The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

pain au chocolat

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DiJonCamacho's picture
DiJonCamacho

I see I'm not the only one who was on a quest for the perfect croissant...I'm on the quest for the perfect pain au chocolat i just want the dough to be right. I want my croissant and pain au chocolat to taste like the one from Galaxy Desserts/Williams-Sonoma. I came relatively close and this is the results I have thus far. These tasted great but I have no idea where to get fresh yeast from so I used active dry rapid yeast and I think the fresh yeast is what I'm mixing for them to be absolutely perfect. I love the way the layers looks. I was truly amazed when I popped these out of the oven.

Moris's picture
Moris

Hi Everyone,  Thanks for stopping by !


You may be one of the lucky ones to have recently baked some of my fresh hand made croissants from Frozen.


I've created this blog as an extra resource for you to ensure that your croissants are the flakiest, tastiest & lightest croissants that you've ever had !


Let's get started shall we ?  :)


Step 1:  Remove your frozen croissants from the freezer bag and place on a baking sheet.  Chocolate ones should be placed seam side down.


Frozen Croissants


 Step 2:  Let them raise overnight or for approx 9-10 hours.


For best results, they should be in a slightly warmer than room temp place (75F - 80F)


A trick to achieve this warm & humid atmosphere that will allow the yeast to really work is to add a tin pan at the bottom of your oven and pour some boiling water in it when you first start the rising process.  This added steam & heat will really assist in ensuring best results possible.



Here's an action shot.  Special Thanks to Katie for being a wonderful arm model.  Please Contact us for future bookings :)


 


 


 After 9-10 Hours the croissants should be fully proofed and be double to triple in size and slightly jiggly if you wiggle the pan. 


Proofed Croissants


 


 


These ones actually proofed for 10 hours.  If yours don't look like this, you can try some things to set the mood for the yeast to really start working.


Tip 1:  Give them another steam bath & Let them sit for another hour


Tip 2:  Give them a little blast of heat.  Set your oven for only 200F and let it heat up for one minute (it won't actually get to 200F) for a quick shot of heat.  The point here is just to warm the surrounding air up a little bit and not make it too warm where the butter starts to melt out. 


After this heat blast - Sit back for a while and let the yeast do its thing ;)





Step 4:  Preheat your oven to 400F if using convection or 425F if not convection


Step 5:  Prior to baking brush with egg wash.  This will ensure a nice golden colour.


Egg Wash


 


It really comes down to personal preference here.  If you have no eggs, milk or cream is fine.  No milk ?  Use water, or even nothing at all.


 


My personal favorite is to use just the egg yolk with a little bit of water.  This will make a nice dark & crispy coating - egg yolk is always the prettiest in my opinion.


 


 Tip:  At this point while your oven is heating, you can refridgerate the croissants.  What this does is set the butter even more.  This will ensure optimum flakiness ;~)


Step 6:  Bake for 20 minutes or until you have a deep golden brown.  Don't be afraid to go too dark here.. the darker the better and it sets them nicely. 


Baked


 


These ones baked the full 20 minutes.


 


 


 


 


 


Close upLet Them rest on the pan for about 5 minutes.  The extra time lets the steam from the butter do its final setting.


Best served warm !


ENJOY !!!!


 


Cheers,


Moris.

vincenttalleu's picture
vincenttalleu

Hi there, I had this video on Youtube for a while already but I though I'd share it here.


Video was made in a bakery south of France where I used to work last year. I doesn't really help for home bakers to see this because I got all the tools and machinery (especially pastry break) But I know some are interested to see how we manage to make lots of those in average size bakery.


This bakery has average of 150 croissants 150 pain au chocolat per day which is a bit more than average typical french bakery.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhpxkGB1OyY


DonD's picture
DonD

Does the taste of a favorite food evoke in you indelible memories of time and places where the pleasure it has given you has put a mark on you for life?


For me, a bite into a buttery and flaky croissant and my taste memory takes me back to my childhood in Saigon where every morning, I would look forward to the familiar sound of the horn announcing the arrival of the "Bread Man" riding on his scooter with twin canvas trunks full of goodies straddling the rear seat to deliver fresh baguettes and croissants to the neighborhood houses.


The sweet smell of baking croissants always reminds me of the time when I was a student in Geneva, walking by a bakery at 6:00 am, suddenly being overwhelmed by the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked croissants, summoning enough nerve to knock on the door to convince the owner to sell me a couple before the store was open and walking home in the snowy winter dawn, enjoying the best croissants I ever had in my life.


A croissant with cafe au lait for breakfast always transports me back to my first visit to Paris in the spring, sitting at a sidewalk table at the Cafe "La Rotonde" in the Montparnasse area, sipping a cafe creme and eating a croissant with confiture, watching the morning bustle and hustle of Parisian life just like Hemingway, Picasso, Nijinsky, Gershwin and other luminaries had done at the same spot so many years ago.


I have been baking Croissants and Pains au Chocolat on and off for over 20 years and until recently, my favorite recipe was from Jacques Pepin's "The Art of Cooking". It is a foolproof recipe where you can follow the instructions verbatim and end up with great results.


Last year I discovered the Esther McManus recipe from the PBS "Baking with Julia" TV Series. I have tried this recipe about half a dozen times, tweaking it along the way to suit my taste and baking techniques. It has become my favorite recipe as I find that it comes closest to the Croissants and Pains au Lait that you can only find in Europe.


This past weekend, I made a batch of Croissants and Pain au Chocolat and following are my notes and recommendations:


1- I basically followed the step by step instructions in the video which are excellent. The link is www.pbs.org/juliachild/meet/mcmanus.html


2- It is not mandatory to have the companion book " Baking with Julia" but it is nice to have as a back-up.


3- I use pretty much the same formulation except for the following variations:


    A- I use 1 1/4 cup of milk. I find the little extra milk makes the dough more pliable and easier to work with.


    B- I use 2 1/2 tsp Instant Yeast. I converted the amount into Instant Yeast because I prefer it over Cake or Dry Yeast.


    C- I use only 3-1/2 sticks of butter. More butter would only leak out during baking. I have tried different unsalted butters including imported "Le President", "Plugra"European Style and found that old "Land o' Lakes" works just as well.


    D- I use two 3 inch long "Valrhona" Chocolate Batons for each Pain of Chocolat. I splurge on a box of 350 pieces and they are disappearing fast as they are good to snack on as well.


4- I do not put a hot water pan in the turned off oven while proofing as recommended. I found out the hard way that it melts the butter in the dough.


5- I bake the Croissants in a preheated 425 degrees F oven with steam for 5 mins , then without steam at 400 degrees for 5 more mins and  finally at 375 degrees for 5 mins. I find it gives me better oven spring and a flakier crust than a longer bake with dry heat at 350 degrees.


6- The recipe should yield a dozen each Croissants and Pains au Chocolat.



Dough cut into triangles with a Croissant Cutter, not an essential tool but a nice gadget.



Shaped, proofed and egg washed Croissants ready for the oven.



Baked Croissants cooling on the rack.



The ultimate Continental Breakfast with Croissant and Pain au Chocolat



The mandatory crumb shot.


Happy Baking!


Don

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