Dairy-free Pain au Chocolat – New Improved Recipe

 

One of the true joys of a French holiday are morning trips to the boulangerie to buy fresh crusty baguettes, croissants and pain au chocolat for breakfast. Every morning, little S would come and buy the fresh bread and pastries first thing and then look enviously at our pain au chocolat on the breakfast table. So I made a promise to make a batch on return.

Since last summer’s wonderful holiday in Corsica, I’ve got in the habit of regularly making friendly pain au chocolat for the girls. It’s been a mixed blessing, they’ve got rather used to freshly made viennoiserie for breakfast, so I end up making them often which takes time, but my croissant dough skiIlls have improved dramatically.

This new improved recipe has been gradually tweaked over the last year and I think we’ve finally got a jolly authentic, flaky and ‘buttery’ dough. The lamination has proved the tricky part of the recipe. Besides being the most time consuming aspect, I suffered for months with the layers simply disappearing which is really demoralising when you’ve spent hours putting them there in the first place! After some in-depth research it seems the crucial detail for lamination is that the fat content of the ‘butter replacement’ has to be around 82%. It’s that precise. In the UK our dairy-free margarines are predominantly water-based with fat coming way down the list of ingredients. If you use such a margarine the water just makes steam and you get a bready dough rather than buttery flaky layers. Makes total sense doesn’t it.

After much experimentation I’ve found that it works best to combine a mixture of dairy-free margarine such as Pure with a baking spread such as Stork (in the foil wrapper) and a touch of flour. This combination makes a great fat-rich butter substitute which also provides the right ‘buttery’ flavour.

Surely a good flaky Pain au Chocolat is possibly the most perfect breakfast item ever šŸ™‚

Dairy-free Homemade Pain au Chocolat

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, can be soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 16

500g strong bread flour

90g caster sugar

10g instant yeast

10g salt

100ml dairy-free milk (I usedĀ Oatly)

250ml cold water

150g dairy-freeĀ margarine

150g baking fat

1 tbsp flour

160g dark dairy-free chocolate chopped into batons

a sprinkle of caster sugar

melted dairy-free margarineĀ for brushing

  1. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the sugar, salt and yeast.
  2. Pour in the dairy-freeĀ milk and water and stir. Once come together, knead well to form a soft and springy dough (about 5-10 minutes).
  3. Cover and leave to rise for a couple of hours
  4. Meanwhile, put the dairy-free margarineĀ on to some cling film, sprinkle with the flour and then top with the baking fat (making a kind of sandwich affair) and loosely wrap. Roll out to a square shape, and place in the fridge or freezer to harden.
  5. Once the dough has risen, turn out onto a floured surface and knead until a smooth dough. Cut a cross on top of the dough ball and roll out the leaves (see photo below)
  6. Place the cooled ‘butter’ in the middle and fold the four flaps over the ‘butter’ making sure it is entirely encased with dough.
  7. Roll out and fold into thirds twice
  8. Place back in the fridge for thirty minutes or so, then roll out and fold back into thirds twice more. Repeat two or three times.
  9. Rest in the fridge for 30 minutes more.
  10. Roll out to form a large rectangle.Ā Cut into four long strips, halve each.
  11. Place a line of chocolate at one narrow end and roll over to cover. Add another chocolate baton and continue rolling up.
  12. Loosely cover with cling film and let rise on the baking tray for 30 minutes.
  13. Brush with the melted margarineĀ and sprinkle with caster sugar
  14. Bake atĀ 200 degrees centigrade for 20 minutesĀ 

 

Pain au chocolat / Croissants

I always wondered if a vegan/dairy-free croissant/pain au chocolat would be possible, but always shied away from attempting them – they are, after all, an awful lot of work for it all to go wrong. However, thanks to inspiration from the recipes inĀ The Vegan Boulangerie by Marianne and Jean-Michel and my time at Le Cordon Bleu, today was the day for an attempt. The dough is basically a yeasted puff pastry, so I’ve used dairy-free spread rather than butter – the buttery richness won’t be there, but hopefully the effect will be the same. I wonder if my daughters will like them? They’ve never tasted anything like it…. I’ll report back when they get home from school….

Dairy-Free CroissantsĀ (dairy-free, egg-free, soya-free, nut-free, vegetarian, vegan)

makes 4-6

  • 250g plain flour
  • 7g caster sugar
  • 25g dairy-free spread (I used Pure)
  • 1 rounded tsp yeast
  • 150ml oat milk, warmed (I used Oatly)
  • 125g dairy-free spread

– Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the sugar and yeast. Add the dairy-free spread and cut into tiny bits

– Pour in the warmed oat milk and stir. Once come together, knead into a soft dough.

– Cover and leave to rise for a couple of hours

– Meanwhile, put the remaining 125g dairy-free spread on to some cling film and loosely wrap. Roll out to a square shape, and place in the fridge to harden.

– Once the dough has risen, turn out onto a floured surface and knead until a smooth dough. Roll out to a large rectangle. Place the cooled spread in the middle and fold over the remaining dough..

– Roll out and fold into thirds twice

– Place back in the fridge for ten minutes, then roll out and fold back into thirds twice more.

– Rest in the fridge for 10 minutes.

– Roll out to form a large rectangle. Cut into long thin triangles. Roll up from the wide end and curve round the edges to form a classic croissant shape.

– Let rise for 15 minutes on a baking sheet before placing in the oven.

– Bake at 200 degrees centigrade for 20 minutes

Pain au ChocolatĀ (dairy-free, egg-free, soya-free, nut-free, vegetarian, vegan)

(makes 3)

  • 1 small bar of dark dairy-free chocolate
  • a sprinkle of caster sugar
  • melted dairy-free spread for brushing

– Follow the above instructions until the dough is rolled out to a large rectangle.

– Cut into three long strips

– Place a line of chocolate at each narrow end and roll both in to meet in the middle. Turn over.

– Brush with the melted spread and sprinkle with caster sugar

– Let rise on the baking tray for 20 minutes.

– Bake at 200 degrees centigrade for 20 minutes