Blog,  Highlights,  Pastry

Croissants!

Sweet-simones-croissantsDid you know we now have fresh-baked croissants every day? Hundreds of gossamer layers of pure Vermont butter and dough layered together and baked to perfection – there is nothing else like them. They are certainly among some of the most delightful baked treats to savor and enjoy.

Upon seeing them on the plate, next to your steaming coffee, they appear humble. A buttery and flakey crescent begging to be enjoyed. Part pastry and part bread but not quite either, they are a coveted treat made by the technique of laminating (layering) dough and part of any accomplished baker’s repertoire.

Their humble demeanor can be deceiving however, for a perfect croissant is not easily created. They are a true labor of love. Allow us to give you an inside glimpse on the process we go through to bring you one of our favorite baked treats.

Ryans-croissant-doughFirst a basic yeast dough is made, then carefully formed around a large slab of Cabot butter. Into the walk-in refrigerator it goes for a good rest after which it is rolled and folded and rolled and folded, then chilled again. The process is then repeated numerous times over the course of many hours – rolling, folding and resting – with great care taken to maintain the ideal ratio of butter and dough with each roll and fold. If perfect layers are not maintained here, should the dough be handled when it’s too cold or too warm or too roughly, those precious layers will not form properly and the final product would be tough, and not have the desired combination of elasticity and flakiness.

At last the finely layered dough is ready to be cut, filled with chocolate, almond cream, or something savory if desired, and rolled up into crescents or pain au chocolat. Now they get gently brushed with egg and must sit quietly in a warm place to let the yeast work it’s magic. Once properly proofed they go into the oven to be baked. It is here a wonderful alchemy takes place. As the butter warms it gives off small amounts of moisture which – if all has gone well in the rolling stage – turn to steam, expand and are channelled through each micro-layer of dough separating it just the tiniest bit. The fat of the butter lubricates these tiny spaces and separates the hundreds upon hundreds of delicate layers helping them become crispy and brown on the outside while enveloping the tender, aromatic center.

Hundreds of gossamer layers of pure Vermont butter and dough layered together and baked to perfection – there is nothing else like them.

The baking is carefully monitored to bring the croissants to a dark nutty brown in the classic French manner. This may register as darker than usual to many, so why you may wonder do we do this? Why for flavor, of course!

While many are accustomed to seeing croissants (and many other baked goods) baked closer to a blond color, this is actually considered under done because their full flavor has not been reached until caramelization has occurred. That beautiful dark nutty brown is a signal that the most complex flavors have fully developed. The natural sugars in the dough have come forward to meet the toasty notes of the butter, flour and yeast. So much work, love and attention has all been given for this moment and now they have reached perfection.

And then there it sits in front of you. As you bring it to your mouth you can already smell the toasted, buttery aroma. You sink your teeth into that first mouthful, your eyelids lower slightly, and all the flavors and textures come together in an instant. You sigh with contentment. The croissant yields easily yet with a soft chewiness as you get to closer to the center. The taste of really good butter is unmistakable, not sweet, not salty, but so full of complex flavor…this is pure enjoyment.

We invite you to come in and enjoy some of our classically made croissants. They’re waiting for you fresh from the oven every morning, in all their toasty, buttery perfection. And as you enjoy yours, you might even feel inspired to blow a kiss to our wonderful bakers in the back. You’ll make their day. Promise 🙂