Sunterra Croissants

Baking Our Mark: On a Roll with Sunterra Croissants

By Amanda Philipow

Published January 2024

If someone told you to name the first pastry that comes to mind, a croissant is probably near the top of the list — and for good reason! With its signature flaky texture and mouthwatering, buttery flavour, it’s understandable why this simple delicacy is famous across the globe. 

Despite its undeniable association with French cuisine, the origins of the croissant can actually be traced back to 13th century Austria — or perhaps even earlier depending on who you talk to! Originally known as a baked bread roll called a kipferl, it wasn’t until 1839 that this Viennese bread was introduced to Parisians. Aptly named for its crescent shape, the French version of this pastry first appeared in 1915 when the recipe was recreated using a laminated yeast dough instead of a brioche dough. As a result, the puffy, many-layered pastry we know and love today was born.  

With this strong European heritage, we know the importance of maintaining authenticity in each and every one of our croissants. We sat down to chat with Assistant Market Manager (and croissant virtuoso) Taylor North to learn more about Sunterra’s process of making these perfect pastries. The first thing we learn is simple. All baked goods must start with the basics: a tried and trusted recipe. 

“Our recipe is authentically European,” says Taylor. “It makes for one of the best croissants you can get in Calgary.” 

Each simple batch of dough begins with only four ingredients: flour, yeast, sugar and whole milk. The extra fat from using 3.25% milk helps to develop flavour within the dough and contributes to that signature flaky quality Sunterra is committed to achieving. Next, the dough will rest for up to 24 hours, allowing the wheat proteins to develop and help produce those perfectly crisp, thin layers of pastry. After a day of resting comes the truly time-consuming part — laminating. Butter is an integral part of each croissant and must be folded into the dough. When the butter melts, it releases steam and gives the croissants their beautiful flaky texture. Just like you’d laminate a document, this process involves folding the dough and running it through a sheeter machine repeatedly. Instead of folding in pieces of paper, we add sheets of butter — arguably a little more exciting and undoubtedly more delicious! Once completed five to six times, the dough is moved to a table and laid flat, ready to be cut.  

To ensure beautifully even sizing, the croissant dough is cut into uniform triangles using a special tool that resembles both a rolling pin and a cookie cutter. Once cut, it’s time to add in the delectable fillings. Our croissants are currently made in six flavours: traditional butter, cheese, ham and cheddar, jalapeño and cheddar, chocolate and almond. Similar to all our other baked goods, these croissants are filled with only the highest quality ingredients like Alberta-made cheddar cheese, smooth semi-sweet Callebaut chocolate and our own Soleterra d’Italia Modena ham. Once the fillings are added, it’s finally time to roll them up into their signature shape — but it’s not time to bake just yet! The croissants-to-be are set aside to rest for a little while longer, allowing the flavours to develop even further. 

Finally, after about 36 total hours of preparation, the croissants are baked in a vented oven for about 20 minutes until they reach golden, buttery perfection.  

Now you may be thinking: I’ve had croissants from other grocery stores before, what makes Sunterra’s so different?  

We thought you’d never ask. 

Firstly, freshness. When it comes to our croissants, there will always bea fresh batch on the shelf ready for you to take home.  

“We bake our croissants three times a day every single day,” explains Taylor.  

Other store bought croissants are often made in a factory and even frozen when they arrive at the stores — but not ours. Our first batch of the day is made around 6 a.m., but if you happen to be at our West Market Square location around 10 a.m. or 3 p.m., you might be lucky enough to catch a whiff of the scratch-made pastries on their way out of the oven. Croissants at our other markets are also baked fresh; our West Market Square bakers regularly send them unbaked croissants, ready to pop in the oven for our customers across Alberta. This kind of freshness just can’t be beat! 

Secondly, the ingredients. Butter can be pricey, but we know there’s simply nothing like the real thing. Our croissants contain only real butter, never margarine or flavoured oils. When it comes to ingredients, cutting corners just isn’t an option.

“You can really taste the difference between a mass-produced croissant and a real one like ours,” Taylor says proudly. 

Finally, the texture. A real croissant should pass what we’ve lovingly coined “The Crumb Test.” When you take a bite, those crispy layers should shatter and flake apart, leaving you with a smile on your face and crumbs on your shirt. Croissants you find elsewhere often have a doughy, chewy texture more similar to bread than a delicate pastry.  

“Some customers have actually said our croissants areas good if not better than what they’ve had in Paris,” Taylor tells us excitedly.  

Now that your mouth is watering, you’re probably wondering how to best enjoy these baked beauties.  

“I always recommend warming them up before eating,” Taylor suggests. “It really brings out that buttery flavour.” 

But if you don’t have the patience to preheat your oven and want to just dive right in, we certainly won’t judge. Sunterra’s croissants are delicious straight from the box, either on their own or with a pairing. For you sweet tooths out there, our plain and chocolate croissants area marvelous match for our brand-new Sunterra Greenhouse Dutchess strawberry jam.  

If you’ve tried every flavour and your pastry hankering still isn’t fulfilled, we’ll let you in on a little secret: our Danishes and kakaós csiga (Hungarian chocolate rolls) are made with the same tasty dough as our croissants! Be sure to try these treats on your next bakery visit, too. 

Even with authentic recipes, the best ingredients and unbeatable freshness, our croissants couldn’t exist without the passion of our talented team members. Their hard work and expertise allows us to offer these incredible products that we’re confident will become a new staple on your Sunterra shopping list. Before wrapping up our chat, we asked Taylor if there’s anything else she thinks our customers should know about our croissants: 

“People should come and taste them for themselves,”she says with a smile. We couldn’t agree more. 

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