This butter croissant at Proof Bakery is outstanding

And you should be eating it for breakfast

Photograph by Jennifer Zyman

A lot more goes into making a butter croissant than you think. The ingredients are usually as simple as butter, instant dry yeast, milk, salt, sugar, flour, and water. But the process, while straightforward, is tedious. What makes a croissant desirable is its crackly golden crust and the thousands of little holes that makes its interior fluffy.

Those pockets are formed when steam is released during baking from all of the pieces of butter folded into the dough. How many pieces do you add? That’s up to the baker. And to get a truly flaky croissant, the baker must be diligent, folding the dough over and over again, adding butter until the dough is speckled canary yellow. The process necessitates patience and a love for your craft—qualities that Proof Bakeshop head baker Cary Bell clearly possesses, judging from the excellent croissants you’ll find at the Old Fourth Ward bakery.

Bell’s ideal croissants are the size of a kid’s football, but just as flaky and crackly as a tiny specimen from some random patisserie in Paris. When you rip the enormous croissant apart, a tuft of the fluffy filling poofs out like a Troll doll’s hair, perfect for swiping through your cappuccino over morning emails. Beyond croissants, the bakery also has one my favorite baguettes, fat homemade English muffins begging to be served with thick bacon and soft scrambled eggs, and one of the most enjoyable Kouign-Amann (a caramelized and buttery pastry from France) I have found in Atlanta.

There’s ample space at the communal tables or counters if you want (or need) to telecommute, and the vibe is pretty chill, making it a good spot if you’re hungry for something delicious but still need to focus. 100 Hurt Street Northeast, 678-705-3905