Best homemade Pain au Chocolat or Chocolate Croissants

Close your eyes and imagine – that delicious smell of fresh bread, flaky pastries and coffee in an artisan bakery with French music in your ears. The clinking of some porcelain dishes, the noise of the coffee machine and you just look forward to enjoying your Café au Lait with a fresh Chocolate Croissant. Have you ever wondered how you can make that best homemade Pain au Chocolat in your own kitchen?

2 halves of a omemade Pain au Chocolat - crumbshot by BREADISTA
Pain au Chocolat (or Chocolate Croissant) made with our bread mix ‘Einback’

We’re honest, growing up at the French border croissants are one of the things it’s hard to beat. Finally we found a local bakery here in LA, owned by two very talented Pastry Chefs, to satisfy our desire for those flaky and chocolaty pastries that brings us back to our hometown. After we launched our bread mix Einback there was a mission for Croissants on the way…

How you make the best homemade Pain au Chocolat

Don’t worry about the right flour and amount of yeast because we’ve it all ready for you. With one bag of the Einback bread mix you can make 2 batches of Pain au Chocolat with 10-12 pc each. Make sure you use a good unsalted butter without flavors or colors, a European one at best. We prefer Irish (e.g. Kerrygold, or the Aldi brand) or French (e.g. Président) butter for best results. As for the chocolate, we recommend using French or Belgian chocolate batons (Noel, Barry, Callebaut, Valrhona) for an authentic taste and feel because regular chocolate would just melt away. Like with many good things, making such croissants need time, which means you should plan your schedule accordingly. But don’t be intimidated, it’s not so difficult as it sounds or looks.

! Note: We meassure ALL ingredients preferably in gramm (solid & liquid, don’t use fl.oz) !
Ingredients for your Pain au chocolat recipe, makes 10-12 pc:
1/2 Bread Mix EINBACK
160 g / 5.6 oz water, filtered
160 g / 5.6 oz Milk (whole or 2%)
55 g / 4 TBS unsalted butter, @ room temperature, in small pieces

Butter Layer:
170g / 12 TBS / 1.5 sticks unsalted butter
1 sheet of parchment paper

Chocolate – 20-24 batons (2 per croissant)

Egg wash – 1 small egg, beaten with a little splash of milk or cream

Instructions for making Pain au Chocolat

STEP 1 – Add the flour-mix into your stand mixer bowl with the water + milk. Mix with the dough hook on low speed for 1-2 min, then add 0.5-1 TBS water and turn it up half a step for another 5-6 min. (Kenwood Chef Mixer on 1.5)
Then add the butter in steps and mix in the meantime for another 5-6 min on lower medium speed (KCM on 2). The dough will get a bit warmer but that’s ok and wanted. When the dough becomes softer towards the end, test the gluten structure with the window-pane-test. To do that, stop the machine, flour your fingers and try to stretch gently a piece of dough until you can see through. If it’s ripping off immediately, knead further for ~3min.

STEP 2 – Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest/proof for 60-90 min until it’s almost trippled in size. When the kitchen temperature is too warm/hot (e.g. Summer) place the dough after 20 min in the fridge for several hours until the required size is reached.

Meanwhile, prepare the butter layer. Pound the butter evenly between a layer of parchment paper into a rectangle of 7×9 inch. Set aside in the freezer until the dough is proofed.
TIP: We like to use the wrapping paper of the butter on one side (it measures 7″x9″) and parchment paper on the other. Fold the parchment paper at the edges to limit the butter from spreading. When the butter gets warmer you can use your hands as well.

STEP 3 – Take the butter layer (and dough) out of the fridge 30-45 min before you want to go ahead. The dough and butter need to have a similar temperature and consistency.

Lightly flour your work space, roll out the dough carefully in a rectangle shape 23×10 inch (longside parallel to you). Lift it inbetween to avoid sticking, flour again lightly if necessary and gently pull out the corners with your fingers. Make sure the dough is evenly rolled out. In case the dough gets too tough to reach the size, just wait 2-5 minutes and try it again.

STEP 4 – Put the butter layer on the dough. Make sure you have space (butter-to-dough) at the upper and lower edge, remove the paper and fold the dough over it. (see pictures) Gently press the seams together.

STEP 5 – Laminating – Sprinkle the dough with flour to prevent it from sticking. Now, very carefully press the dough with the rolling pin in the direction you want to roll it out, start in the middle (here: 1st time = away from you). Bring it to 10 x 40 inch. Remove all flour from the dough, fold it in third with a light overlapping – see pictures. Pull gently with your fingers the corners, so they lie on top of each other. Wrap loosely in foil, press again with the rolling pin 3-4x across the longside and put it in the fridge for 15 min.

STEP 6 + 7 – Repeat step 5 twice and always be carefully while rolling, use a bit flour, don’t rip off the dough. Always remove flour before folding.

STEP 8 – After the last cool rest, roll out the dough into a rectangle of 48 x 30 inch. Sprinkle the surface and dough with flour to avoid sticking. Lift the dough inbetween to avoid too much tension & sticking. Pull out the corners again with your fingers and make sure the dough is even. When the dough gets too tough, let it sit for 2-3 min and try again.

STEP 9 – Shaping – Cut the dough lengthwise in two equal pieces and seperate it a bit, re-roll each strain to ~48×6.5 inch. Remove all flour on the dough. Use a ruler and knife or pizza slicer to cut each dough piece in equal 6 pieces. (= width of the chocolate baton, see pictures). The length of each piece should have ~6.5 in/15-16 cm.

Now place one baton at one end of the dough piece, roll it just in and place the 2nd piece before you roll it up completely. Repeat with all the pieces. Place not more than 6 of your homemade Pain au Chocoloat on a full size baking sheet. Line the sheet with parchment paper.

STEP 10 – Brush each rolled croissant with the egg wash, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for ~90 min at room temperature. You can also put them in the fridge for a longer period of time. They should reach 2-3 times the size before baking.

STEP 11 – Baking – Preheat the oven to 385°F/195°C about 20 min before the end of the resting time. Make sure the oven temp is right when you need it. Brush your Pain au Chocolat again with the egg wash just before they go into the oven. Bake for about 15-20 min until they have the typical slightly dark brown color. Let cool completely before you enjoy them.

Homemade Pan au Chocolat or French Chocolate Croissant by BREADISTA
Best Pan au Chocolat made from an artisan bread mix by BREADISTA

How to freeze homemade Pain au Chocolat or Croissants

After step 9 and 60-70 min of resting you can put the raw croissants in the freezer (on the sheet + with the foil, without the egg wash). Make sure they don’t touch each other. When they’re fully frozen you can put them in a zipper bag and store ’em up to 4-6 weeks. Thaw the pieces on the counter, covered for at least 2-3 hours or overnight in the fridge. Bake as mentioned in step 11 after two coats of egg wash.

To get some variations you can also fill it with cheese & ham or make some just half the size for party bites. Sprinkle some shredded cheese or sesame on top.

Have you made this delicious flaky croissants already? Show us your results and tag us on social media with #breadistaworld or send us your pictures via email.