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Before starting this Pain au Chocolat recipe, make sure you have organised all the necessary ingredients.
Tip the flour in the stand mixer recipient.
Add the yeast on one side of the bowl.
On the other side, add the salt...
... and castor sugar.
The sugar and salt should not come into direct contact with the yeast, as it would lose its rising properties.
Add the warm milk (30°C) and the butter at room temperature.
Knead the ingredients with the dough hook...
... for about 10 minutes at medium speed.
Important: If you're using a home mixer such as Kitchenaid, stay close to the mixer while kneading dough, in case it moves around on your kitchen worktop. You won't have this problem if you're using a professional mixer.
Stop the mixer and lift the motor unit.
Remove the dough stuck on the hook.
Divide the dough into two balls weighing 900 grams each.
Place the dough balls into two separate bowls...
... then cover the surface of the dough with cling film.
Let prove at 25/30°C for 45 minutes. I did this operation in a warm oven. I recommend using a digital thermometer with probe to monitor the temperature inside the oven.
When the dough has risen, remove the cling film.
Knock the dough back with your hand.
Using your hands, spread each dough ball into a rectangle...
... and transfer onto a baking sheet lined with cling film.
Wrap it in cling film...
... and store in the freezer for 45 minutes.
After 20 minutes, flip the dough rectangle and freeze for a further 25 minutes.
Folding the dough: Take the dough out of the freezer. The dough should now be firm.
Remove the cling film...
... and roll out the dough lengthwise.
Soften the dry butter with the rolling pin.
Give the dough a quarter-turn...
... and arrange the butter in the centre of the strip of dough. The width of the exposed dough parts should equal the width of the butter piece in the centre.
Fold both sides over the butter. Start with the left side (it should cover half of the butter).
Fold the right side over. Both edges should meet in the centre.
Fold the dough rectangle in half, lengthwise.
The first part of the folding operation is now done.
Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Take the dough of the fridge and remove the cling film. Place the dough on a floured surface.
Roll out the dough lengthwise...
... to create a long trip.
Give the dough a quarter-turn (anticlockwise). Fold the dough into thirds, starting with the right side, then the left side.
Wrap the dough rectangle with cling film...
... and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
For the shapes: Place the dough on a floured surface.
Roll it out to a large rectangle, to a thickness of 4mm.
Ideally, the dimensions of the dough should be 50 x 45cm.
Cut the rectangle into three strips, each to a width of 15cm, using a ruler.
Cut each strip into small rectangles...
... to dimensions of 8.5 x 15cm. When all the rectangles have been drawn...
... cut the shapes with a sharp knife, working in a vertical motion.
Slide the knife blade to cut the dough to ensure you do not damage the laminated layers.
Place two chocolate baking sticks on each dough rectangle.
Place one stick 2cm from one edge and a second stick 3cm from the other edge.
The dough rectangles should look like this.
Roll the dough. Wrap the chocolate stick at the top...
... then roll towards the bottom...
... making sure the roll is not tight.
Cover the second chocolate stick at the bottom...
... then finish rolling with the seam down. Flatten the rolls by pressing them gently with your hand. This ensures they remain stable and don't unroll during baking. Up to this stage, this recipe can be prepared in advance and stored in the freezer for several weeks. Whenever you would like to enjoy fresh croissants, simply take them out of the freezer and follow the method below, bearing in mind that the proofing time, shown in step 59, will take longer (about 3 hours).
Arrange the pain au chocolat on a Silpat silicone mat, placed on top of a Silichef baking sheet. Glaze the rolls with a beaten egg yolk.
Leave to prove at a temperature that doesn't exceed 25°C (to prevent the butter from melting), for about 2 hours. If you prepared your chocolate croissants in advance, I recommend taking them out of the freezer at night, then transfer them on a baking sheet and leave them to rise at room temperature overnight. Simply glaze and bake your pains au chocolat in the morning to enjoy them hot for breakfast!
When the rolls have risen...
... brush them again with egg wash. It is essential to brush the pastries with egg yolk twice. The first glaze will be absorbed during proofing, whereas the second glaze will give the pastries a beautiful golden finish.
Bake in a fan-assisted oven at 170°C (gas 3)...
... for 20 minutes. When cooked, remove from the oven...
... and leave to cool before serving.
Enjoy these fresh pain au chocolat for a delicious breakfast!