Pain au Lait with Chocolate

Richard Bertinet

Richard Bertinet

16th May 2014
Richard Bertinet

Pain au Lait with Chocolate

Photography: Ebury Press


  • For the Sweet Dough:
  • 1kg strong bread flour
  • 500g full fat milk
  • 120g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 30g yeast (fresh if possible)
  • 20g salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 80g caster sugar
  • For the Filling:
  • 400g whole hazelnuts
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1 tonka bean, grated
  • Handful of ground roasted cocoa beans


Place the milk in a pan and warm gently until it is body temperature.
Rub the yeast into the flour then rub in the butter.
Add the remaining ingredients.
The way to work the dough is to slide your fingers underneath it like a pair of forks, with your thumbs on top, wing it upwards and then slap it back down, away from you, onto your work surface (it will almost be too sticky to lift at this point).
Stretch the front of the dough towards you, then lift it back over itself in an arc (to trap the air), still stretching it forwards and sideways and tucking it in around the edges.
Keep repeating this sequence.
At first this might seem to be too much to think about, but once you get the hang of it, you will find that you can work the dough easily in one quick, seamless movement.
As you work the dough it will start to come together and feel alive and elastic in your hands.
Keep on working it until it comes cleanly away from the work surface, begins to look silky and feels smooth.
Once you get used to this technique, it should only take around 10-15 minutes.
Now you can flour your work surface lightly, place the dough on top and form it into a ball by folding each edge in turn into the centre of the dough and pressing down well with your thumb, rotating the ball as you go. Turn the whole ball over and stretch and tuck the edges under.
Place the dough into a mixing bowl and cover with a tea towel.
Rest for 1 hour in a draught free place.
While the dough is resting place the honey and hazelnuts in a frying pan and gently caramelize.
Tip out onto a non stick mat and allow to cool.
When cool take half the mixture and blitz to a paste.
Add the grated tonka bean and the ground roasted cocoa beans.
Crush the other half of the mixture with a rolling pin leaving big chunks.
Add both mixtures to the dough and rest for a further 30 minutes
Shape and mould as required
Egg wash, glazing thinly twice, slash top of dough to decorate
Bake at 180°c for 20 minutes depending on size

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