Pain au Chocolat

I have wanted to make laminated dough since at least 2019. It has been my elusive recipe ingredient, mostly because I was scared of the process. This week is Spring Break (I am a professor if you just happened to click on this post). I decided it was THE week to try a several day process recipe. It was worth it. 🙂

Let’s start at the beginning of the recipe. I am not going to pretend this is mine- when the good people at King Arthur Flour make a recipe for me I jump at it. I am simply walking through the process via pictures.

The Butter Layer(s)

So, laminated dough makes the flaky layers by having a sheet of butter folded into the dough, then rolled out several times until there are 27 layers. I was told by a friend in Montana (hi, Kyle!) to ONLY use European butter because of the water content. And to measure with a scale, not cups. I followed these directions.

The left picture shows the process of taking 340g of European Butter and rolling it into an 8×8 sheet. This was rolled out using a folded square of parchment that I measured to be 8×8 in advance*. This made it easy-peasy.

Next, the 8×8 butter goes on top of a 12×12 square of dough. It wasn’t perfect because the edges get crimped/pinched to make sure the butter is properly ensconced.

I used to eat butter as a kid. Like JUST butter. I did not bite that square of butter, but man it was enticing. Knowing it was unsalted butter helped. That just tastes like cold smush.

Butter Layers, Assemble! (2 Rounds)

Round 1: After the 8×8 square of butter was wrapped in a dough blanket, it was rolled to an 8×20 rectangle and folded like a book. Then I rotated it 90 degrees, did the same process again, and wrapped it in the plastic to chill in the fridge for an hour.

Round 2: After 60 minutes I did the fold two more times. Then the little bebe sat in the fridge for 8 hours.

LAMINATION!

After 8 LONG hours I was able to cut this bad boy in half to check the lamination out. I was not disappointed.

I was shocked at how hard it was to roll this dough out. I didn’t wear my Garmin because I don’t wear jewelry/accessories on my hands when baking. I almost wish I did because it would have been fun to see my heart rate. Picture that part in 300 where all the shields go up to block the arrows. That is how it felt. My rolling pin was the arrows and the dough was all “come at me, bro.”

After the dough was FINALLY rolled out, this was where the dough becomes lil chocolate sleeping bags. Again, the King knows how this works- tis his recipe. So I am just showing the broad strokes in pictures. You’ll see I opted to put two chocolate batons (I used baking chocolate because I did not have proper batons) and rolled them toward each other to make a little heart. This was then placed seam down and squished slightly on top. I probably should have tried a few both ways, but there was the EXACT amount of chocolate to do two batons so it felt like Prue was telling me to go for it.

Time to Shine, French Chocolate-Filled Sleeping Bags!

These lil bebes rose covered for about an hour, then were egg washed and baked for 17 minutes. That was not enough time, as you can see:

I did the next batch for 20 (and added 3 mins to this bebe’s cookin pals). Perfection!

Voilà

Thanks for following along! The next recipe I am attempting is a cream puff because my boss bought me Sanders chocolate sauce and this MUST happen! Instead of the usual logo, I’m signing off proudly showing off this Paul Hollywood lamination (I assume I did not get a handshake because of COVID concerns).

XO,

*I mentioned that I learned to roll the 8×8 sheet of butter into pre-measured parchment… that was from this video. It is helpful, but as a former third grade teacher I found it hard to watch the very precise pastry chef try to involve a child. He was asking the kid to be VERY precise and modeled first. Then later in the video he mocked the kid for measuring. Make up your mind, pastry man. But also, thanks for the tip.

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