Satisfy Your Cravings with These Espresso Chocolate Breads

Welcome to my recipe for Pain Au Lait With Espresso, Cardamom, & Chocolate! If you appreciate the artistry that goes into making an exceptional coffee, then you’ll love this recipe. I was inspired by the traditional café au lait, as well as the popular pain au chocolat, to create a sweet bread that combines rich espresso milk and decadent chocolate with the warmth of whole cardamom pods.

It’s the perfect combination – a crusty exterior with a soft and fluffy inside that is lightly scented with cardamom and chocolate-y goodness. This bread recipe can truly make any day feel like a special occasion.

May 1, 2022 is fast approaching, which will mark International Coffee Day – what better way to celebrate than with this indulgent treat? So let’s roll up our sleeves, grab some flour and get started on making this delicious braided cardamom pain au lait chocolate bread!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Pain Au Lait With Espresso, Cardamom, & Chocolate
Pain Au Lait With Espresso, Cardamom, & Chocolate

As a barista who is passionate about coffee and pastries, I can attest to the fact that the Pain Au Lait with Espresso, Cardamom, & Chocolate recipe is bound to become your new favorite breakfast treat.

Firstly, this recipe boasts an impressive list of ingredients that come together in perfect harmony. The combination of bread flour, sugar, sea salt, instant yeast, egg, whole cardamom pods, butter, and milk creates a sweet and savory flavor profile that will leave you craving more. It’s like having a warm hug on the taste buds.

Secondly, this recipe is versatile and can be tailored to your preferences. The addition of ground coffee and chocolate bar adds depth and richness to an already delicious dough. You can also substitute different fillings that complement the main ingredients if you so desire. Whether you are partial to fruits secs or prefer an espresso caramel center, this recipe is customizable.

Lastly, the braided cardamom pain au lait chocolate looks beautiful on any brunch table. Its crispy crust gives way to a soft and tender crumb that melts in your mouth as soon as you take the first bite. Not only does it taste good but it also makes for a great Instagram post!

In conclusion, the Pain Au Lait with Espresso, Cardamom & Chocolate recipe is a balanced blend of flavors perfect for anyone looking for an indulgent breakfast or brunch item that is filling and satisfying. It’s versatile enough for any occasion but impressive enough to wow your guests. Trust me; once you make this recipe, you’ll never go back to plain old toast!

Ingredient List

 Satisfy your morning cravings with this delectable Pain Au Lait recipe
Satisfy your morning cravings with this delectable Pain Au Lait recipe

Ingredients you will need:
For the dough:

  • 4 ½ cups of bread flour
  • 3 whole cardamom pods or ½ teaspoon ground cardamom (freshly crushed is best)
  • 1 tablespoon of instant yeast
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup of milk

For the filling:

  • 1 chocolate bar, chopped into small pieces

For the espresso milk wash:

  • 1 shot of espresso or ½ cup of strong brewed coffee
  • 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
  • ½ cup of milk

To make braided cardamom pain au lait chocolate, you will need ingredients for the dough, filling, and espresso milk wash. The dough includes bread flour, whole cardamom pods or ground cardamom, instant yeast, sugar, sea salt, softened butter, egg, and milk. Chocolate bar is used for the filling. The espresso milk wash is made with a shot of espresso or strong brewed coffee, granulated sugar, and milk.

The Recipe How-To

 The aromatic blend of espresso and cardamom in this pastry is a true flavor bomb
The aromatic blend of espresso and cardamom in this pastry is a true flavor bomb

– 3 cups bread flour
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 2 tablespoons instant yeast
– 1 teaspoon sea salt
– 1/3 cup milk (preferably whole milk)
– 2 eggs (room temperature)
– 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
– 8 whole cardamom pods, ground
– 2 chocolate bars (dark or milk chocolate)


  1. Start by mixing the flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs until combined.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until it forms a shaggy dough.
  4. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.
  5. Add butter and continue kneading for another 10 minutes until you have a smooth dough.
  6. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.
  7. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and knead in the ground cardamom pods and chopped chocolates.
  8. Divide the dough into two equal parts to make two loaves or more if you want to make smaller braided bread.

This braided [cardamom] pain [au lait] recipe yields beautifully plaited loaves that are sure to impress anyone.

  1. Roll out each dough ball into a long rectangle shape about 0.5 cm thick.
  2. Cut slits on both sides of each piece of dough for braiding purpose.
  3. Start at one end and make overlapping strips or braids across its length then tuck in both ends to form one continuous braid pattern, pinch ends to seal.

  4. Place the braided bread on a lined baking sheet and allow them to rise again for an additional hour until they doubled in size.

  5. Preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C with racks positioned in the middle.

  6. Brush with egg wash to promote browning then bake for about 35-40 minutes until crispy crust is achieved.

  7. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack before serving.

This pain au chocolate recipe utilizing espresso caramel sauce is an indulgent delight that is perfectly paired with [coffee / tea].

Serve along with your favorite coffee or tea beverage for an au lait experience that will leave you wanting more!

Substitutions and Variations

This recipe for Pain Au Lait with Espresso, Cardamom & Chocolate can be tweaked to fit your taste and preferred ingredients. Here are some suggestions for substitutions and variations:

– Flour: For a gluten-free option, replace the bread flour with a gluten-free flour blend. However, note that this may affect the texture of the bread.

– Milk: Whole milk is recommended for this recipe, but you can also use almond, soy or oat milk for a vegan version. Keep in mind that each type of milk will change the flavor profile of the bread.

– Chocolate: For a sweeter flavor profile, use milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate in this recipe. Alternatively, try using white chocolate or hazelnut spread for a different twist.

– Cardamom: You can substitute cardamom pods with ground cardamom or other warm spices like cinnamon or nutmeg.

– Espresso: If you don’t have an espresso maker or instant espresso on hand, try using strongly brewed coffee instead.

– Au Chocolat: To make pain au chocolat, cut the dough into rectangles and place a piece of chocolate in the center before rolling it up.

Regardless of what substitutions or variations you choose to make, keep in mind that the resulting bread may have a slightly different taste or texture than the original recipe. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find your own unique twist on this delicious recipe!

Serving and Pairing

When it comes to serving this Pain Au Lait recipe, there are a few different approaches you can take. The sweetness of the bread and chocolate make it an excellent choice for breakfast or brunch. From there, you can decide whether to slice it up and serve it alongside other dishes or keep it whole and serve it as a centerpiece.

For a classic breakfast pairing, I recommend enjoying this Pain Au Lait with a hot cup of coffee, tea, or espresso. You may want to try pairing it with a medium roast coffee or espresso that has notes of chocolate and roasted nuts – this will pair perfectly with the rich chocolate flavor in the bread.

However, don’t feel constricted by breakfast food only! This bread has a sweet undertone that can be warmed up in many ways. Cut pieces of the Pain Au Lait into bite-size portions and add them to a charcuterie board for a fun twist or top off each cut piece with whipped cream and fresh fruit for an elegant dessert.

Regardless of serving style you choose, make sure the bread is still at a warm or room temperature before serving, so you experience its crispy crust-but soft inside freshness.

As for wine pairing options, it can be served with lighter reds like Beaujolais or Australian Soft Reds like Merlot if serving as dessert or alongside charcuterie boards respectively.

Overall, this Pain Au Lait recipe with espresso, cardamom & chocolate is versatile enough to serve in various ways to soothe your palate morning through evening.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

Whether you’re planning a cozy brunch or meal prepping for the busy week ahead, make-ahead and storing options are certainly convenient for pain au lait with espresso, cardamom, and chocolate recipe.

You can prepare the dough in advance according to the recipe instructions and keep it in the refrigerator overnight. This will give time for the dough to develop flavor while keeping it fresh and ready to be shaped and baked in the morning.

Once you have baked your braided cardamom pain, ensure it has cooled completely before storing. To maintain its freshness, place it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. You can store it at room temperature for a maximum of three days or freeze it for more extended freshness up to two to three weeks.

Reheating the pain au lait is a great option if you want to enjoy it warm and crispy again. Set your oven at 350°F (175°C), then tent your braided bread with aluminum foil to prevent burning and heat for ten to fifteen minutes until crispy. You can also microwave individual pieces at high power for about twenty seconds per slice- but this won’t give you the same crispy crust as reheating in an oven.

Now that you know how to make ahead and store braided cardamom pain au lait with chocolate, you need not worry about enjoying its deliciousness anytime and anywhere- be it on a lazy Sunday morning or packing up lunch for work!

Tips for Perfect Results

When it comes to baking bread, there are plenty of variables that can impact the end result. From oven temperature to ingredient freshness, each element affects the texture, flavor, and appearance of the final baked good. To ensure you achieve perfect results with this Pain Au Lait With Espresso, Cardamom, & Chocolate Recipe, here are some tips and tricks to help you along the way.

1. Mind Your Oven Temperature

A consistent oven temperature is crucial when making bread. Too high or too low temperature can lead to uneven heat distribution inside the oven and may cause undercooked or burnt bread. For optimal results, check your oven’s calibration and invest in an oven thermometer if needed.

2. Check Ingredient Freshness

Freshness plays a major role in the quality of the final baked product. Be sure to use fresh ingredients such as butter, yeast, and cardamom pods to ensure maximum flavor and best possible outcome.

3. Knead The Dough Properly

Kneading develops gluten in the dough which gives strength and elasticity to the final product. Without proper kneading technique, bread can come out dense and flat. Be sure to follow the recipe instructions for kneading time and technique.

4. Allow Proper Rising Time

Rising time is essential for a light and airy bread. However, over-rising or under-rising can cause improper texture and density in the baked product. Keep a close eye while proofing and give enough rise time without overproofing the dough.

5. Use Quality Chocolate & Espresso

The chocolate and espresso flavors are prominent elements of this recipe – be sure to choose high-quality products that complement each other well. Look for milk chocolate that isn’t overly sweet, and espresso that has intense caramel notes for best results.

By following these tips and paying attention to details throughout the baking process, you’ll create an incredible Pain Au Lait that will have everyone asking for more!


Before you embark on making this delicious Pain Au Lait with Espresso, Cardamom, and Chocolate recipe, it’s important to go through frequently asked questions to clear any doubts. Here are some common inquiries that might arise as you prepare and enjoy this sweet bread delight.

What is the ratio for cafe au lait?

When it comes to cafe au lait, the golden rule is to maintain a perfect balance between coffee and milk. Typically, one part of each would do the trick, as it creates the most pleasant flavor profile. However, some prefer a higher milk ratio, such as the 2 to 1 in a latte. At our cafe, we aim for the sweet spot of a 1 to 1 ratio, which we find to be smooth and not too overwhelming for the palate.

What does pain au lait mean?

Looking for a delightful bread recipe that’s both sweet and soft? You absolutely must try French milk bread, also known as pain au lait. These buns boast a beautiful golden crust and delightful fluffy texture that makes them a joy to bake and eat. Perfect for serving with butter or using as sandwich bread, this recipe is sure to become a staple in any household.

How do you eat pain au lait?

The labeled instructions state that these particular rolls are called “Pain Au Lait,” which can be translated to mean “Milk Bread.” Despite the humble name, these rolls possess a slight sweetness and elegant appeal. Their moist texture makes them a great pairing for butter and jam, and they are ideal for dipping in coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. This makes them a classic choice for a French breakfast or a quick pick-me-up. The message was posted on November 5, 2017.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this pain au lait with espresso, cardamom, and chocolate recipe is one that every coffee and bread lover should try. The rich flavors of espresso, cardamom, and chocolate elevate the already delicious bread to new heights. This is the perfect pastry to brighten up your breakfast or to snack on throughout the day.

The recipe is easy to follow, and the ingredients list includes simple items that you can find in your kitchen or local grocery store. With a little effort and patience, you can achieve perfect results every time.

Moreover, this braided cardamom pain has a crispy crust that complements its tender crumb perfectly. It goes well with coffee, tea, or even as a sweet bread for brunches or dessert. The versatility of this recipe makes it perfect for any occasion.

Lastly, with tips for perfect results and substitutions variations for those with dietary restrictions, there is no reason not to give this recipe a go! Impress your family and friends with this delightful French pastry.

Don’t wait too long! Grab all the ingredients now and start baking this May 1st, 2022. Trust me, you’ll fall in love with this pain au lait recipe at first bite.

Pain Au Lait With Espresso, Cardamom, & Chocolate Recipe

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.

  • 1 (7 g) package instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 cups bread flour (I use King Arthur Bread flour)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup room temp butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 -10 whole cardamom pods, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons ground espresso or 2 tablespoons other strong coffee
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or 1 cup good quality chocolate bar, broken into small pieces
  • 1 egg, beaten with water, for egg wash
  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.
Breads, Breakfast, Brunch, European

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