Croissant: May Day Cafe

About the Store

May Day Cafe is a small cafe/bakery in the Powderhorn area of South Minneapolis. Its menu changes frequently, but it always has “The Best Croissants” on its menu. They often sell out early.

The Croissant

The croissants at May Day cafe are medium-large, and have a curved shape, with interesting points on the end. Their peak seems proportionally low, making this a more tubular croissant. They have an extremely even medium brown coloring, though it’s darker on the bottom. There are lots of bubbles on the outside, evidence of strong fermentation. The crust is a bit hard, and looks like it should crisp and flake off a lot, but there isn’t that much flakiness; it’s a lot springier to the touch than I expected. The smell is a bit odd, though: there are definitely notes of buttery baked dough (it is a bread product…), but there is another sweet smell that does not belong. I’m guessing the croissant was too close to other baked goods during or after baking.

The inside of the croissant I had showcases an airy cell structure, and there are parts of the structure that seem like they should unroll easily due to the butter layers, but there are also areas that are too dense. Indeed, this croissant is more dense to the touch than I’d like. I feel it would be good for sandwiches, but not the nicest for a snack. The interior otherwise smells of a balanced richness, sweetness and fermentation.

The croissant had a peculiar taste. It was definitely doughy, rich, and fermented, but the crust had more texture than flavor, except for the sweetness from nearby pastry contamination. I also felt like there was a slight oily film left as an after-effect. None of these made the croissant inedible, but it was definitely weird.

I had high hopes for this place, but its croissant does not measure up to the far better options in the city. It is quite cheap, though.

Ratings & Numbers

Rating: 😐
Taste Quality: 🇺🇸
Price: $2.50 (June 2021).

Other Goods

The cafe has various baked goods, meals, soups, coffee, and other drinks. Its fare is pretty eclectic.

Links

May Day Cafe (facebook)

Croissant: Café Cerés

This review is from notes compiled on May 9, 2021. I went back on June 4 to confirm my notes and take some photos (but I still lost some).

About the Store

Café Cerés is a cafe in Minneapolis which, in its words, “features traditional and Turkish coffees, pastries, salads and sandwiches.” The vibe is still quite American.

The Croissant

The croissants here are a medium size, have a straight shape, and a medium peak. They have two colors: medium brown on the unglazed, layered portions, and dark brown on the glazed areas. The bottom of the croissants are not light, so there was definitely heat on that pan. The outer crust is flaky; it’s got enough hardness and crisp to hold up and not crush very much. Overall I find these croissants extremely attractive; there is a good contrast to the colors, layers are very visible, and there’s a kind of rough yet intentional looseness to the way the dough is rolled up.

Interestingly, the outside smelled slightly of lightly burnt and caramelized sugar, almost like baklava. I enjoyed the smell but it was unexpected.

The inside of the croissants are incredibly airy. There are massive air pockets, like a cavern! I’m not sure if that’s due to the fermentation process or the amount of butter they use, but I can’t help but be impressed when I see something like that. The interior smells balanced, simply of a rich dough.

The taste shifts slightly depending on where you bite. The exterior tastes crustier and sweet, but the inside is quite buttery. The exterior affects the overall taste positively. Overall, it’s a balanced, quite buttery taste that is not as sweet as expected. The croissant I ate also had occasional hits of extra butter, though I’m not sure why. Due to the large air pockets, the innermost dough was still quite doughy; not unexpected.

I was quite impressed by the viennoiserie I ate here. As an added bonus, I could easily break apart and unroll the dough of my croissant! That implies definitely enough butter was used.

Photos of the croissant lost due to a problem with my phone. Sorry.

When I came back on June 4 I had a second croissant. On the side tried the pistachio croissant, which is more like a pain au chocolat with a crumbled pistachio filling, and extra sweetness. While that one’s not my favorite, it’s made as well.

I would say that I was still impressed by the viennoiseries served at this cafe on my second visit, but I was left feeling there’s definitely something about them that tastes American. Maybe it’s the kind of sweet glaze they use, or the quality of the butter. I’m not sure I’d say they’re the pinnacle of what a croissant is, but they beat everything else that tastes like them so far, and that earns them a very positive rating for their category.

Ratings & Numbers

Rating: 🤩
Taste Quality: 🇺🇸
Price: $3.50 (May/June 2021).

Other Goods

Bagels, other pastries made with croissant dough, coffee drinks (try the dukkah latte—made with date syrup!)

Links

Café Cerés

Croissant: Aki’s Bread Haus

This review feels overdue—I got to try the croissants back in January, then again in May, and after losing some photos, once more in June. It was worth it every time.

About the Store

Aki’s Bread Haus is a small bakery north of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. It’s run by a German family, and serves delicious bread and pastries which all have a taste of what you’d find in Germany.

Their quantities of pastries are limited; come early, but not right at open, to have the best chance at buying some.

The Croissant

Aki’s Bread Haus’s croissants are a medium-small size.They have a straight shape with a pronounced, but medium, hump in the center. Their color ranges from a pretzel brown, in spots where the outside was most exposed to heat (and possibly glazed), to a pale golden yellow where less heat hit. Some areas on the bottom have the darker color. The dough layers are extremely visible from due to their expansion and separation. The outer crust is hard, but will crunch and start to flake off when you press down. Most striking, though, is that the croissants look very shaggy, a bit more so than those from Sun Street Breads, and they are not uniformly shaped. I personally like the appearance, and it doesn’t appear to me that it’s anything other than intentional.

Another thing I could tell right away is that these have way more butter in them than other croissants I’ve tasted. It stains the bag, it has a definite sheen, and you can feel the slightly greasier feel when you pick them up. You can smell it, too: the croissants have a light bread smell with a definite note of butter.

The interior of the croissants have an expansive and cavernous airy structure, which immediately lets you know that more butter was used. The innermost dough is a bit more doughy and moist, but still baked through. It smells of bread, slight fermentation, and lots of butter.

The taste of the croissant is only slightly sweet, and heavily buttery; it’s less like eating a sugary food and much more like eating a slightly sweet roll with butter… but with the texture of a croissant. The crunch of the outer shell goes well with the more doughy interior. It is delicious.

This croissant is one of my favorite croissants in Minneapolis/Saint Paul.

Ratings & Numbers

Rating: 🤩
Taste Quality: 🇪🇺
Price: $3.50 (January-June 2021)

Other Goods

They also fantastic Sourdough breads, brötchen, slightly sweet pastries, only slightly sweet cinnamon buns, and a few savory bread things to eat. And pretzel.

Links

Aki’s Bread Haus

Croissant: Patisserie 46/Rose Street Bakery

About the Store

Patisserie 46 and Rose Street Patisserie are a family of neighborhood pastry and coffee shops in Minneapolis/Saint Paul. They are owned by John Kraus (and his wife Elizabeth Rose), a top chocolatier in the US. Also notably, they are part of Relais Desserts, an international association of pastry chefs who wish to promote French pâtisserie.

I’ve been to this place a few times in the last

The Croissant

The croissants at Patisserie 46 are straight croissants, though only on a technicality, as they have a unique shape: they are fairly short, their peak is massive, and the center bulges out. Each layer of laminated dough has greatly expanded from the rising and baking process. The color is an even medium-dark brown all over; however they make it, their bake is consistent. The exterior is a bit hard to make crumbs flake off, but when they do, the crumbs are tiny. The crust is quite sturdy and harder to crush. There is a faint smell of bread with something slightly burnt… maybe a wash of some kind?

The inside of the croissants I’ve bought from this place have always had a consistent, even aeration, though it seems a bit on the packed, less airy side than some other croissants. This holds true for the pains au chocolat as well. I’m not sure if it’s a from a less active fermentation, less butter, or something else… the interior smell is of richness and sweetness, with only a hint of yeast.

Tasting the croissants from this place is a bit odd for me: they taste dry. When I taste the inside crumb by itself, it has the flavor, richness, and moisture I would expect from a croissant, but when I enjoy the viennoiserie as a whole—crust and crumb—it leaves my mouth feeling drier than I would like. When I had a look at the pain au chocolat as well today, it had the same issue: a tight inner structure, and a dry feel. I wonder if their dough uses less butter, and is going more towards bread.

I wouldn’t avoid the croissants here (they taste okay), but I would prefer the actual pastries.

Ratings & Numbers

Rating: 😐
Taste Quality: 🇫🇷?
Price: $3.75 (April 2021)

Other Goods

Aside from the pain au chocolat and various almond croissants, this family of bakeries is home to many fine desserts, breads, coffee drinks, and some lunchtime fare.

Links

Patisserie 46 home page

Croissant: Red Bench Bakery

About the Store

Red Bench Bakery is a small bakery that has two locations in Minnesota: Chaska and Excelsior. One of the locations used to be the former spot for Patisserie Margo, now moved to Edina.

The Croissant

The croissants sold at this bakery are medium-sized, tending towards large, with a proportionally medium peak, and not much of a curvature. The layer seams spread out, showing significant separation of the layers on the outside. The coloring is a mix of medium and darker browns, darkest on the outermost parts and where they touched the pan. Both the bottom and the top of the croissant have a lot of small bubbles, indicating a very active fermentation process (was it only this batch?). The croissants smell slightly rich but definitely yeasted, though I noticed a slightly burnt note that reminded me of darker european bread crusts. The exterior of the croissants is fairly sturdy, and does not have too much give.

The croissants looked shaggy, but not in an unpleasant way. I’d say they’re attractive.

The interior of the croissant I bought displayed an airy structure, but a bit tighter than other croissants I’ve had—maybe it could be used as a sandwich? The interior smelled slightly rich, but heavily fermented. It seemed a bit more bready than I would expect.

The croissant I ate tasted like it smelled: a bit bready, a bit darker, a bit fermented, a bit rich, but not very sweet. As a baked good it was quite good, but more towards the American flavor range. I would not say this is a taste of France.

Ratings & Numbers

Rating: 😀
Taste Quality: 🇺🇸
Price: $3.50 (April 2021).

Other Goods

Breads (tasty sourdough!), pain au chocolat, a few other baked goods, coffee. Salads.

View of the bakery counter
View from the counter

Links

Red Bench Bakery