Stack of three pain au chocolat
The Specialty Flour Behind LA's Most Exquisite Pain Au Chocolat
By Lorien Crow
Although chocolate croissants can be found with little effort these days, creating the perfect one from scratch is hard because every detail matters, from the type of butter to the quality of the chocolate. To achieve the perfect texture, one California chef thinks the solution lies in the type of flour used to make the dough.
At his restaurant in Pasadena, Haris Car spent nearly a year coming up with the perfect recipe for the eatery's pain au chocolate, now hailed by many as the best of its kind in the area. Car tested the recipe over and over, experimenting with different mixers and various ethically-sourced chocolates, and found that using bread flour instead of all-purpose flour made a difference in quality.
According to artisan grain producer Bob's Red Mill, "bread flour has a higher protein content (around 13% more), which leads to more stability, form and rise in the dough, allowing it to lift and hold shape." Bread flour also has more gluten than all-purpose flour, which "makes it ideal for airy, chewy bread," precisely the cloud-like texture Car aims for when creating his masterpiece.