How to Make Pains au Chocolat

How to Make Pains au Chocolat

PAINS AU CHOCOLAT

Makes 20 pains au chocolat

  • Croissant Dough
  • 40 chocolate baking sticks,
  • (3 inches by ½ inch thick)
  • Egg Wash

 

For this recipe, we use Cacao Barry 44% chocolate baking sticks.

Spray three sheet pans with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper.

Lightly flour the work surface. Remove one piece of dough from the freezer and position it on the work surface with a short end toward you; transfer the second piece of dough to the refrigerator. Roll the dough out to a rectangle about 19 by 9 inches.

Turn the dough so a long side is facing you and trim it to a rectangle 17½ by 8 inches.

Cut the dough lengthwise in half, then cut each half into five 4-by-3 ½-inch rectangles.

Set a chocolate baking stick H inch up from the bottom of each rectangle. Turn the bottom edge up and over to cover the baking stick. Set a second baking stick next to the folded dough. Brush the top of the dough with egg wash, roll the dough over the second stick, and continue to roll, finishing with the seam on the bottom. Set on one of the sheet pans. Repeat with the remaining 9 dough rectangles, spacing them evenly on the sheet pans.

Remove the second piece of dough from the refrigerator and, if necessary, let sit at room temperature until warmed enough to roll, then repeat to make 10 more pains au chocolat.

Brush the pains au chocolat with egg wash. Cover the pans with plastic tubs and or cardboard boxes and let proof for about 2 hours. When the dough is delicately pressed with a finger, the impression should remain.

Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (convection or standard; see Note).

Brush the pains au chocolat again with egg wash. If using a convection oven, reduce the heat to 325°F. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in a convection oven, 35 to 40 minutes in a standard oven, rotating the pans once halfway through baking and separating the pains if they are touching, until the tops are a rich golden brown and no portions, particularly between the layers, look undercooked. Set the pans on a rack and cool completely.

The pains au chocolat are best the day they are baked, but they can be wrapped individually in a few layers of plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 month.

Note on Baking the Pains au Chocolat: If you have two ovens, now is the time to use both. If not, move the third sheet pan, still covered, to a cooler spot in the kitchen while the others bake. Then, if baking in a convection oven, return the oven to 350°F before baking.

STEP 2: CROISSANT DOUGH

 

Poolish

  • ½ cup + 3 tabespoons + 1 teaspoon (100 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/32 teaspoon or a pinch (0.1 gram) instant yeast
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons + 2 ½ teaspoons (100 grams) water at 75°F/23.8°C
  • 11.6 ounces (330 grams) European-style unsalted butter (in one piece)

 

Dough

  • 3 ½ cups + 1 tablespoon + ¼ teaspoon (500 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons + ¼ teaspoon (75 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (10 grams) instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) diastatic malt powder
  • ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon + 1 ¾ teaspoons (200 grams) water at 75°F/23.8°C
  • 3.5 ounces (100 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 15 rams kosher salt

 

When making croissant dough, you want to make sure that the butter and the dough are chilled and are the same consistency so that the layers of dough and butter will remain distinct. That’s why we freeze this dough between turns, to make sure it is thoroughly chilled.

Because croissant dough is yeasted, however, it’s handled a little differently from puff pastry. With puff dough, the only leavening comes from the layering, and so we give it five turns to get those many hundreds of layers (some people give it six turns). Since croissant dough is also leavened by the yeast, we don’t need as many layers and so only give it three turns. After the first turn, the butter will no longer be visible. And keep in mind that as soon as the dough is warm enough to be rolled, the yeast will begin to release gas, so it’s important to work quickly.

You’ll need a quarter sheet pan.

For the poolish: Combine the flour and yeast in a medium bowl and mix with your fingers. Pour in the water and mix until thoroughly combined; the mixture should have the consistency of pancake batter.

Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 12 to 15 hours. The mixture will be bubbly, but the best indication that it is ready are lines on the surface that look like cracks that are beginning to fall in at the center, as the yeast exhausts its food supply.

For the butter block: Place a piece of parchment paper on the work surface. Center the butter on the paper. Top with a second piece of parchment paper and pound the top of the butter from left to right with a rolling pin to begin to flatten it. The parchment paper will be stuck to the butter: lift off the top piece and place it butter side up on the work surface. Flip the butter over onto the parchment, turning it 90 degrees. Top with the second piece of parchment paper. Continue to flatten the butter as before until you have a 6 ¾-by-7 ½-inch rectangle. Wrap tightly in the parchment paper and refrigerate.

For the dough: Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray.

Combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and malt powder in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and give it a quick mix on the lowest setting to distribute all of the ingredients evenly.

Pour about half the water around the edges of the bowl of poolish to help release the poolish, then add the contents of the bowl, along with the water (reserving 50 grams/3½ tablespoons), to the mixer. Add the butter and mix on low speed for 2 minutes to moisten the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all the flour has been incorporated.

Sprinkle the salt over the top and mix on low speed for 2 minutes to dissolve the salt. If the mixture feels at all dry, add the reserved water in very small amounts as needed. Continue to mix on low speed for

20 minutes.

Run a bowl scraper around the sides and bottom of the bowl to release the dough and turn it out onto the work surface. Stretch the left side of the dough outward and fold it over the center of the dough, then stretch and fold the right side over to the opposite side, as if you were folding a letter. Repeat the process, working from the bottom and then the top. Turn the dough over, lift it up with a bench scraper, and place it seam side down in the prepared bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a dish towel and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Line the quarter sheet pan with parchment paper. Uncover the dough, run the bowl scraper around the sides and bottom of the bowl to release the dough, and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, disturbing the structure as little as possible. Gently but firmly pat the dough into a rectangle about 10 by 7 ½ inches, pressing any large gas bubbles to the edges and then out of the dough. Transfer to the sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 20 minutes.

To encase (lock in) the butter block and roll the dough: Lightly flour the work surface and a heavy rolling pin. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and lightly dust the top with flour. Roll the dough outward from the center, rotating it frequently and flipping and fluffing it from time to time, adding just enough flour to the work surface, dough, and/or pin to prevent sticking, until you have a 16-by-7 ½ -by-1/2-inch-thick rectangle.

Lay the block of butter across the center of the dough. Stretch and fold over the two longer sides so they meet in the center and pinch together to seal. There should be no exposed butter at the top of the block, but you will see the butter on the sides.

 

FOR TURN 1

 

Using the rolling pin, press down firmly on the dough across the seam from one side to the other to expand the dough. Turn the dough so a short end faces you. Roll to expand the length of the dough, flipping, fluffing, and turning the dough over and adding flour only as needed, until you have a rectangle approximately 22 by 9 inches and 3/8 inch thick.

Fold the bottom third of the dough up as if you were folding a letter. Fold the top third down to cover the bottom third. Turn the block 90 degrees so the dough resembles a book, with the opening on the right. You will continue this pattern with each roll, and keeping the opening on the right will help you remember how to position the dough. You have completed your first turn; gently press a finger into a corner to mark it. Return to the sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 20 minutes or until the dough has stiffened but is not hard.

FOR TURN 2

 

Lightly dust the work surface with flour. Place the dough on the work surface with the opening on the right. It is important to work with the dough as quickly as possible, but not at the risk of exposing the butter. Pressing on the dough will warm the butter; if it is too cold, it will shatter rather than spread as you roll it. Expand the dough by pressing down firmly with the rolling pin, working up the length of the dough. If the dough cracks at all along the edges, stop and let it warm slightly at room temperature. Then roll out the dough as you did before to a 22-by-9-by-3/8-inch-thick rectangle and repeat the folding. Turn the block 90 degrees, so the opening is on the right. You have completed the second turn; gently press two fingers into a corner to mark the dough. Return to the sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 20 minutes, or until the dough has stiffened but is not hard.

 

FOR TURN 3

Repeat all of the steps for turn 2 and mark the dough with three fingerprints.

To finish the dough: Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and lightly dust the work surface with flour. Place the dough on the work surface with the opening on the right.

It is especially critical at this stage that the dough remain cold; freeze as needed. Lightly dust the top of the dough and roll it outward from the center, flipping, fluffing, and rotating the dough and turning it over, adding only enough flour to the work surface, dough, and/or pin as necessary to prevent sticking. Roll the dough out to 24 by 9 inches.

Cut the dough crosswise in half, making two 12-by-9-inch rectangles. Stack on the sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper between them, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 20 minutes, or until the dough has stiffened but is not hard. The dough is now ready to be used.

 

Excerpted from Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel (Artisian Books). Copyright © 2012