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Pain Au Lait With Espresso, Cardamom, & Chocolate

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“A decadent and sweet bread perfect for breakfast with coffee or tea. This recipe can take up to two days to complete, so please be aware if you are making it for a special occasion. I shaped my dough into 3 small loaves and snipped the tops with kitchen shears to achieve a spiked effect, after egg washing. It will be tempting to devour these right away, but be warned, the longer you can wait to tear into them, the less gooey and messy the chocolate inside will be. In the recipe I call for semi-sweet chips, but a large bar of good quality chocolate broken into small pieces would be fantastic as well. I started my batch early in the day and finally enjoyed a fragrant, delectable slice, complete with oozing melted chocolate, around 7:30pm, if that helps put the time frame into perspective. Next time, I plan on shaping my dough into smaller balls, to maximize the gorgeous, shiny crust and I will start the recipe the evening before so I can just take the dough out when I get up and shape the dough once it has warmed up closer to room temperature.”
8hrs 30mins
3 small loaves

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. in a small sauce pan add the milk, crushed cardamom pods, and ground espresso. Heat on low setting for approximately 30 minutes, to fully infuse the espresso and cardamom in the milk.
  2. while the milk is steeping measure flour into a stand mixer mixing bowl. once the milk has finished steeping strain through cheese cloth or a coffee filter in a strainer. let milk cool down to warm but not hot. Add the yeast, sugar, and salt to the warm milk and let it sit for 5-10 minutes or until the yeast begins to activate and become foamy.
  3. add the milk mixture to the flour and let mix on stand mixer with dough hook, until all the ingredients come together, about 3-5 minutes on med-low speed. The mixture will be dry and possibly crumbly, do not add more milk. Now, add the egg and let mix for 5 minutes. Add a few teaspoons of flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the sides of the bowl so badly, it tends to be a sticky mess once the egg goes inches Next, add the 1/2 cup (1 stick) of room temperature butter and let mix again for approximately 5 minutes. Adding a few teaspoons of flour as necessary to help with sticking. By now the dough should be a tan color from the espresso and moderately soft and springy.
  4. Place the dough in a large, well oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel and set aside to rise in a warm, draft-free area for approximately 60-90 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size. Lightly press the down on the dough in the bowl to release some of the air trapped inside. Recover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for at least 4-6 hours, and up to overnight.
  5. Remove dough from the refrigerator and let sit on the counter for at least an hour, to get back to room temperature. Once dough has warmed up, cut into 3 pieces. Take each piece and press it into a rectangle or oval shape and spread the some of the chocolate chips or chocolate bar pieces in a line down the center, keeping the chocolate and inch away from the edges. Pinch the outside edges closed and shape into a small loaf. Repeat with the 2 remaining pieces of dough. Place loaves, seam side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel and let rise until they are 1 1/2 times in size.
  6. Take the remaining egg and a splash of water and beat thoroughly, brush the egg wash on the 3 loaves and decoratively cut or slash the loaves to your liking with a lame or serrated knife. I used kitchen shears to make spiky snips on mine. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, turning occasionally, until crust is shiny and deeply colored. Or until the bottom of each loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
  7. Let the loaves cool on metal cooling racks until no longer warm to the touch. Room temperature is best. If you try to eat them hot, just be aware that the chocolate will be liquidy and quite hot. It is best to let them sit at least 2-3 hours after baking. Enjoy these incredibly fragrant and soft coffee rolls with coffee, espresso, or a good, strong black breakfast tea.

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