Why are Some Croissants Straight, and Others Curved?

Posted on
Jan 12, 2015
25

Croissant doodles!

 

“I wonder why some croissants are straight and others are curved.”

“It has to do with butter content.”

“Wait, what?”

“The ones that are straight are made from butter. If they’re curved, they’re made from other fats, like margarine or whatever.”

“WAIT, WHAT?”

“Yeah. In France, it’s the law. I don’t think the rule holds true in the states, though.”

“WHY HAVEN’T YOU WRITTEN ABOUT THIS ON YOUR BLOG?”

“I … I guess I didn’t think it was important?”

“It is literally the most important thing you have ever told me, ever.”

And so, at my husband’s request, today is about croissants. And yes, there are laws about this in France. Actual laws. Can you see why I love that country so much? They take their baked goods seriously, damn it.

The law, as I mention above, is pretty simple – if you have a straight croissant (which is kind of an oxymoron, since the word croissant actually means “crescent”) in France, it will be an all-butter croissant.

Croissants that use any other type of fat (even if it’s something like 95% butter and 5% margarine) cannot be straight (and will usually be in the iconic crescent shape).

Here’s the thing, though – even though all straight croissants are made from butter, not all butter croissants are straight. They can be whatever shape they want to be. (It’s like the rule about how all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares.)

I have made a few relevant doodles to help illustrate this, per my husband’s request. First, a quick way to remember that all-butter croissants are straight (hint: straight croissant = straight stick of butter.)

Fact: It is very hard to draw a straight croissant that doesn’t look like a sweet potato.

 

And because I realize that the drawing above is an oversimplification (and that a curved croissant isn’t necessarily not all-butter), I made this Venn diagram:

 

Also, tracing circles is hard, y’all.

 

In my research, I learned a few more croissant-related facts (note: when your job entails that phrase, life is good):

  • You don’t put butter on an-all butter croissant. Jam is totally acceptable, but butter is overkill.
  • You can put butter on a not-all-butter croissant, but you should not cut it in half and smear butter on the halves. Instead you butter the end, take a bite, then butter it again and take another bite. Butter, bite. Butter, bite.

And there you have it. The most important piece of information to have ever appeared on my blog. Bon appetit!

Leave a Comment

  • I…I didn’t get “sweet potato” from that straight croissant. Admit it: you drew a poop and a crab and are just waiting to see if anybody notices.

  • haha hilarious as always! I feel like my day is officially successful after reading this blog post

  • Haha interesting! DIdn’t know that there was that much thought put into croissants! Who knew the government was so serious about their croissants.

  • Natalie

    Tres interessant! I live in Geneva (i.e. super duper close to France) and had no idea! Fascinating 🙂

  • I can’t believe you kept this from us all this time. I just can’t.

  • This is incredible information you’ve shared! I had no idea. But, my friend is a chef and once made croissants and some were curved and some were not, as far as I know she used all butter?
    Love the illustrations! 😉

  • Maya

    So glad you’re back to writing regularly again. My week nights are better now.

  • Lol. I did not consider straight croissants to be croissants at all! I classified them as general baked goods. Really craving a croissant after all this croissant talk.

  • Oh my gosh, I had no idea! Looks like Andrew & I will be visiting France later this year, and I plan to make the most of this valuable info. THANK-YOU! 😀

  • Hum! I’m French and I didn’t know about this difference. So thanks you for your enlightenment. And I’m glad to see that I eat a croissant how it is supposed to be: bite by bite. Must be in the genes!

  • Kristina Cline

    I have had some pretty good croissants in my life (my dad used to fix bakery machinery) but one time he brought home an all butter croissant and it was like steamed in butter or something and it tasted like heaven. I wish I could be a bread taster, that would be a dream job. I am taking a break from bread right now, but Paris is on my bucket list.

    Love this post!

  • My mind is literally blown. Literally. I am going to be soooo intimidated now eating a croissant in France! haha

    • Or you can look super smart by casually asking what’s the percentage of butter used in the crescent shape croissants, as it’s obviously not 100% butter. Make the “duh!” face to go with it and tada you’re French!

  • They sure take their croissants seriously! I wonder what they think of the delicious hot dog croissant abominations in the US.

  • I’m French and I didn’t know that. Shame!

  • Beth

    Love the Venn diagram! Nice work.

  • I’ve truely always wondered this! Thanks so much for explaining, now to share with all my friends whenever french pastries come up in conversation (which will be constantly now I know this!)

  • That’s really interesting! Though I am now slightly horrified at the amount of margarine croissants I have eaten and fed my family :-O

  • I’m French and I’ve known this rule since I was a child (though I thought it was a custom, not a law…). I’ve always eaten straight croissants because all-butter is better (from a taste point of view), but the one time I bought a croissant for using it as a model (for painting) I did buy a curved one, because that is the way people imagine croissants… Then I wondered if all foreigners eating croissants in France were disappointed by the not-so-good croissants because they bought the “more traditional looking”, not all butter croissants…

  • wikki

    We’re going to France for the first time in about 8 weeks for our belated honeymoon. . I’m gonna be such ass and go at the patisserie full of tourist and say.. “did you know. …” HAHAHAHA. Awesome!

  • Yourfuckingwrong

    this is fucking wrong, i cannot bake, nor do i know the recipe for croissants. All i know is your reasoning is flawed like Hitlers mustache !

  • Yourfuckingwrong

    the use of a chemical such as butter/ pseudo butter cannot make such thing go from strait to crescents !!!!

    • Christopher

      Try reading, pseudo intelligence is a disservice to anyone trying hard to be a smart@ass.

  • Colin Bain

    So, given that margarine is late on the condiment scene, were croissants (Fr for crescent) straight originally. If so, why were they called croissants?

  • FYI, the all-butter croissants are delish but for making sandwiches, the margerine croissants hold up better. They are flakey but not as likly to get soggy.

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