taste wasnt all that bad, but it wasn't a real croissant.
Millciti's picture
Millciti 2013 August 2

Laminating dough creates the layers - yes the water in the butter is important because when the dough is baked the water becomes steam which creates air between the layers of dough.  This is a great article about laminated doughs by Joe Pastry -


So as mentioned before if you melt the butter you cannot get a laminated dough but would only get an enriched dough such as brioche where the butter is incorperated into the dough after melting.

I've been thinking about trying croissants again - so buttery and  flaky - so lovely - au chocolate... mmmmumm...



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