Sourdough Pain Au Chocolat Recipe: A Fancy Farm Food

Last Updated on April 16, 2024 by TheFarmChicken

A flaky layered chocolate croissant

The Sourdough Chocolate Croissant or Pain Au Chocolat. Whatever you would like to call these pastries, they are so good! They fit well in the collection of Fancy Farm Food and after making both Sourdough Croissants and Sourdough Pain Au Chocolat I knew that this Sourdough Pain Au Chocolat Recipe: A Fancy Farm Food had to have its very own spot on TheFarmChicken. Golden brown, buttery and so flaky with a chocolate center…yes you definitely should make these Sourdough Chocolate Croissants!

Very similar to croissants these pastries are shaped differently (not the traditional crescent shape) and have a chocolate inclusion that melts in and is decadent! The lamination of the dough leaves you with so many beautiful flaky layers. We did the math, and it is about 27 to be exact. Yum! Let’s get right to the step-by-step process of making these delicious Sourdough Pain Au Chocolat.

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The History Behind Pain Au Chocolat

It is said that somebody brought them from Austria to France way back in the 1800’s. There was a Viennese Bakery in Paris and this is where they are known to have originated from.

Did you know that there are at least two different names used for the chocolate croissant in France? Pain Au Chocolat and Chocolatine.

the inside of a pain au chocolat

Ways to Enjoy Pain Au Chocolat

  • Straight from the oven.
  • Slightly cooled
  • Reheated within a couple days in the oven at 400 degrees for 5-10 minutes.
  • Proofed, frozen and then baked whenever you are craving one.
pain au chocolat on board

The Homemade Sourdough Pain Au Chocolat (Sourdough Chocolate Croissants) Ingredients:

Active Sourdough Starter

This recipe for Pain Au Chocolat is fully leavened by natural wild yeasts found in a sourdough starter. You want your sourdough starter to be active with bubbles throughout and at least doubled before you start this recipe.

I usually keep my starter at 100% hydration which means I feed it equal weights of flour and water.

Don’t have a starter yet?

Agnes would love to help you out. Check out Learning Sourdough with Agnes.

Water

I like to use either a distilled or filtered water. The biggest thing is to make sure it is a non-chlorinated water as this can inhibit your starter from working fully.

Whole Milk

Helping to create a richness and moisture in the dough whole milk is a great addition to the Pain Au Chocolat.

Bread Flour

You want to use a high-quality bread flour for this recipe. I like using Dakota Maid but King Arthur Bread flour I have also heard good things about.

Sea Salt

The recipe calls for sea salt and just a little.

Sugar

Just for a touch of sweetness and to help the wild yeast be fed.

The Butter (Unsalted)

A very important part of this recipe is the butter. It is unsalted and used in both the dough and the butter block. What is a butter block?

This is what you layer in the dough to create all the flaky goodness of a croissant dough!

You want a higher quality butter at least 82%. The higher quality helps the butter to flatten better and incorporate into the layer or lamination of the croissant dough.

The Chocolate

Another important part of the Pain Au Chocolat is of course the chocolate. You can do this a few different ways. I wanted to get the most authentic chocolate croissant, so I went ahead and got chocolate sticks. They are a little more expensive but simple to use and the dark chocolate is so good! They are linked below in ” Shop this Post”.

Another option if you don’t want to order the chocolate sticks is to chop some off a bar or use chocolate chips. You can just eyeball the amount based on the chocolate sticks and make a little line of chocolate.

lining up the chocolate stick on the pain au chocolat

The Process of Pain Au Chocolat (Sourdough Chocolate Croissants) in Pictures:

Pain Au Chocolat Making Tips for Success:

  1. Make sure your you have cold butter when doing the laminations. You don’t want the butter to get too warm because then it could absorb into the layers of dough. This being said it is helpful for it to be slightly warm too as you will be able to roll the butter out easier.
  2. I like the bench scraper the best for keeping the lines straight when cutting out the rectangles for the chocolate croissants.
  3. You don’t want it to be too warm in your house when proofing the dough. 69-71 is about perfect for the croissant to proof because you don’t want the butter to warm.
  4. If you find the dough to be a little sticky you can use a little flour but make sure it is just a little you don’t want the outside of your dough/croissants caked with flour.
  5. A ruler helps a lot to keep lines straight when doing the final cutting.
  6. Don’t cut or bite into the chocolate croissant to soon from the oven if you want your layers to be defined. The hot butter can make them not stand up as well till slightly cooled.

How to Shape Sourdough Pain Au Chocolat:

A Variation to Try:

I haven’t tried this yet, but I would love to do a bicolour sourdough Pain Au Chocolat someday. It would have two incorporated layers a chocolate and a regular laminated dough layer. Both laminated together. Yum!

Pin this for Later:

pinterest pin sourdough pain au chocolat

Sourdough Pain Au Chocolat Recipe: A Fancy Farm Food

The Ingredients for the Pain Au Chocolat Dough:

  • 100 g sourdough starter, active
  • 80 g water, distilled or filtered
  • 120 g whole milk
  • 35 g sugar
  • 45 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 375 g bread flour
  • 7 g sea salt

Butter Block:

  • 120 g or 2 sticks of high-quality butter (82% butterfat)

Egg Wash:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 T water

Directions for the Sourdough Croissant/Pain Au Chocolat Dough:

  • In the large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer measure out the starter, water, milk, and sugar using a gram scale. Mix this by hand, spoon or Danish dough hook until a slurry is formed.
  • Add in the softened butter and the flour and either by hand or the dough hook attachment mix the dough until it is a shaggy consistency. At this point cover the dough with a clean towel and let rest or autolyse for 30 minutes.
  • Weigh out the salt and set aside. Once the dough has finished the autolyse, add the salt and knead by hand or with a dough hook for 5 minutes on low. The dough should have come together nicely.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Let the dough sit at room temperature for 1 hour before transferring the covered dough to the fridge for 12-16 hours or overnight.

How to Make the Butter Block:

  • About an hour before you plan to start the dough lamination, take the 2 sticks of butter out of the fridge, and let sit at room temperature for 45 minutes.
  • Once the butter has slightly softened take 2 sheets of parchment paper, cut the butter sticks in half lengthwise and place them like a square on one lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. (Refer to pictures.)
  • Next, take and lightly flour the top of the butter. This is to help keep the butter from sticking badly to the parchment. Place the second piece of parchment on top of the butter.
  • Now you are ready to roll the butter out. You want the butter to be roughly 6” x 12”. If you want it to be exact you can fold the edges of the parchment over to make a 6”x12” rectangle but this is not necessary.
  • Once the butter block is rolled out place it in the fridge for 30 minutes to harden. Your butter layer is now prepped.

The Lamination Process:

  • Next take the chilled dough out of the fridge, place it on a lightly floured surface and roll the dough out to roughly a 16”x24” rectangle.
  • Once the butter has chilled long enough, take one side of parchment paper off the butter and place butter side down on half of the dough. Next, slowly peel back the second piece of parchment paper from the butter.
  • Once the parchment paper is removed take fold the dough over the butter “sealing” it inside the dough. Roll the dough slightly with a rolling pin to help seal up the edges. Make sure none of the dough is exposed on the edges.
  • Next, we will do the first fold out of three. Take the one side of the short end (18” side) and fold it up to a third. Take the opposite side and bring it down over the first fold. Roll the dough slightly to flatten the layers and place it on a small parchment lined baking sheet. Cover the folded dough with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Next take the laminated dough out of the fridge and place it on a work surface that is lightly floured. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle and then repeat the fold as above. Place in the fridge for another 30 minutes.
  • This is the third and final fold. Take it out of the fridge and repeat the above step. Place it back in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Directions on How to Shape the Pain Au Chocolat:

  • Take the dough from the fridge and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out to a 24”x10” rectangle. Move the dough frequently to make sure it isn’t sticking. If it seems like it needs it, you will want to add a little more flour to your work surface.
  • Using a bench scraper, sharp knife, or pizza cutter trim the edges of the dough to square them up nicely. Then the long way, cut the dough into 3” strips. After they are cut go back and cut each strip in half, so you have roughly 8 rectangles across and 2 down. The rectangle shape should be roughly 3”x5” each. See picture. Also using a ruler does help a lot during this step.
  • After they are cut out, lay out the stick of chocolate at the bottom of the rectangle (the 3” side). Roll the dough over the chocolate stick and place another then continue to roll the chocolate croissant until it is rolled completely. Press to seal the edges and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. The chocolate should be in the center of the dough. Continue with all the chocolate croissants. You may need more than prepared baking sheet. Make sure to leave plenty of room for them to proof/bake.

Proofing and Baking the Chocolate Croissants:

  • Depending on the temperature in your kitchen let the croissants proof for 3-6 hours until puffy. They will jiggle a little when the baking sheet is lightly shaken.
  • When they are proofed and puffy preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Take a small bowl and whisk the egg and water together. Using a pastry brush lightly brush a layer of egg wash on the top of the dough of your croissants. Try not to get too much egg on the layers. Then bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown in preheated oven.
  • Remove from the oven and immediately from the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool.
  • Croissants are best enjoyed the first day they are made but you can also store them at room temperature and reheat the leftovers in a 400-degree oven for 5 minutes.
  • Make sure to try one warm from the oven!

This recipe makes around 16 pain au chocolat.

displayed chocolate croissants

Sourdough Pain Au Chocolat Recipe: A Fancy Farm Food

Chocolate centers inside a delicious flaky and buttery croissant dough. A great special occasion pastry!
Print Recipe
chocolate croissants freshly baked

Ingredients

Pain Au Chocolat Dough Ingredients:

  • 100 g sourdough starter active
  • 80 g water distilled or filtered
  • 120 g whole milk
  • 35 g sugar
  • 45 g unsalted butter softened
  • 375 g bread flour
  • 7 g sea salt

Butter Block

  • 120 g or 2 sticks of high-quality butter 82% butterfat

Egg Wash:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 T water

Instructions

Directions for the Sourdough Croissant/Pain Au Chocolat Dough:

  • In the large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer measure out the starter, water, milk, and sugar using a gram scale. Mix this by hand, spoon or Danish dough hook until a slurry is formed.
  • Add in the softened butter and the flour and either by hand or the dough hook attachment mix the dough until it is a shaggy consistency. At this point cover the dough with a clean towel and let rest or autolyse for 30 minutes.
    shaggy dough ready to autolyse
  • Weigh out the salt and set aside. Once the dough has finished the autolyse, add the salt and knead by hand or with a dough hook for 5 minutes on low. The dough should have come together nicely.
    dough ready to add salt
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Let the dough sit at room temperature for 1 hour before transferring the covered dough to the fridge for 12-16 hours or overnight.
    dough ready for long cold fermentation

Directions for the Butter Block:

  • About an hour before you plan to start the dough lamination, take the 2 sticks of butter out of the fridge, and let sit at room temperature for 45 minutes.
  • Once the butter has slightly softened take 2 sheets of parchment paper, cut the butter sticks in half lengthwise and place them like a square on one lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. (Refer to pictures.)
    butter sticks cut in half on parchment paper, lightly floured
  • Next, take and lightly flour the top of the butter. This is to help keep the butter from sticking badly to the parchment. Place the second piece of parchment on top of the butter.
    Butter sticks ready to be rolled out
  • Now you are ready to roll the butter out. You want the butter to be roughly 6” x 12”. If you want it to be exact you can fold the edges of the parchment over to make a 6”x12” rectangle but this is not necessary.
    butter block ready for the fridge
  • Once the butter block is rolled out place it in the fridge for 30 minutes to harden. Your butter layer is now prepped.

Directions for the Lamination Process:

  • Next take the chilled dough out of the fridge, place it on a lightly floured surface and roll the dough out to roughly a 16”x24” rectangle.
    rolled out dough ready for the butter block
  • Once the butter has chilled long enough, take one side of parchment paper off the butter and place butter side down on half of the dough. Next, slowly peel back the second piece of parchment paper from the butter.
    flattened butter block on top of the dough
  • Once the parchment paper is removed take fold the dough over the butter “sealing” it inside the dough. Roll the dough slightly with a rolling pin to help seal up the edges. Make sure none of the dough is exposed on the edges.
    dough folded over the butter block and sealed edges
  • Next, we will do the first fold out of three. Take the one side of the short end (18” side) and fold it up to a third. Take the opposite side and bring it down over the first fold. Roll the dough slightly to flatten the layers and place it on a small parchment lined baking sheet. Cover the folded dough with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
    first fold in the lamination process
  • Next take the laminated dough out of the fridge and place it on a work surface that is lightly floured. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle and then repeat the fold as above. Place in the fridge for another 30 minutes.
    next portion folded up
  • This is the third and final fold. Take it out of the fridge and repeat the above step. Place it back in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Directions on How to Shape the Pain Au Chocolat:

  • Take the dough from the fridge and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out to a 24”x10” rectangle. Move the dough frequently to make sure it isn’t sticking. If it seems like it needs it, you will want to add a little more flour to your work surface.
  • Using a bench scraper, sharp knife, or pizza cutter trim the edges of the dough to square them up nicely. Then the long way, cut the dough into 3” strips. After they are cut go back and cut each strip in half, so you have roughly 8 rectangles across and 2 down. The rectangle shape should be roughly 3”x5” each. See picture. Also using a ruler does help a lot during this step.
    rectangles ready for chocolate sticks
  • After they are cut out, lay out the stick of chocolate at the bottom of the rectangle (the 3” side). Roll the dough over the chocolate stick and place another then continue to roll the chocolate croissant until it is rolled completely. Press to seal the edges and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. The chocolate should be in the center of the dough. Continue with all the chocolate croissants. You may need more than prepared baking sheet. Make sure to leave plenty of room for them to proof/bake.
    lining up the chocolate stick on the pain au chocolat
  • Depending on the temperature in your kitchen let the croissants proof for 3-6 hours until puffy. They will jiggle a little when the baking sheet is lightly shaken.
  • When they are proofed and puffy preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Take a small bowl and whisk the egg and water together. Using a pastry brush lightly brush a layer of egg wash on the top of the dough of your croissants. Try not to get too much egg on the layers. Then bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown in preheated oven.
    pain au chocolat proofing
  • Remove from the oven and immediately from the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool.
  • Croissants are best enjoyed the first day they are made but you can also store them at room temperature and reheat the leftovers in a 400-degree oven for 5 minutes.
  • Make sure to try one warm from the oven!
    a chocolate croissant on up close

Notes

This recipe makes around 16 pain au chocolat.
Servings: 16 chocolate croissants

I hope you enjoy this Sourdough Pain Au Chocolat Recipe: A Fancy Farm Food. Homemade croissants are so good and worth the little extra time. I also have an original croissant recipe if you are interested in that! Please comment below with any questions or reviews on the recipe. I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by!

Mariah | TheFarmChicken

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More Sourdough Pastries to try:

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can you use a lower quality butter in chocolate croissants? What would be the difference?

You can! I didn’t have any higher quality butter on hand one time, and it seemed to work just fine! I will say higher quality butter will make it easier to roll out and better flavor. Be sure you are using unsalted butter!

What is the difference between regular croissants and chocolate croissants?

The biggest difference between them is that one has chocolate and the other does not. However, Chocolate croissants are shaped differently than a croissant. Chocolate croissants are rectangular, and the regular croissant is shaped into the traditional crescent shape.

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7
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