Recipe courtesy Jacques Torres Chocolate, MrChocolate
Show: Passion for Dessert with Jacques TorresEpisode: The Croissant (PASTRY
About 20 croissants
For the dough:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Scant 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh compressed yeast
- Generous 1/2 cup cold water
- 3 1/3 cups bread flour, plus extra if needed
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- Generous 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter
For the pain au chocolat:
- 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped or shaved
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 large egg
- Scant 1/4 cup whole milk
Prepare the dough: Melt the 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Allow the butter to cool to room temperature. It should be warm to the touch.
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the cold water. Place the flour, salt, sugar, milk, and melted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Set the mixer on medium speed and mix just until the ingredients are dispersed, about 5 seconds. Add the dissolved yeast and beat on medium-high speed until the dough is well combined and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl, about 1 minute. If the dough is too soft, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time until it is firmer. (The dough is too soft when it cannot hold its shape.) If the dough is too hard, add cold water 1 tablespoon at a time until it has softened. (The dough is too hard when it is difficult to mix in the mixer.) Remove the dough from the mixing bowl. If the dough is slightly sticky and ropy, knead it with your hands for about 30 seconds, until it is smooth. Pat it into a ball. Place the dough on a lightly floured baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let it proof at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll it out to an 8 by 15-inch rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Wrap the rectangle in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. The cold retards the rising process, allowing a slow fermentation to help develop the flavor of the dough.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap the rectangle, and place it with a long side facing you on a lightly floured work surface. Spread the softened butter evenly over the right two thirds of the dough. Incorporate the butter by folding the (butterless) left third of the dough over the center, Then fold the right third of the dough to the left, to resemble a folded letter. Roll this out into another 10 by 30-inch rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Fold each short end of the dough to the middle so they meet but do not overlap. Then fold one half over the other half and, if necessary, rotate the dough so that the seam is on your right. Wrap the folded dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap it, and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll it into a 10 by 30-inch rectangle and turn it so a long side faces you. Give the dough a single fold by folding the left third of the dough over the center, then fold the right third of the dough to the left. Now the dough should resemble a folded letter. Wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough into a 10 by 36-inch rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Keep the thickness even and the edges straight. This will make it easier to cut the croissants or pain au chocolat.
For pain au chocolat: With a sharp chef's knife, cut the dough into 3 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch rectangles. Lay each rectangle on a lightly floured work surface, with a long side facing you, and place about 1/2 tablespoon of the chopped chocolate in the upper third of each one. Fold that third of the dough over the chocolate. Place about another 1/2 tablespoon of the chocolate along one seam of the folded dough. Fold the bottom third of the dough over the chocolate. (At this stage, they can be frozen for up to 1 week if well wrapped in plastic wrap. Thaw on a parchment covered baking sheet overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding.)
Turn over the pain au chocolat so the seams face down. This will keep them from opening as they bake. Place them on a parchment covered baking sheet; spaced about 2 inches apart. Loosely cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and allow the pain au chocolat to proof at room temperature until they have doubled in size and appear light and full of air, about 1 1/2 to 3 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Make an egg wash by whisking together the egg yolks, whole egg, and milk in a small bowl until well combined. With a pastry brush, very gently coat the pastries completely with egg wash. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- Leftovers can be stored in the freezer if well wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 2 weeks. Thaw at room temperature and warm in the oven before serving.