Croissants are a ubiquitous breakfast pastry throughout Europe.
The construction is simple and elegant – a laminated bread made from alternating layers of dough and butter. Although the basic ingredients are straightforward, croissants are surprisingly delicate confections. Made without skill, they wind up wilted, unctuous, or overly dry and cake-y. Crafted by experts, on the other hand, and they taste light, airy and richly textured, like the food of angels. Adding sugar, chocolate or other fillings can transform this breakfast treat into a decadent delight.
Long before the French claimed the croissant, Austrian bakers made crescent shaped breakfast rolls called “Kipferl.” These were basic breads without the laminated layers, but they held the beginnings of the croissant.
Marie Antoinette’s Roll/Role
When Marie Antoinette came to France, she was forced to leave nearly everything she loved behind. Still, she demanded her kipferl for breakfast, and the French bakers complied. Over time, bakers expanded on the recipe, and soon an early version of a croissant was born. The croissant soon became a favorite breakfast food for wealthy members of society. The ingredients were too expensive to be enjoyed by the lower classes… a possible additional reason for the violence of the French Revolution?
The Yeast Difference
In the 1900’s, the croissant was transformed again as bakers experimented with adding yeast to recipes. Similar to a puff pastry, this re-imagined croissant retained its characteristic laminations but now had a more bread-like texture. This last innovation gave the French pastry the texture and taste that modern croissant lovers recognize. As the cost of butter and sugar fell, the croissant became a national delight, enjoyed by all levels of French society. As other nations discovered this culinary secret, croissants exploded in popularity internationally, and the rest is history.
French Style Café
At La PanotiQ Bakery Café, you will find a stocked French bakery filled with specialty croissants, breads, cakes and other luscious desserts. Our lunch menu is filled with French cuisine choices that are flavorful and filling. Please visit our bakeries, and bring a little bit of France home to your family.