When I've started blogging, I always wanted to see and write about 'behind the scenes' moments of a restaurant, a bakery, or see how my favorite suppliers create their products and start a new post series called 'Behind the Scenes'. And now one of these wishes came true as a result of a new friendship, since Gábor, one of the pastry bakers of The Little Bread Pedlar invited me to visit him in the bakery and check how they make the best croissant in the city.
All the croissants start their life as a pre-dough starter, called poolish. A smaller amount of flour, water is mixed with a little yeast more than half a day before the rest of the ingredients are added and the final dough is made. The dough is allowed to ferment and develop for a few hours before the fine French butter is added and the lamination process begins. By folding and rolling the pastry many times the baker creates plenty of butter-dough layers that form those uncountable pockets once the croissants are baked.
After another rest, the dough is ready to be rolled. It goes quite fast if you do not have to use a rolling pin :) Gábor, together with Nichola - she is one of the directors who manage everything at the pastry section- started to cut the dough to get triangle shapes, weighed each to make sure the croissants will be unified. It was amazing to see how they are working so professionally and the one who could get and work on the last batch of dough is so happy... I really love to see this, because it shows their real passion for this job!
All the triangles were stretched a little bit and rolled into a croissant and these went onto trays and into the prover-retarder. This machine keeps the pastries cold and doesn't let them prove just a few hours before the planned baking time in the morning. The croissants get an egg wash, then they go straight to the oven. The freshly baked goods are placed into varied packages and the bakery ships them to their customers.
So you can find the hand-crafted bakery products of The Little Bread Pedlar - like sourdough bread, croissants, almond croissants, pain au chocolat or the heavenly fudgy brownies- at many cafes and restaurants across London. But I suggest you visit them on a Sunday morning in person. On these days they serve some special treats like Melon pan, my new favorite: pastry base, pastry cream filling, and crispy cookie dough on top!
THE LITTLE BREAD PEDLAR
Unit 4-6, Spa Business Park, Dockely Road, London, SE16 3FJ
Open to the public on Saturdays: 8:30am - 2pm
Many thanks to Nic for letting me visit the bakery and let me see the steps of preparing their heavenly croissants, and of course: thanks Gábor for the invitation!