So I finally got that pastry baking down to something beside creme puffs. Though those will always be my first pastry love. I have had many adventures in the past few days (look forward to a picture of me in a welding helmet . . . actually welding) and will be posting those soon.
But today, OH TODAY. I’m going to show you my beautiful Pain au Chocolat. Dad gave this his seal of approval, it was delicious. Now, it’s a little labor intensive, so 1. not only are there not many pictures of the steps, 2. if you’re going to attempt this please note that this is something like 14 hours of prep work for like . . . 5-10 pastries. If you have the time though, it’s TOTALLY worth it.
Heres what you’ll need . . .
1 1/2 c. milk
1/3 c. brown sugar
1Tbsp and 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
3 3/4 – 4 1/2 c. flour (you’ll be continuously adding flour as needed, start with the 3 3/4, build up as needed)
1 Tbsp salt
3 sticks butter
Okay, to make your dough you’re going to first scald your milk, don’t boil it, but get it to about 110degrees then take it off the heat, mix in a bowl with brown sugar and yeast, let it stand about 5 minutes to get foamy. Start working on your other stuff.
Mix flour and salt, add your yeast mixture when it’s all foamed up.
Knead by hand for 2 minutes, adding more flour as needed. This stuff is pretty freaking sticky, so don’t worry when it’s a huge nasty mess. Use a lot of flour on your surface as you knead. Okay, so you’re going to wrap this up in some plastic wrap, and stick it in the fridge for an hour.
one hour later…
This is the weird part, but also the awesome part. Take out your three sticks of butter, get out your rolling pin, BEAT THE HELL OUT OF THE BUTTER UNTIL YOU CAN ROLL IT OUT FLAT. You want to make an 8×5 rectangle out of it. Put your rectangle on a towel, not a terrycloth towel though, you need one of those linen-y kitchen towels. then put the towel of butter in the fridge while you roll out the dough.
Okay, so now take that dough out of the fridge, you’re going to use your rolling pin to mash it down a little, make little uniform indentions. Then roll it out into a 10×16 rectangle (if you’re as big a stickler as me, you cook with a ruler, I had to was a ruler that was covered with butter after this experience. Don’t tell Dad but I totally used one of those really nice drafting rulers he has around the house. Shhhhh)
Okay, so once your rectangle is made of dough, get the butter out, and lay it inside the dough, you want to put the short side of the butter parallel to the long sides of the long sides of the dough. then you’re going to fold the bottom third up over the butter and the top 1/3 down over the dough you just folded up. Then you’re going to roll out the dough again. Then you’re going to fold it up again into a rectangle, rewrap it in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge.
You’re going to follow that basic procedure 4 more times with an hour of chilling between. Then after your 4th fold you’re going to put it in the fridge for 8 hours.
Okay, then when you’re done you’re ready for forming and baking, which is where my pictures come in.