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Cédric Grolet Reveals His Famous Pain Au Chocolat Recipe

Cédric Grolet Reveals His Famous Pain Au Chocolat Recipe

pain au chocolat recipe

Here is Cedric Grolet’s famous pain au chocolat recipe! This recipe is from the star pâtissier’s pastry book called Opera Patisserie. For more French recipes, see my article on the best French pastry books of all time.

Pain au chocolat, literally “chocolate bread”, is one of the best-known French pastries. It’s a type of viennoiserie sweet pastry consisting of a cuboid-shaped piece of yeast-leavened laminated dough, with two pieces of dark chocolate in the center. The pain au chocolat is made of the same layered doughs as a croissant.

Both croissants and pains au chocolat are relatively modern inventions. Indeed, these types of pastries, called “viennoiseries” in French, were introduced in the early 19th century, when August Zang, an Austrian officer, and Ernest Schwarzer, an Austrian aristocrat, founded a Viennese bakery in Paris located at 92, rue de Richelieu. Originally, croissants and pains au chocolat were made from a brioche base but later evolved to incorporate a buttery flaky dough (pâte feuilletée).

Pain au chocolat vs. chocolatine

In France, the name of the pain au chocolat varies by region. And there is an old yet actual argument over what this pastry should be called. This is the famous pain au chocolat-chocolatine linguistic debate of France. Indeed, in central France, southern and Paris, the word pain au chocolat is used, whereas in southwestern France (Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie) the word chocolatine is preferred.

In 2018, there was even a linguistic debate about the official name of chocolate pastries in the French parliament, with MPs debating over whether the word chocolatine should be an official alternative to the better-known pain au chocolat. The effort was unsuccessful, with deputies in the national assembly voting it down.

The origin of the word chocolatine is unclear. Some say that it comes from 15th-century English Aquitaine rulers who would ask for “chocolate in bread” in bakeries, which the French understood as “chocolate in”. Others say the name originated with August Zang —the Austrian baker who sold Viennese croissants at his Parisian bakery in the 1830s— who was baking crescent-shaped, chocolate-filled croissants called schokoladencroissants, which translates into French as chocolatine.

Pain au chocolat or chocolate croissant?

Being French, I’ve never heard the term “chocolate croissant” referring to a pain au chocolat. In France, in addition to the traditional croissant au beurre you’ll find in most bakeries the croissant aux amandes (or “almond croissant”) or the croissant aux abricots also known as Oranais but no “chocolate croissants”. If you’re asking in a French boulangerie a “chocolate croissant” chances are the baker will correct you and says “pain au chocolat”. For us, even if these pastries are both made of the same layered dough (“pâte feuilletée”), croissants and pains au chocolat are radically different. Indeed, if a pain au chocolat is cut in rectangular shapes and filled with two chocolate bars, conversely, croissants are cut in triangles before rolling to create a crescent moon shape.

So without further ado, here is Cédric Grolet’s pain au chocolat recipe! Also, if you need more guidance on how to shape the pains au chocolat you can see how the baker is doing it in this Vogue France video.

pain au chocolat recipe

French Chef Cédric Grolet’s Pain au Chocolat Recipe

The star pâtissier gives us his secret recipe for the world-famous pain au chocolat.
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Resting Time 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 55 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine French
Servings 12 pains au chocolat

Ingredients
  

For the dough:

  • 1 kg flour (T45)
  • 420 g water
  • 50 g eggs
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 45 g fresh baker's yeast
  • 18 g salt
  • 20 g honey
  • 70 g butter
  • 400 g beurre de tourage* see notes below
  • 36 chocolate bars

For the egg wash:

  • 300 g egg yolks
  • 30 g heavy whipping cream

Instructions
 

For the dough:

  • In a mixing bowl with a dough hook, add the flour, water, eggs, fresh yeast, salt, sugar, and honey.
  • Set your mixer to a medium-slow speed and mix the ingredients until you have a homogeneous paste. Then, set your mixer on a higher speed and mix until the paste pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl. Add the "beurre pommade"** (see notes) and knead until the dough comes together. Cover with a damp cloth, then let it rise at room temperature (24 to 25°C/75°to 77°F) for 1 hour.
  • Flatten the dough to knock out the air, then roll it out into a large rectangle according to the width of the beurre de tourage and double its length. Place it in the freezer for 5 minutes, then in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Place the beurre de tourage in the middle of the dough, and fold the dough from each side up and over to cover the butter.
  • Turn the edge of the visible butter to face you. Using a rolling pin, make a double fold: roll from bottom to top until you obtain a thickness of about 7 mm. Draw a small mark in the middle of the dough, fold the top and bottom into the middle, then fold the dough in half again like a wallet. Cover in plastic wrap and place the dough in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  • Finally, make a single fold: roll the dough to 1 cm thick, rolling from bottom to top to form a long rectangle. Fold the top over a third of the dough and then fold the bottom over the top. Immediately roll out the dough to a thickness of 3.5 mm to start cutting and forming the croissants.

Make the egg wash:

  • In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and cream together.

Forming the pains au chocolat:

  • Cut rectangles of 7 cm wide by 20 cm high. Place the rectangle in the direction of the height, place a bar of chocolate almost at the edge, roll about 2 cm, put another bar, roll again for 2 cm, and finally roll the dough until the pain au chocolat is made. Let rise for 1h30 at 26°C/77°F.

Finishing and baking:

  • Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F. 
  • Place the pains au chocolat on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and use a brush to apply a thin layer of egg wash to each pain au chocolat. Bake for 15 min.
  • When nicely golden, remove the croissants and let them cool on a rack.

Notes

*Beurre de tourage, also known as dry butter or “beurre pâtissier”, is a dry, unsalted butter that has 84% butterfat, which is higher than regular unsalted butter with 82% butterfat. It’s a special butter, presented in thin sheets and used in France by pastry chefs when making a dough that requires turning or folding it with butter to create layers.
**Beurre pommade is butter that has been let come to room temperature (20 to 30°C / in the 60s F range) so that it is quite soft, like a face cream. Think of it as butter that has softened to the point that it is spreadable.
Keyword viennoiseries

Et voilà! I hope you enjoyed this pain au chocolat recipe. If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating, letting me know how you liked it. Merci beaucoup and bon appétit!

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