Croissants are some of the most decadent pastries in the world, and everyone is captivated by the buttery dough with its countless paper-thin layers. It’s all these layers that are the secret to the perfect croissant, which is produced by rolling and folding the dough as well as lubricating it repeatedly. When croissants are baked in the oven, the water and butter form steam, causing the dough to grow and reveal the coveted layers.
Instead of shaping the dough into classic crescents, you can also choose to cut them into rectangles and fill them with chocolate. Then you have baked Pain au Chocolate, which is another French delicacy.
When working with them, it is important to pay attention to the temperature of the dough and butter. The butter should be cold enough to not melt into the dough, but warm enough to be smooth. The perfect temperature of the butter is about 15 ° C, which is halfway between refrigerator and room temperature. The best environment for making puff pastry is cool and dry.
It is also important to remember to follow the instructions for how many times the dough should be folded, turned and rolled. If you do it too few times, the dough will not get airy, and if you do it too many times you risk butter melting into the dough.
Although puff pastry is complicated to make, it is not at all impossible for a home cook to master that art! Read the recipe carefully before you begin, so that you know the many steps and can succeed with your puff pastry.
You need to use a food processor for this recipe.
475 g wheat flour + extra for baking
50 g of sugar
7 g dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
4 dl milk + extra for brushing
45 g butter, room temperature
225 g butter, cold
1 egg yolk
For Pain au Chocolat
170 g dark chocolate, cut into 12 pieces
Mix flour, sugar, dry yeast and salt in the mixing bowl with the accompanying dough hook. Add milk and room-temperature butter and stir for about 5 minutes until the dough is firm and moist. Put the dough in a floured bowl and sprinkle some flour on top of the dough. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours.
Fold the dough over itself a few times. Put the dough back in the bowl and set in the refrigerator overnight
Take the cold butter out of the package and put it in a freezer bag or a zip-closed bag of at least 4 liters. Put the bag of butter on the table and use a rolling pin to flatten the butter. It should measure 15×20 cm, be shaped like a rectangle and about 6 millimeters in thickness. Wrap the rectangle in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
Place the dough on a floured table and roll it out as a 20×30 cm rectangle. Place the dough so that the short side faces you. Place the cold butter on one end of the dough to cover half. Fold the dough over the butter and squeeze the ends together so that the butter is enclosed. Turn the dough 90 degrees so that the short side faces you again and roll out the dough again so that it measures 20×30 cm. First fold the top third towards the middle and then the bottom third over (like folding a business letter). Roll out again to a 20×30 cm rectangle. Wrap the rectangle in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Repeat the letter fold and roll out to a rectangle twice more. Wrap the rectangle in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour
Roll out again to a rectangle of 25×60 cm. Use a sharp knife or pizza knife to cut the dough into 6 rectangles of 10×25 cm each. The next step is deciding whether to bake croissants or Pain au Chocolate.
Croissants: Cut each rectangle diagonally to form two triangles. It gives 12 triangles in total. Take a triangle and place it in front of you so that the wide end faces you. Roll the wide end forward to form a classic croissant shape. Place it on a baking sheet with baking paper so that the dough is facing down. Do the same with the remaining triangles.
Pain au Chocolat: Cut each rectangle in the middle to get 2 rectangles of 10×12.5 centimeters. Place a piece of chocolate on the short end of the dough and roll the dough to enclose the chocolate. Place it on a baking sheet with baking paper so that the dough is facing down. Do the same with the remaining rectangles.
Whisk together egg yolk and 1 tablespoon milk in a small bowl. Brush croissants / Pain au Chocolat with the egg mixture. Place the baking sheet in a warm place and allow to rise for at least 1 hour. They should ferment to double size. Cover the egg mixture with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 190 ° C
Brush your croissants / Pain au Chocolat again with the egg mixture. Bake them for 15-18 minutes until golden.