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A croissant (UK: /ˈkrwʌsɒŋ/;[1] US: /krwɑːˈsɒ̃/, /krəˈsɒnt/; French pronunciation: [kʁwa.sɑ̃] (About this soundlisten)) is a buttery, flaky, viennoiserie pastry of Austrian and French origin, named for its historical crescent shape. Croissants and other viennoiserie are made of a layered yeast-leavened dough. The dough is layered with butter, rolled and folded several times in succession, then rolled into a sheet, in a technique called laminating. The process results in a layered, flaky texture, similar to a puff pastry.

Croissant

Crescent-shaped breads have been made since the Renaissance, and crescent-shaped cakes possibly since antiquity.[2] Croissants have long been a staple of Austrian and French bakeries and pâtisseries. In the late 1970s, the development of factory-made, frozen, pre-formed but unbaked dough made them into a fast food which can be freshly baked by unskilled labor. The croissant bakery, notably the La Croissanterie chain, was explicitly a French response to American-style fast food,[3] and as of 2008 30–40% of the croissants sold in French bakeries and patisseries were baked from frozen dough.[4]The kipferl, the origin of croissant can be dated back to at least the 13th century in Austria, and came in various shapes.[5] The kipferl can be made plain or with nuts or other fillings (some consider the rugelach a form of kipferl).[6] Some Egyptians claim, arguably, that the kipferl may have been based on the feteer meshaltet pastry known to the Egyptians.[7][8]

Croissant

Alan Davidson, editor of the Oxford Companion to Food, found no printed recipe for the present-day croissant in any French recipe book before the early 20th century; the earliest French reference to a croissant he found was among the "fantasy or luxury breads" in Payen's Des substances alimentaires, 1853. However, early recipes for non-laminated croissants can be found in the 19th century and at least one reference to croissants as an established French bread appeared as early as 1850.[10] Zang himself returned to Austria in 1848 to become a press magnate, but the bakery remained popular for some time afterwards, and was mentioned in several works of the time: "This same M. Zank [sic]...founded around 1830 [sic], in Paris, the famous Boulangerie viennoise".[11] Several sources praise this bakery's products: "Paris is of exquisite delicacy; and, in particular, the succulent products of the Boulangerie Viennoise";[12] "which seemed to us as fine as if it came from the Viennese bakery on the rue de Richelieu".[13] By 1869, the croissant was well established enough to be mentioned as a breakfast staple,[14] and in 1872, Charles Dickens wrote (in his periodical All the Year Round) of "the workman's pain de ménage and the soldier's pain de munition, to the dainty croissant on the boudoir table"[15]


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