2 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp sugar
2/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg plus 4 large egg yolks
Seeds from 1 plumped vanilla bean
2 2/3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1. To make the detrempe, sprinkle the yeast over 1/3 cup warm milk and leave for 5 minutes. Whisk well and add to the mixer bowl, add the sugar and the remaining 1/3 cup of cold milk.
2. Add the egg, yolks and vanilla seeds to the yeast mixture, mix with the paddle attachment on low speed, add 2 cups of flour and salt to the bowl. Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft, sticky dough. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface, knead for a minute to smooth out the surface and shape into a ball.
3. Dust a half sheet pan with flour, place the dough onto the pan and cut an X about 1 inch deep in the top of the ball. Sprinkle with flour and refrigerate.
4. Immediately make the beurrage. Clean the mixer bowl and paddle attachment. Add the butter to the bowl and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the flour and continue beating for another 30 seconds. Transfer to the work surface, and shape into a 4 inch square. Place on the sheet pan along with the detrempe and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
5. Flour the work surface, place the dough on the work surface with the ends of the X at 2, 4, 7 and 10 o'clock. Dust the top of the dough with flour and using the heel of your hand, flatten and stretch each quadrant to make a cloverleaf shape. Using a rolling pin roll each leaf into a flap about 6 inches long and 5 inches wide, leaving a raised square in the middle.
6. Place the butter square in the center. Gently stretch and pull the north facing flap of dough down to cover the top and sides of the butter square. Then stretch the south facing flap of dough up to cover the top and sides of the butter square. Turn the dough so that the open ends of the square face north and south, repeat folding the flaps of dough over the butter square, making a butter filled packet of dough about 6 inches square.
7. Turn the dough over so that the folded flaps are face down with the open seam facing you. Using a rolling pin lightly pound the top of the dough to widen it slightly and help distribute the butter. Roll the dough into a 17 by 9 inch rectangle, fold into thirds and transfer to a sheet pan and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
8. Place the dough back on the work surface with the long open seam of dough facing you. Roll out the dough into a 17 by 9 inch rectangle, fold the right side over 2 inches to the left and fold the left side over to meet the right side. Fold the dough in half vertically from left to right, return to the sheet pan and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
9. Repeat rolling the dough into a 17 by 9 inch rectangle, folding into thirds and cut the dough in half. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and freeze for 2-4 days.
10. The night before using the dough, transfer to the refrigerator and let thaw overnight.
To make the pain au chocolat
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