The base dough for all of our laminated pastries is the same. It is made using the traditional method of a poolish starter where a portion of the flour and water from the dough are mixed with a very small amount of yeast and allowed to ferment overnight. This method not only makes the dough easier to stretch during the lamination process but gives a more flavourful pastry with enhanced colours and better keeping quality.
Typically, the poolish is pre-fermented for around 14 hours before all the other ingredients are added and the final dough is made. This is bulk fermented for a couple of hours before the butter is added- the process we call the lamination stage. We use Lescure butter from Charentes as it has a good low moisture content and an amazing lactic tang. Throughout the lamination process it is important to keep the definition between the butter and dough as it is this that gives the layers to the pastries once they are baked.
After another rest, our dough is then ready to be rolled out and cut into the finished pastry: croissants, pain au chocolat or pain aux raisins. These are then put onto trays and into the prover-retarder where they are kept very cold until we want to bake them. Around two hours before we want to bake them they start proving so that when we come in in the early morning they are ready to go into the oven.
Overall, the whole process for the croissants from poolish to baked pastry on the plate takes around 36 hours. That is time when the flavours and dough strength develop and the gases build up in little pockets in the pastry to create the lightness of the crumb.