The Recipe For the World's Best Pain au Chocolat: Cédric Grolet Shares His Secrets

Alessandra Meldolesi
copertina pain au chocolat cedric grolet

Open the oven door and magically wake up in Paris: it happens when you prepare Cédric Grolet's legendary pain au chocolat, fragrant with butter and dark chocolate just like in the best pastry shops in the city.

The Story 

Pain au chocolat is a longstanding tradition in French breakfast culture. It is made by rolling the same puff pastry as a croissant (originally, it was made with brioche dough) around two sticks of dark chocolate. Like other classics in its category, it is said to have been created in the early 19th century when the Austrian officer August Zang and his fellow countryman of noble blood, Ernest Schwarzer, opened a shop in Paris at 92 Rue de Richelieu. Thus, the "viennoiserie" was born, a branch of the baking art dedicated to sweet leavened pastries, distinct from traditional bread and pastry.

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From there, this delectable treat spread throughout the country, acquiring the name "chocolatine" in the southern regions. In fact, in 2018, the French parliament even debated what the official name should be, ultimately opting for the Parisian term. A matter of national interest! This is the interpretation of pastry star Cédric Grolet, as extracted from his book Opéra Pâtisserie.

Cédric Grolet's Pain au Chocolat Recipe

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Ingredients for 12 servings

  • 1 kg of all-purpose flour
  • 420 g of water
  • 50 g of eggs
  • 100 g of granulated sugar
  • 45 g of fresh yeast
  • 18 g of salt
  • 20 g of honey
  • 70 g of softened butter
  • 400 g of butter for folding (84% fat)
  • 36 g of chocolate sticks

For the egg wash: 

  • 300 g of egg yolks
  • 30 g of heavy whipping cream


In a stand mixer with the hook attachment, combine the flour, water, eggs, yeast, salt, sugar, and honey. Mix at medium-low speed until a uniform dough forms. Then, increase the speed and knead until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. Incorporate the softened butter. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rise at room temperature (24-25 °C) for an hour.

Flatten the dough to release the air, then roll it out to a rectangle as wide as the folding butter and twice as long. Place it in the freezer for 5 minutes, then in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Position the butter in the center of the dough and fold the edges over it.

Turn so that the side with visible butter is facing you. Roll out from the bottom to the top until it's 7 mm thick. Make a small mark in the middle of the dough, fold the top and bottom towards the center, then fold in half like a wallet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Now, give it a single fold. Roll the dough to 1 cm thickness, from bottom to top to create a rectangle. Fold the top third down and the bottom third up. Roll immediately to 3.5 mm thickness and cut.

In a bowl, combine the egg yolks and heavy cream for the egg wash.

Cut rectangles of dough that are 7 by 20 cm. Place a stick of chocolate almost at the edge, roll for 2 cm, place another stick, roll another 2 cm, and form the pastries. Let them rise for an hour and a half at 26 °C.

Preheat the oven to 175 °C.

Place the pastries on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with the egg yolk and cream mixture. Bake for 15 minutes.

Bake until golden brown, remove from the oven, and let cool on a wire rack.


Cédric Grolet Opéra

35 Av. de l'Opéra, 75002 Paris, France

Tel:  +33 1 83 95 21 02


cedric grolet ritratto

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