Usually, the first thing we do after dropping our bags in Paris is to go out to our favorite neighborhood café for a petit déj’, the classic Parisian breakfast. Consisting of an orange pressée (freshly pressed orange juice), coffee and either a croissant or tartines (sliced baguette with butter and jam), I find it the perfect cure to jetlag. Because I’m lactose-intolerant, I cannot indulge in croissants too often, but that very first one when I step foot in Paris is non-negotiable.
I recently realized that I’ve been taking this classic French pastry for granted: I know they’re time consuming to make and that bakers spend all night working to sell them fresh (along with delicious breads) every morning, but I had never seen the labor involved with my own eyes. Until I viewed baker Vincent Talleu’s video, that is.
This video will not show you how to make croissants at home, rather how professionals make them. Of course it helps that he has commercial-grade machinery to knead and roll out the dough, but those are just a part of the process. An incredible amount of manual work is involved in making croissants, pains au chocolat, and Danish pastries and I think this video will make you appreciate these treats in a different light. Considering that technically perfect, deliciously flaky, luscious butter croissants are sold for 1 euro (sometimes even less), I’d say it’s one of the cheapest but most enjoyable pleasures to savor in Paris.
The video lasts 10 minutes and it’s very enjoyable to watch. The guy clearly loves his job! Here are some of the highlights, skip straight to those if you’re pressed for time. Just be prepared: After watching, you’ll need to run to the nearest pastry shop to get your fix.
- 1:40 – Butter! One full kilo. Oh yes.
- 4:03 – The “Magic Croissant Cutter” (the easiest part of the job)
- 4:12 – Croissant rolling technique
- 4:52 – Pains au chocolat (rolled two at a time)
- 5:45 and on – Many different kinds of Danish pastries (fascinating to see them all assembled so quickly)
- 8:50 – Croissants, fresh from the oven. Now you’re hungry, aren’t you?