Chef Vincent Caradonna doesn’t usually eat spiders.
As the owner of Le Petit Croissant at 640 Main St. in downtown Greenville, Caradonna much rather prefers fluffy croissants, French baguettes and flavorful sourdough.
But every Halloween, massive arachnids invade the windows of his bakery, although this species of spider is a bit more delicious than your typical creepy-crawly.
“We started making the holiday-themed breads last year, just as decorations,” Caradonna said, as he delicately slid a couple of the French baguette spiders onto a tray. “But people really wanted to buy them. Now they sell out right away.”
The spiders are not so difficult to make, Caradonna said. Each piece is made separately and combined, with the heat of the oven melding them together.
“Every leg is individual,” he said, “and then the head, which we score to make eyes, and then the… what’s the word? Body?”
“Thorax!” called out one of the bakery workers.
“Yes, the thorax,” Caradonna nodded. “But what I mean is, it really is quite simple and fun to do, especially with kids. You can be creative, use different dips and decorations. Anyone can redo this at home if they like. And kids really love ripping the legs off and dipping them in, for instance, a red raspberry jam that looks like blood. It’s great for Halloween.”
Here’s how to make Spider Bread at Home
“It’s very simple,” Caradonna said. “You need just four ingredients.”
Flour, water, yeast and salt.
- Mix together one pound of flour, 32 oz of water, two ounces of yeast and just a hint of salt.
- Wait five minutes for the dough to form. Then shape your baguette into whatever spooky (or traditional) shape you wish.
- Let it rest for 45 minutes at room temperature so the dough can rise.
- Then bake at 500 degrees for 15 minutes.
For those inexperienced in the art of bread baking, Le Petit Croissant offers monthly croissant and bread-making classes, as well as private classes of smaller groups for those wary of gathering with too many people.
“You would be surprised how easy much of it is, once you learn,” Caradonna said.
Caradonna’s tip for bread-baking beginners: Don’t start with sourdough.
“It’s a mistake, because sourdough is actually pretty difficult,” he said. “To do it properly, sourdough takes a full year [for the starter]. When people try to make a sourdough and wait a week, the result will be discouraging. Start with a regular white bread and move forward once you’ve mastered the basics.”
Visit lepetitcroissantgreenville.com for more info.