Cook the Book | 'Tasting Paris: 100 Recipes to Eat Like a Local' + Pain au Cacao et Chocolat
When I lived in Paris, one of my favorite things to do was to visit various boulangeries on my walk to school. Very little could top a freshly made pastry that was still warm. Flash forward to years later, I wanted to create that same irresistible aroma, but in the comforts of my own home, so I turned to Tasting Paris: 100 Recipes to Eat Like a Local by Clotilde Dusoulier. In her newest book, she takes you through different meals, the importance of a Parisian picnic, and the l’apéro just before dinner.
While bread, especially French bread, could be considered complicated and hard to make for the beginning or average baker, it is actually really easy. The most involved part actually doesn’t involve you at all. Dough must rest and rise a few times before you get the final delicious result. We made the Pain au Cacao et Chocolat in the Mornings section, which was easy to follow and the results were wonderful, plus the pockets of chocolate inside only added to its delicious factor. Here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure that your version comes out just as good.
Don’t skip or hurry the rising process. The cold rise allows for the glutens to really bind together and do their job.
While her recipe asked for bread flour, we were happy with the result of using all-purpose flour
Make the oven really hot. Preheat the oven well in advance. If you have a pizza stone, keep it in the oven, this will ensure that it is really hot in there.
Pain Au Cacao et Chocolat
1 packet active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups warm water, divided
5 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened high-quality cocoa powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 generous pinch sea salt
5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
Special Equipment: A mixer with a dough hook
Directions: In a small bowl, add 1 cup of warm water, add yeast. Whisk together and let set until foamy, about 5 minutes. In a bowl fitted for a standing mixer with a dough hook, add flour, cocoa powder, sugar and salt. Add yeast mixture and beat for 10 minutes on medium speed—the dough will come together and pull away from the edge of the bowl. Add chocolate chips and beat on low until chocolate is incorporated.
Generously oil a clean bowl and add dough. Cover with a clean towel and let rise for at least one hour in a non-drafty place. Next, fold the dough into itself about 10 to 12 times, Dusoulier advises that this 'creates a well-structured crumb’. Tightly cover bowl and place into refrigerator for at least 8 hours and up to 1 day—this allows it to cold proof.
The next day, remove dough from refrigerator, dough should have doubled in size. Let sit at room temperature for one hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Generously flour a working surface. Divide dough into eight pieces, if choosing to make smaller loaves versus one—the same protocol follows for both. You are creating a bâtard shape. Using your fingers, roughly shape dough into a rectangle. Fold the dough that is closest to you half way, pressing into the dough. The fold the part of the other dough into the first fold. Pinch with finger tips. Flip dough over and taper the edges to give it the look of a baguette. Next scour the dough using either a lame or very share knife by holding it at an angle—you are essentially creating a lip.
Place dough onto sheet and cover with a clean towel. Let rest for 30 minutes. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating halfway through. The key is to ensure that the outer bread forms a crust. As tempting as it might be Dusoulier recommends letting the bread cool completely on a rack before enjoying, otherwise it will be ‘gummy’. Serve with espresso and bon appétit!
*Recipe adapted from Tasting Paris: 100 Recipes to Eat Like a Local
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Photography by Alison Engstrom