The Ottolenghi croissant is something rather rare:
how can so much flour and butter taste like fresh spring air?
Leaf-light layers with a crust light and crisper
“what is the secret?” we often hear our lovely customers whisper
the butter, the kneading, the hand which bakes,
what is the magic ingredient which makes
our puff-pastry parcels the best in town?
(though we say so ourselves, they’ve become quite renowned).
The list of ingredients is no mystery in the least:
flour, butter, milk, sugar, salt and egg and yeast,
the process of their making follows traditions known and old:
knead the dough, let it rise and deflate before it’s rolled;
more rising, chilling, butter and rolling and, as one soon learns,
the all-important layer-producing repeated folds and turns,
repeat again, add more butter, fold and say your prayers
and hope that the resulting croissant has the requisite 36 layers!
The magic’s worked, they’re left to freeze in the bakery overnight
before fresh cooking in our shops, to our customer’s delight.
Served with coffee, spread with jam,
taken home to fill with ham. . .
But the real secret, the one that lies behind this finest treat
is the person who our customers don’t often get to meet
the one whose kneading, the dough’s friend and clock:
our very own and very special Mister Irek Krok:
here from Poland for the past six years,
he’s 36 layers above his baking peers;
for all that one can know the croissant-making drill
it’s years of practise that results in the skill
to make and bake and know the dough,
when it’s rising too quickly and needs to slow
to mix and measure, roll and fold
to feel when the butter’s too hot or cold
to make batch after batch and get it so right
that heaven is thought of in every bite
batons and patterns on tray after tray
we’d like to take a moment to proudly say
that it’s Irek and all those behind the scenes
who make the Ottolenghi food the stuff of dreams. . .