No bread is an island

...entire of itself. (With apologies to John Donne!)
I live and breathe breadmaking. I’m an evangelist who would like everyone to make his or her own bread. I want to demystify breadmaking and show it as the easy everyday craft that it is. To this end I endeavour to make my recipes as simple and as foolproof as I possibly can.

I call my blog 'No bread is an island' because every bread is connected to another bread. So a spicy fruit bun with a cross on top is a hot cross bun. This fruit dough will also make a fruit loaf - or Chelsea buns or a Swedish tea ring...
I'm also a vegan, so I have lots of vegan recipes on here - and I'm adding more all the time.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Petit pain au chocolat

I'm not a great fan of pain au chocolat made with a croissant dough. I much prefer  them made out of a plain, slightly sweetened dough. (As does Elizabeth David!)

Ask yourself - what could be easier than pressing a piece of chocolate into a golf ball sized piece of dough and squidging the dough around it?

(Here's a step-by-step pictorial guide to shaping these - in an on-line baking session report.)

400g strong white flour
2 dessertspoons sugar
1 rounded teaspoon fresh yeast
250ml lukewarm water
Splash of olive oil

16 pieces of decent eating chocolate

Sugar glaze:
1 rounded dessertspoon of sugar and two dessertspoons of boiling water

1. Place flour and sugar into a mixing bowl, followed by the yeast. Pour the water over the yeast to start it dissolving and add the olive oil.

2. Have a little water to hand to add if necessary, remember, it is better for your dough to be wetter (slack) rather than drier (tight). Begin to mix by stirring the ingredients together with a knife (starting with the yeast first, to dissolve it properly), cutting through the dough. When it gets too stiff for the knife, use your hand to squeeze the mixture together. As it forms into a solid mass, keep turning it over and pressing it down to pick up the flour at the bottom of the bowl – but make sure it stays soft. Don’t be afraid to add more water to keep it soft! When all the flour has been mixed in, wipe the bowl around with the dough, turn it out onto the worktop and begin to knead.

3. Knead by stretching the dough out, folding it over, stretching it out and so on and so forth. Do this until it is smooth – or until you get fed up!

4. Leave to prove for about an hour on your worktop, covered with a dry tea towel. Or place in an oiled plastic bag until you are ready for step 5.

5. When you are ready to proceed, take the dough out of the mixing bowl and place it on your worktop. This time, don't 'knock the dough back'! Just divide the dough into 16 pieces. Use the side of your hand as a 'knife' and cut the dough into 2, then 4, etc.

6. Press the chocolate gently into the middle of a piece of dough and squidge the dough together to seal the chocolate inside the dough. Place seam side down on the baking tray.

7. Cover and leave to prove until they have grown appreciably in size. Bake at 220C, 425F or gas mark 7, for about 15 minutes.

8. Whilst the rolls are baking, make a sugar glaze with a dessertspoon of sugar and two dsps of boiling water. When the rolls are done (look for colour underneath) brush them with the glaze straightaway.

Put a dried apricot along with the piece of chocolate in each parcel.

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