29 October 2013

Pain au Chocolat

I tried my hand at pain au chocolat the other day. Pain au chocolat is by far my favorite treat to get from the bakery. And I don't say that without any tried and true knowledge. When we first moved to France, I made a personal goal to try one new thing every time we went to a boulangerie (bakery). And Why not? What would living in France be if I didn't try and master every pain, every baguette, every puffed pastry delight overstuffed with fresh cream? That is living the French Dream, my friends. Anyway, John was unaware of this goal of mine so it made him extra perturbed that we spent more than 80 centimes (roughly $1) every visit. He called me out on it last week when we left with a fresh loaf of bread and a mini loaf of chocolate. Just chocolate. That was the only ingredient I could identify. He asked and pleaded "Why, WHY, why would someone who scolds me for eating sour patch kids and skittles and fanta rationalize buying a loaf of chocolate?" Mind you, the loaf was only like the size of a tonka truck toy.

Anyway, he clearly doesn't get it. Yes I'm concerned with health and hope to have a career in nutrition one day but a happy normal living breathing person such as myself can indulge once in a while in one of God's greatest gifts to wo(men): BAKED GOODS. John prefers tonka trunks and ducks over baked goods. So he was mad, like this:

an actual angry picture of both of us at le jet d'eau in which we were both actually angry at life and each other
In the end, I saw that it bothered him just a touch and realized that I could just make them at home. My first recipe was pain au chocolat—so far the one pastry that never fails to please.

The day I decided to make these, I woke up late in the morning, which was a pretty hefty consequence. I had all but two ingredients: milk and chocolate. John literally sprinted to the market before it closed at noon:15, bought the ingredients, and walked home. The man (is happy to do and) will do just about anything for me. Except buy me a pain au chocolat from the bakery, which is why we are in this mess in the first place . . . anyway . . . I love him so much.


Pain au chocolat is mostly butter with some dough and chocolate.

500 g flour (about 4 cups)
1/4 tsp. salt
40 g sugar (about 1 heaping Tbsp.)
10 g yeast (about 1 tsp.)
28 cl milk (about 1 overflowing cup)
1 egg

I recommend watching this video for precise instructions. It is in French; however, with a g/kg scale you can measure the ingredients. And as for the method, watch it 20 times like I did. 

After refrigerating the dough overnight or for 8 hours at least, roll out into a thin circle.

Add 250 grams/2 cups of butter

Slap it on.

Fold top down, bottom up, then sides in.
Roll into a long flat rectangle.

Fold again top down, bottom up.
Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

If you don't have a rolling pin, don't even think about trying to make these.
You have to roll, fold, wrap, refrigerate like 7 times.

Flour surface EVERY TIME you roll.

After rolling into a thin long rectangle,
fold again top down, bottom up.

Wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Roll and fold again like as before.
Remember to flour the surface.
This time, refrigerate for one hour.
Tip: refrigerate your rolling pin as well to help keep dough cold while rolling.

Finally, the dough is ready.
Cut in half. Prepare to roll.

It's hard to see, but you should be able to see the fine lines that make up the layers of folds.
The butter and the layers is what makes this so flaky.
Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF.
Roll dough once again into a long thin rectangle, about 6" wide (or a little less)

Chocolate time.
Use a bar of chocolate that is about 3" wide.
Cut bar in 3" by 1/2" rows. 
Place two rows on dough about 2-3" apart.
Roll dough right to left.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 15 minutes.

Once the oven is preheated, whisk one egg in a bowl.
Brush the pains with the egg.
Put them in the oven and bake for 15–20 minutes.

Watch the butter ooze out.

So flaky, buttery, and chocolatey.

John even made croissants with the extra dough.
Why was there extra dough?
Because I don't understand European baking measurements!
Solution: ALWAYS WEIGH ingredients when you don't have the proper measuring utensils.

Although it was fun and all, I don't know if it is an economical compromise. Considering the time and cost of those ingredients, it is a much easier and cheaper to buy one from the bakery.
I literally had to babysit the dough for hours but it made the experience all the more endearing. I'm glad I tried it. I'm sure I will again.

John: "I think it needs more butter."


Brooke said...

Jessica, you're adorable and I love you and John and your French adventure.

Also, WOW, I want to eat this all the time. In all of its buttery chocolately glory.

meg said...

those actually look so good!