Behind The Scenes At NYC’s Original Cronut Bakery

Edible Manhattan writer Jessica Chou stops by at 4:30 a.m. to see what Cronut creator Dominique Ansel’s mornings are like.

1. 4:36 a.m.

Jessica Chou / Via

Cronuts in various stages. Ansel arrives for work every morning at 4 a.m., but his kitchen is so small (and demand so high) that his ovens are burning 24/7. The bakery sells 350 Cronuts every day, and each batch takes three days to create. One day is set aside to make the dough, one day to cut and shape, and the final day to proof, fry, and fill.

3. 4:40 a.m.

Jessica Chou / Via

By now Ansel has fried up a few dozen Cronuts, while other bakers mold DKAs (Ansel’s signature caramelized croissants) for baking. On a daily basis, Ansel devotes two hours (if not more) to frying Cronuts right before the bakery opens.

6. 4:45 a.m.

Jessica Chou / Via

DKAs (Dominique’s Kouign Amann) are ready to go in the oven.

7. 4:53 a.m.

Jessica Chou / Via

Ansel spent the majority of the morning unmolding DKAs fresh from the oven. The bakery sells at least 500 of these caramelized croissants a day.

10. 5:22 a.m.

Jessica Chou / Via

The rest of the pastries (croissants, canelés and tarte tatins), which were baked even earlier this morning, are accounted for and loaded onto a speed rack.

13. 5:40 a.m.

Jessica Chou / Via

The day’s to-do list is almost complete and it’s not even 6 a.m.

14. 5:45 a.m.

Final touches on the tarte tatins.

Jessica Chou / Via

15. 6:07 a.m.

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Several special pumpkin spice Cronuts are loaded up, created as a fundraiser for God’s Love We Deliver.

16. 6:30 a.m.

Jessica Chou / Via

The line outside is already several parties long; the first man in line has been waiting since before 4:30 a.m. The bakery will open at 8 a.m.

17. 6:17 a.m

Jessica Chou / Via

Ansel makes fresh madeleines while the staff fixes up hot chocolate. Both get delivered to those bundled up outside in the cold.

21. 6:46 a.m.

Jessica Chou / Via

The bakery is bustling as the team finalizes prep before opening. More bakers head in to clean, assemble, and organize, ducking under each other’s arms and keeping tabs on the oven. They still have 1 hour and 15 minutes to go before the door opens.

“There’s a difference between being a chef and being a business owner,” Ansel says. “When it’s your business, everything from hiring people to menu changes to printers being set up, computers, fridges, copy machines, it’s all you. No one else will do it for you.” So on any given day, you might just find him changing a lightbulb or fixing some plumbing issue, in-between paperwork, cleaning, phone calls and yes, coming up with the next Cronut. “I’ve done plumbing and electricity,” he says. “It’s part of the business. When you’re a small business owner, you’re not going to hire a company to fix what you can do.”

This post originally appeared on Edible Manhattan.

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