How to Bake like Tartine at Home
A 15-year employee of Tartine, Fausto Echeverria started as a dishwasher and worked his way through all of the stations in the kitchen before heading up croissant production at Tartine Manufactory. His team turns out over 200 of their signature croissants a day with the help of futuristic Swedish ovens, a mega-size spiral mixer, and a dough sheeter. When baking with his young kids at home, Echeverria makes pastries that are almost as perfect by following these steps.
Check Your Proofs
Professional bakers often let pastries made with yeast-leavened dough rise in warm, humidified cabinets known as proof boxes. If your kitchen is cool and dry, fake your own by setting your tray of shaped pastries in a large cooler or covered plastic bin beside a dish of hot water. This will prevent the surfaces from drying out and cracking and allow the tender dough to stretch evenly as it rises. Don’t overproof; if the pastries have fully inflated and started to fall again, they will bake up flat and misshapen.
Optimize Your Oven
Tartine bakes in a rotating convection oven that eliminates the need to open the oven to rotate during cooking. Echeverria re-creates the convection effect at home by adding a low, wide dish of water on the floor of the oven during preheating. The rising steam encourages heat and air movement and ensures a more even bake. The other key to consistency: Leave the door shut until the pastries have a good amount of color. Otherwise, they tend to fall before their shape is set.
Keep Things Fresh
By Tartine’s standards, croissants have an extremely short window of acceptable freshness. At home, Fausto proofs and bakes only what he intends to serve that day. Unproofed, raw pastries can be frozen and packed in resealable plastic bags. The night before you plan to bake, transfer the frozen pastries to a parchment paper–lined sheet tray, tent loosely with plastic wrap, and thaw in the refrigerator.