Pain au chocolat was one of my family’s favorite pastries when we visited Paris last month. Learn to make your own at home with this recipe!
Ah… Paris. What a beautiful city. My family and I were lucky to visit there this month during spring break. When others got word of our trip, they had one favorite to ask of us: Eat some pain au chocolat for me.
Yes, I’ve had pain au chocolat, and I’ve even tried a cheater’s version. But what I’ve eaten to date cannot compare to the real thing in Paris. This pastry was the first thing we bought when we entered our first patisserie in Paris, . As we ate through our way in Paris, we bought this chocolate-filled croissant at almost every pastry store.
Addie was a huge fan of this pastry. She was good at eating it too – flakes of buttery crust would get EVERYWHERE. We’d find flakes in her hair, on her clothes, all over the floor and sometimes on her socks. All these buttery flakes meant that it was a well-made croissant.
After returning home from Paris, I made it a point to recreate it at home. I spent several days making and laminating the dough. If you try this recipe, make sure you set aside a few days to create this. While most of the time is spent waiting for the dough to chill, you’ll want to ensure you have 10-15 minutes set aside each day to fold and roll out the dough.
While I loved the pain au chocolat in Paris, I always wanted more chocolate. You can always scale back on the chocolate, but if you do, I’m not sure we can be friends. Enjoy this Parisian favorite!
Pain au chocolat
- 1 and 1/2 cups water can substitute with milk
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour divided
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast alternatively, you can use active dry yeast. You'll want to mix this with the water/milk and make sure the liquid is warm. Allow the mixture to sit for 5-10 minutes or until frothy.
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 3 sticks unsalted butter cold
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped (you can adjust the amount based on how much chocolate you want)
- 1 egg for glaze
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment or in a large bowl if mixing by hand (or using a handheld mixer), whisk together the water, sugar, 2 cups of the flour, yeast, salt and softened butter on medium speed.
- Add the remaining flour until a dough ball forms. Do not over mix this.
- Transfer the dough to a well-greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise for about an hour until the dough has doubled. Then transfer your bowl to the refrigerator and allow it to chill for 8-16 hours.
- Just before you are ready to take the bowl out of the refrigerator, you'll need to make a square of butter. Take your cold butter, cut each in half lengthwise, and arrange on a sheet of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Sprinkle the top of the butter with a little bit of flour and cover with another sheet or plastic wrap or waxed paper. Using a rolling pin, roll the butter into an approximate 8"x8" square.
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator and roll it into a 12"x12" square. Place the butter at a diagonal in the middle of your dough. It will look like a diamond inside a square. Fold the dough into the middle of the diamond and pinch the seams as best you can.
- Roll the dough into a 10"x20" rectangle. You'll now need to fold the dough into thirds like a business letter. Fold one third towards the center and then the other third towards the center. Rotate the dough by 90 degrees, roll the dough to a 10"x20" rectangle again and do the business letter fold once more.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Then repeat the process - roll it out to a 10"x20" rectangle, do the business fold, turn it by 90 degrees, roll it out to a 10"x20" rectangle and do another business fold. Wrap the dough once more and chill in your refrigerator for another 8-16 hours.
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator and cut it in half. Put half of it back into the refrigerator. Roll out one half of the dough into a 8"x24" rectangle. Then cut it into eight 4"x6" rectangles.
- Put the chopped chocolate at the short end of one of the rectangles. Roll the dough up into a tube and pinch the seams to seal the dough shut. Gently flatten the tops of the dough and allow it to rise for about an hour or until doubled. Repeat with the remaining dough rectangles and with the remaining dough in the refrigerator.
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Brush the tops of the pastries with your egg wash. Bake in your preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.
- Allow the pastries to cool before serving.