A red-striped croissant sits on a piece of white parchment paper

Buttery, Flaky, Irresistible: Viennoiserie

ICE chefs demonstrate how to laminate dough for the perfect croissants, Danishes and puff pastries

Do you love a flaky, delicate croissant? Or a sticky, sweet Danish? Meet your favorite pastry category: viennoiserie.

Today, Pastry & Baking Arts students at ICE have the opportunity to learn and adopt the traditional techniques of viennoiserie, which go back almost a millennium to its origins in Vienna.

The most recent viennoiserie day at ICE LA was led by Pastry & Baking Arts Chef-Instructors Carrie Smith and Jürgen David.

“It’s a beautiful art,” Chef Carrie says.

Unlike crunchy, heartier yeasted doughs, viennoiserie breads are typically on the sweeter side, with well-known examples including cinnamon rolls and brioche. Viennoiserie relies on a particular process known as lamination, in which dough is either kneaded and pressed into sheets by hand or, for larger-scale productions, with a sheeter machine. The layers of dough are then folded over, separated by a layer of butter in what are known as envelope folds. These folds encase the butter so that it may give rise to the pastries once they are baked.

But first, the sheeted dough is placed in a proofing drawer at just below 90˚F for two hours. This creates a humid environment for the dough to rise while keeping the butter at the proper temperature to prevent it from oozing out the sides or hardening within, preserving the layers. 

“It’s a wonderful day for students and for the chefs,” Chef Carrie says. “It’s also a day that requires close attention to structure.” 

For instance, a traditional Danish recipe requires more sugar than a croissant, and may even include the traditional Scandinavian spice cardamom. A Danish is also glazed in simple syrup to make it moist and give it a tantalizing shine.

A croissant, on the other hand, is typically crunchier and possesses an airier, honeycomb consistency thanks to the absence of eggs. There are, of course, variations of all these pastries, as Chefs Carrie and Jürgen made a red striped, bi-color croissant with a raspberry filling. The color design denotes the type of filling — for example, a green stripe may indicate a pistachio cream filling.

Read More:A Brief History of the Croissant

A cross section a red-stripes croissant is displayed to the camera

Once the pastries are puffy and proofed, into the oven they go.

The pastries always come out of the oven to much fanfare. In addition to being delicious, the students’ hard work on creating the viennoiserie sweets makes them highly Instagrammable.

“The slice when you get to see the honeycomb of layers is everyone’s happy moment,” Chef Carrie says. 

Pastries aren’t the only thing that must rise to the occasion, as students are expected to meet the demands of a fast-paced and high-volume production of a professional bakery. Coordination on the line is crucial to get the pastries glazed in butter and drizzled in icing before they are boxed up for distribution.  

Flaky, buttery viennoiserie pastries are sure to delight students, chefs and customers around the world. That’s why this lesson, which teaches both technical skills and teamwork, is a crucial part of the ICE curriculum.

ICE Pastry & Baking students in white coats work together to glaze sheets of pastries

Plus: the pastries pair perfectly with a hot cappuccino.

RecipeCroissant Cinnamon Rolls with Homemade Filling

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