Pain Au Chocolat
Light, flaky and chocolately. This pain au chocolat recipe will give you the taste of France in your own kitchen.
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Makes: 15 Pain au Chocolat
  • 400 g (14 oz) strong white flour
  • 250 g (8 oz) unsalted butter
  • 250 ml (8 fl oz) milk
  • 200 g (7 oz) plain chocolate (55% cocoa solids)
  • 4 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 tsp dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg (optional)
For the glaze
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp milk
  1. Add the yeast to the milk, stir and leave for 10 minutes for the yeast to activate.
  2. Sieve the flour into a bowl and add the sugar and salt. Mix well then make a well in the centre. Add the milk/yeast and the egg. Mix well to form a smooth and sticky dough.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 3-4 minutes, adding a little more flour if required..
  4. Place the dough in a lightly-greased bowl, cover and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size.
  5. Mark a rectangle 30 cm x 12 cm (12" x 5") on a piece of greaseproof or baking paper. Place the block of butter in the centre then cover with a piece of plastic film.
  6. Roll the butter out to the size of the rectangle, trimming if necessary. Place the butter in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to harden.
  7. Turn the risen dough out onto a floured surface, knock it back and roll it out to about 45 cm x 15 cm (18" x 6").
  8. Peel off the layer of plastic film from the butter and turn the butter onto the bottom two-thirds of the dough. Remove the paper, making sure there is a 1cm (½") border between the butter and the edge of the dough.
  9. Turn the top third of the dough over the butter, then turn the bottom third over the top third. Pinch the edges of the dough together.
  10. Give the dough a quarter turn and roll out to 45 cm x 15 cm (18" x 6") once more. Turn the top third of the dough over the butter, then turn the bottom third over the top third. Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to de-soften the butter.
  11. Take the dough out of the bag and put it on the lightly floured work surface with the short end towards you . Roll the dough out to 45 cm x 15 cm (18" x 6"). Fold up one-third of the dough and then fold the top third down on top to make a neat square. Put the dough back into the plastic bag and chill for another 30 minutes. Repeat this stage once more, then leave the dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or overnight, to rest.
  12. Put the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to a rectangle a little more than 45 cm x 36 cm (18" x 13½"). Trim the edges to neaten them.
  13. Cut the dough into 15 rectangles of 12 cm x 9 cm (4½" x 3½").
  14. For each rectangle place about 1 tbsp of chocolate at one end of the short side of the rectangle. Fold the dough over into the middle. Place about 1 tbsp of chocolate at the other end and fold the dough into the middle. Turn the dough over and place on a lightly-greased baking tray.
  15. Put the tray inside a clean plastic bag and leave the pain au chocolat to rise at room temperature for around an hour.
  16. Prepare the glaze by whisking together the egg yolk and the milk. Brush the top and sides of the pain au chocolat with the glaze.
  17. Bake at 180°C/360°F fan oven, 200°C/400°F conventional oven for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
  18. Leave on a wire rack to cool.
Pain au chocolat will keep for 2-3 days in a sealed container, so don't bake more than you think you can eat!

The key to success in this recipe is keeping the layered dough cool so that the butter does not melt into the dough. The dough can be frozen and kept for up to one month. Simply defrost in the fridge overnight before rolling out.

The uncooked pain au chocolat can also be frozen. Place a tray of freshly-prepared pain au chocolat in a large plastic bag and place in the freezer for around 2 hours. Remove from the freezer and brush with the glaze before popping back in the freezer uncovered for a further 45-60 minutes. The frozen pain au chocolat can then be placed in a plastic bag or container for storage in the freezer.

To use the frozen pain au chocolat place as many as you need on a lightly-greased baking tray, place in a plastic bag and leave to defrost and rise for several hours before baking as normal. The best time to bring them out of the freezer is last thing at night so that they are ready for baking first thing in the morning!