Monday 20 August 2012

Croissants and Pains au Chocolat

Do you ever run 10 kilometres then come home and eat a brownie? Do you ever unexpectedly bump into your arch nemesis from high school (you know, the popular, pretty one) and wish you'd applied lip gloss and mascara before you went out? Do you ever lose your phone, then look in the fridge and find it? Do you ever spend three days making a breakfast pastry just for fun? If the answer to any of these question is yes, then clearly, we should hang-out together.

Croissants and Pains au Chocolat
slightly adapted from Paul Allam and David McGuinness's Bourke Street Bakery
Makes 20 portions (you can make all croissants, all pains au chocolat or a mixture of both like I did)

For the Ferment:
100g baker's flour
55 ml full-cream milk
5g brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried instant yeast
20 g unsalted butter, softened

For the Dough:
935 g baker's flour
600 ml full-cream milk
60g soft brown sugar
3 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried instant yeast
500g unsalted butter, for laminating the dough (LOTS of butter. Don't freak out too much, by the time you've rolled and folded this dough three times, you'll have already burnt off the calories... that's my theory.)

For the Egg Wash:
1 egg
100ml  milk
a pinch of salt

100g dark chocolate (or as much as needed) to make Pan au Chocolate - optional

Make the Ferment:
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until it becomes a ball. Knead it for about 10 minutes until becomes elastic and smooth. If using electric mixer, using dough hook and mix on low speed for 3 minutes.

Put the ferment in a bowl covered with plastic bag and leave at room temperature for 2 hours to ferment. After, store the pre-ferment in the fridge overnight (this can be kept for few days in the fridge).

Make the Dough:
Divide the ferment into 8-10 small pieces, mix it together with all other ingredients, except butter, in a mixing bowl until a dough ball is formed.

Transfer the dough ball to a bench and knead for 10 - 15 minutes (by hand) until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, and doesn't tear when stretched gently. If using electric mixer, using dough hook, mix on low speed for 3 -4 minutes, followed by high speed for another 2 minutes.

Put the dough in a bowl covered with plastic bag or cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Laminate the Dough:
Before starting the dough laminating (i.e. incorporating butter into the dough) remove the butter from the fridge. Pound the butter with rolling pin between two sheets of baking paper into 20cm flat square. If the butter becomes too soft, store it in the fridge for 15 minutes before using.

Take the dough out of the fridge, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rectangle about 20 x 40cm. Place the butter in the centre of the dough and fold the dough over the top. Seal the edges of the dough together to ensure the butter is completely enclosed in the dough.

Gently and carefully roll the dough out into a rectangle, about 20 x 90cm (approximately 3 times longer than the piece you started with). Mentally divide the rectangle into three equal sections, top, middle and bottom. Fold the top section over the middle, and fold the bottom to the middle, like folding a letter. Wrap the dough in a plastic bag or cling wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Take the dough out of the fridge and rotate the dough 90 degree so that the dough will be rolled in opposite direction from previous fold. Repeat the rolling, folding, and resting process as above two more times. There will be three foldings and rollings (the term is “three turns”) altogether and you need to rotate the dough 90 degree with each rolling.

After the final rolling and folding, store the laminated dough in the fridge for 20 minutes before shaping into croissants. 

Make the egg wash by mixing all ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

Take the laminated dough out of the fridge and roll it out into a rectangle about 25 x 100cm with 5 -8 mm thickness.

Trim the edges of the dough so that it becomes a neat rectangle.

Cut the dough into triangles with 9-cm base and 21-cm height. Stack triangle sheets on baking sheet/papers and chill for 10 minutes.

Shape the Dough:
Take the chilled triangles out of the fridge and shape into croissants. Gently pull the tip of triangle to make the triangle longer. Working from the base, roll it towards the tip. Make sure that the tip is tucked underneath the croissant.

Place shaped croissants on trays lined with baking sheet or paper. 

To make the Pains au Chocolat, put pieces of dark chocolate (as much as you like) on the base of the triangle and fold the dough over to cover then keep rolling to form the croissant shape.

Shaped croissants can be retarded in the fridge overnight and baked the next day. Take them out of the fridge next day and follow the proofing and baking steps as below. Brush the surface lightly with egg-wash. Cover the tray with tea towel. Let it stand at warm room temperature for 2 hours until it almost double in size. Croissants are proofed and ready for the bake when the layers become visible and the croissant are very soft and wobbly.

Bake the Dough:
Preheat the oven to 240 degrees C.

Brush the surface of croissant with egg wash before baking. Put the croissants into the oven, then immediately reduce oven temperature to 190c and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until it is deeply golden brown.


  1. The ''pains au chocolat'' are just coming out of the oven and god, it smells like heaven!!! I'm really excited to taste then and to bring some at work tomorrow. My colleagues will be blown away ;) Thanks for the perfect recipe and the photos that really helps!

    I could hang with you, I'm that crazy mouahah :P

  2. Ooooo, how exciting Gabrielle. You are gonna blow your colleagues away. I'm glad to know I'm not the only crazy one :)

  3. your blog its amazing, thanks for sharing :)

  4. Thank you and you're welcome claudiarana

  5. beautiful! I am going to try these. One question though,..what is bakers flour? Can I use bread flour?

  6. Hi Dee. Yes, bakers flour is bread flour. Enjoy!

  7. Hi, I made these croissants using the book and, like you, thought they were amazing! (I've blogged about them here: You have a beautiful blog and I absolutely love the photos! :)

  8. @cheeniroti: Thanks for taking the time to comment. This is THE ultimate croissant recipe, don't you think?

  9. I haven't tried any other croissant recipes, but I don't feel the need to now I have this one! By the way, after my last comment, I took the croissants up a level and turned them into pain au chocolat aux pistaches (twice-baked chocolate and pistachio croissants). Amazing!

  10. Thanks for your comment cheeniroti. I've tried quite a few other croissant recipes. Some are less time-consuming and less technical, but the results aren't any where near as good as these ones. Your pain au chocolat aux pistaches look divine and are a great way to make the absolute most of all the hard work that went into making the original croissant. I could eat one (yes, a whole one) just now.

  11. Hey,thanks for joining the breakfast fun over at Carole's Chatter. Cheers

  12. I just made another batch of both of these today. I think I should definitely go for a run before I indulge. They are rising now.
    Your photos just make them look so yummy!

  13. Thank you so much for your wonderful post, Jennifer! Your photos and writing are beautiful. They inspired me to make a batch of my own. The croissants were flaky, poofy and divine, just like you promised. What a wonderful recipe! Documented my experience here:

    1. Thanks Heather. I'm so glad you enjoyed making and eating them. Your croissants look divine.

  14. How did I miss this when you posted it the first time? They are gorgeous Jennifer! You've totally inspired me to give these a go this week. And yes to all of the questions above!

    1. Thanks Maria. These are SO worth the effort. My kitchen looks like a bakery this morning with croissants piled up on the counter. I have adults with cafe au laits and children with big glasses of milk munching pastries for breakfast. I know you will adore making these and sharing them. PS: I think you and I were meant to be friends.

  15. Does anyone have the grams and ml converted to cups and tablespoons? Im having a hard time figuring out for me. Thank you

    1. Hey Lauren. We use the metric system in Australia so my recipes will generally be in grams and mls, with a few exceptions. I usually weigh my ingredients rather than use cups, as it is a more accurate measurement. However, I found this conversion chart which I sometimes use to convert cups to grams Cup to Gram Conversions. I hope you find it helpful.

  16. @milkandhoney thank you for getting back to me!

  17. I've only tried making croissants once and they were such a faff, I didn't think I'd bother again, but your pictures of the pain au chocolate are making me rethink - they are fabulous.