Fresh and flakey on the outside, a slightly chewy honeycomb texture on the inside … it tastes of toasted buttery caramelisation, tangy undertones of Normandy milk, the sweet richness of cultivated yeasts and long fermentation. Buttery streaks on your fingers, tiny, and sometimes not-so-tiny shards of golden-brown flakes of crust on your shirt … more often than not an almost messy exercise at breakfast … an emotional exercise first thing in the morning … yes indeed, the croissant … Croissant au Beurre … bien sûr …
A Damascene moment every time at my first breakfast in Paris. It may be my favorite chocolatier I visit, first thing when I arrive, or Gérard Mulot for a Kuglof. But really looking forward … I am to my first petit déjeuner … café, jus d’orange frais et croissant au beurre … Same ritual every time.
I am a baker. I have learned the art of fermentation and lamination from some very good and passionate people, … artist at yeasts, flour and butter …
‘Petit déjeuner’ at Café Delmas at Place de la Contrescarpe
Many probably not quite liberté, égalité, but if you belong to the few, … the masters of flakey butteriness, … then definitely … fraternité.
… so, yeah, it is emotional … !!
•The Kipferl, ancestor of the croissant, has been documented in Austria going back at least as far as the 13th century, in various shapes.
•The French version of the Kipferl was named for its crescent (croissant) shape and has become an identifiable shape across the world.
•Lamination is term for the process of alternating layers of dough and butter when making pastry.
•The best tasting and best looking laminated dough use butter. When heated, the water in butter turns to steam. The thin layers of butter in laminated dough cause the dough to puff up and rise during baking, giving croissants and puff pastry their layered and crispy look, and the milk solids in the butter cause the pastry to brown – and, of course, tastes delicious.
There are plenty of recipes for Croissant au Beurre out there, so I don’t have to bore you with one more. But if you feel adventurous, here is a whole-wheat croissant recipe from David Lebovitz you may wan a give a try.
… born in Upper Austria’s Wels, I have done most of my growing up in Vienna.
Only by sheer accident did I fall into the trade of Pâtissier. After a short apprentice ship at a Viennese Bakery, I was accepted for apprentice ship, at "K.u.K. Hofzuckerbäcker Demel’s Söhne", one of the oldest patisseries in Vienna. Learning the trade from the very basics, as the Emperor two Centuries ago would have expected from a "Pâtissier to the Royal and Imperial Court" (That is what the older Pâtissier still calls himself).
I soon took to travel the world. From patisseries in America, to hotels in the Far East, Africa and the Middle East, did I accumulate a wealth of experience, ranging from bakeries to first class restaurants in major hotels to banquets for Presidents, Sultans and Heads of States and other famous, infamous and not so famous people.
But the true excitement for me is in the "Viennese Café". Not just as an occupation, but as an institution in it own right.
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