Photo Credit: Kenneth Yee, painter
First, today is quite a milestone for My Morning Chocolate – this is the 100th post! I’m sending out a big thanks to you for reading this blog at any point over the last nine months. One of the things we bloggers live for is our blog’s stats – you want to know that you’re talking to someone out there, after all – and the increasing views have been a great push to keep me going. So thank you!
I’ve been aware of my approaching 100th post for a while, and, thus, have had plenty of time to plan what to write for the big day. When I was in my mid-20s, I wanted to open a bakery. and I spent a lot of time researching how to do that. This led me a website where a commenter said a good bakery absolutely had to have a good pain au chocolat. This was just one person’s two cents, but the yeast was planted in my baking brain: I would make pain au chocolat someday.
So I finally made them, spending the whole day rolling, resting, refrigerating, filling, and rolling the dough. My pain au chocolat were on the small side, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt more proud of myself!
To make your own, print Jacques Torres’ pain au chocolat recipe, read it, and then follow along with this photo essay (of sorts) that will take you through the process.
Pain Au Chocolat
Make the dough according to the recipe’s instructions. I couldn’t find fresh yeast – even the bread maker at my farmers market wasn’t sure where he bought it – so I substituted 6 3/4 tsp dry yeast. That’s a strip of three yeast packets, which is sold in most grocery stores. Your yeast will sit in cold water and, when it’s ready, will be bubbly like this:
After you mix your dough, it will look like this:
After your dough rests in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, it is ready for its first roll. You’ll notice that the recipe says you should roll the dough into an 8 by 15-inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Although I did use a long meter stick, my dough was rounded, too short, and too long in some spots. I wouldn’t worry to much about it. You aren’t selling these to anyone. Once rolled, wrap your dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Spread the Butter
Pain au chocolat contains a ton of butter, of course. 1 cup plus 2 tbsp to be exact. But I never realized how much this really is until I hit this stage and spread the softened butter on the dough. I think my arteries closed a little just looking at all that butter. Spread it on 2/3 of your dough and you’ll see.
Fold the Dough and Roll It Out Again
Now you will fold the dough like a letter, and then roll it out again into a 10 by 30-inch rectangle. The danger here is that your butter might start melting before you can finish rolling out the dough. When this happened to me, I put the dough back in the refrigerator for a while and then re-rolled it. Once rolled, fold each end of the dough to the center (but do not overlap them), then fold the dough in half and wrap it in plastic wrap to refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (Tip for Rolling: Hold the dough firmly on one side, and use your other hand to roll the dough in the opposite direction. I found this helped me roll the dough faster.)
One more rolling/resting stage
After the dough has refrigerated, it will go through one more rolling/refrigeration stage. Roll the dough into another 10 by 30-inch rectangle and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll and Cut the Pain Au Chocolat
I know, this is a lot of rolling right? But this is the last one. Roll out your dough one more time. (The recipe says it should be a 10 by 36-inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.) Then cut the dough into 3 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch rectangles. Again, try to get as close as you can, but I wouldn’t worry if your measurements are slightly off.
Add the Chocolate and Roll Them Up
We’ve made it to the chocolate stage! Adding the chocolate is a process, so follow along by looking at the middle square in the pictures below:
Rising and Egg Wash
The filled and rolled pain au chocolat will then rest, covered in plastic wrap, for 1 1/2 to 3 hours, until “they appear light and full of air.” (I’m not sure mine rose as much as they should have, but I moved forward anyway.) After the rising stage, brush the pain au chocolat with egg wash (see the recipe). Hang in there, the buttery pain au chocolat are almost ready…
Now you can relax because your pastries are home-free. After hours of refrigerating, rolling, rising, filling, and resting, the pain au chocolat only take about 10 minutes to bake. They’re ready when they’re golden brown. After all this work, the good news is you should have pain au chocolat all week. This recipe makes 20 of them.
Enjoy, and once again, thank you for reading. Your support keeps My Morning Chocolate (and me) going!