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Feb 3, 2011 10:05 AM

Croissants [split from Manhattan]

(Note: This thread was split from the Manhattan board at: -- The Chowhound Team)

Currently in France (Paris, Rhône-Alpes) and the croissants have been a bit disappointing. Not bad, just not mind-altering. Certainly not better than the better ones I've had at Bergamote or Almondine.

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  1. Sadly, I have to agree with PedrO. Fast food, frozen dough, and bakers too hurried to do things right has become commonplace - in France as well as the US. Great croissants are rare, unlike a generation ago in France.

    7 Replies
    1. re: RandyB

      It would be interesting to have some pictures of the exterior, as well as the cross section view of the croissant crumbs these days. The croissant I remembered from Paris (sadly I've only had a couple of brief visits, and long ago, too) has either been remembered wrong, or the present day croissants have evolved into a different beast. It just seem that most of the croissants today are closer to puff pastry, with the interior similar to a tender pie crust rather than the soft thin layers of bread without being bready.

      Any hounds in France at the moment?

      1. re: HLing

        Even without photos I can answer your question, HLing. The interior of a good croissant should be "- When you stretch the horns to explore the interior, the crumb seems to have airy holes, convoluted, beige, supple, almost brilliant, and hidden under a very crisp pastry exterior." See my post here.

        Note the word "supple." If the interior is similar to a pie crust, it is not a good croissant. The exterior, however, should be flaky like a puff pastry.

        As for "most of the croissants today," that is a sad topic discussed above.

        1. re: RandyB

          RandyB, thanks for that link! I'm reassured by the description of "..the crumb seems to have airy holes..." part.

          It was an inadequate choice of words on my part regarding the interior. I meant to describe poreless sheet quality that sometimes one finds in unleavened dough, though i did say "tender". I was thinking of a good version of a Gözleme.

          I'll be curious to hear about gipfeli. It seems that in the Greek grocery stores they are also found packaged as breakfast or snacks. I've never had one, yet.

      2. re: RandyB

        That is exactly it. Frozen dough is more common here in France all the time. Starting to notice this with the baguettes as well unfortunately.

        1. re: Pedr0

          this is a random question that no one in switzerland that i've asked seems to be able to answer--what is the difference between the "gipfeli" in die Schweiz andthe french croissant? they look a little different--the gipfel is smaller. i'm thinking maybe something about richness (that is, the french croissant seems more buttery)

          1. re: healaeats

            healaeats, your question about Switz gipfeli is perhaps best answered by James Miller, owner and chef at Cafe Besalu in Seattle. He is well and deservedly known among hounders for his excellent croissants. What is less known is that he trained in Switzerland, not France. Next time I am in Seattle, or if some other reader is closer right now, we can ask him about gipfeli.

            1. re: healaeats

              I'm actually in Geneva tomorrow. If I see one I'll try it and let you know if it's any different.