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Monday, October 01, 2012

Pain Au Chocolat (Chocolate Croissant)

Have you ever tasted Trader Joe's croissant? I had it during summer holiday at my sister's house, and it was so good. I was falling in love to it without a doubt. Maybe that was the reason I never really wanted to make my own croissant.
I was not really sure how I was brought into the youtube video showing how to make a croissant. But it really surprised me in a way that it involves creating many layers of butter and dough. It needs time and patience. And I felt very challenged.
In my first attempt, the croissant didn't look as neat as I expected. But the taste exceeded my expectation, really. The bread was soft and buttery, crunchy on the outside.
I made 3 batches already. We had it for breakfast almost everyday. That would be 18 pain au chocolat. That's how much I love it.

I was so glad that I found a good recipe with clear step-by-step pictures. It really does help.
The original recipe makes 12 bread. I cut it in half, just so it would be easier for the dough to be managed.

Pain Au Chocolate
(makes 6)


A. For the Dough
1/8 cup warm water
1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast (not instant)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/8 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup cold milk

B. For the Butter Package
- 3/4 cups unsalted butter

C. For Filling and Brushing
- 12 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Egg wash: 1 egg + 2 tbsp milk


A. Prepare the Dough
- Prepare warm (not hot) water in a small bowl. What I did was heating the water inside the microwave for 10 seconds.
- Pour the active dry yeast into the warm water. Stir, and let it stand for 10 minutes until foamy.
- Prepare the dry ingredients into the mixer bowl: flour, salt, and sugar. Stir.
- Pinch pieces of the softened butter into the flour mixture.
- Rub the butter and flour together with your fingers and hands.
- Pour the foamy yeast into the flour, butter mixture.
- Add the cold milk.
- Mix with kneading attachment, until it creates ball and scrapes down the sides.
- Shape the dough into rectangle 3 x 6 inches.
- Cover with plastic wrap and keep it in refrigerator for one hour.

B. Prepare the Butter Package
- Cut the butter sticks into 1/4 cups size, so you will have 3 blocks of butter. Wrap the cold butter inside a plastic wrap. Shaped the wrap to form 2.5 x 5 inches rectangle. 
- Take a rolling pin and start to pound the butter.  Pound the butter on all sides until it just begins to soften a little bit.  You need to soften the butter just a bit to make it easier to roll into the dough.  You DON'T want the butter room temperature. If the butter softens too much, return it to the refrigerator.

C. Wrapping the Butter Package
- After one hour, take out the dough from the refrigerator.
- Roll the dough into 9 x 7 rectangle.
- Place the butter on the right side of the dough.
- Lift and fold the left side up over the butter.
- Pinch the edges together.
- Smooth the edges and try to form a rectangle again.

D. The Beurrage
- Very gently, begin to roll the dough into 9 x 11 inches rectangle.
- Fold the bottom third up to the center.
- Fold the top third down over the lower third of dough.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
 Repeat the beurrage for 2 more times. 

D. Baking
- After the 3rd beurrage, take the dough out from the refrigerator.
- Roll the dough into 9 x 11 inches rectangle.
- Divide the dough into 6 rectangles.
- Brush each rectangle with egg wash.
- Fill only the center third of the dough with chocolate chips.  About 2 tablespoons. Fold down the top third over the chocolate chips. Press down on the dough. Fold the lower third of the dough up over the top third. Press again.
- Place on a baking sheet.  Repeat the process until all of the pieces of dough have been filled with chocolate chips and folded.
- Brush of any excess flour.  Cover with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator for one hour.
- Take the dough out of refrigerator. Brush the tops and sides with egg wash.
- Lightly cover the dough and allow them to rise for 5 hours to overnight. The time depends on how warm your house is.
- Wait until the dough is doubled in size. Then, bake in preheated 375 oven until golden brown for 18-20 minutes.

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