A croissant is a buttery flaky
pastry, named for its distinctive crescent shape. Croissant are made of a leavened variant of
puff pastry. The yeast dough is layered with butter, rolled and folded several
times in succession, then rolled into a sheet, a technique called laminating.
Left: A croissant.
Crescent-shaped breads have been made since the Middle Ages,
and crescent-shaped cakes (imitating the often-worshiped Moon) possibly since
Making croissant by hand requires skill and patience; a batch
of croissant can take several days to complete. However, the development of
factory-made, frozen, pre-formed but unbaked dough has made them into a fast
food which can be freshly baked by unskilled labor. This innovation, along with
the croissant's versatility and distinctive shape, has made it the best-known
type of French pastry in much of the world.