Viennoise, or Vienna bread, is an enriched, slightly sweet French bread. It can be make plain or in this case with chocolate chips to yield Viennoise au Chocolat! What a delicious way to start the day!
(This recipe was originally published in July 2019, but was updated with new photos and content in 2020)
During a trip to Paris in 2019 I enjoyed many spectacular pastries and breads. In fact, nearly every morning I visited La Maison d'Isabelle for some morning treats. My first visit to this award-winning bakery in the Latin Quarter consisted of a croissant, a pain aux raisins, and a Viennoise au chocolat.
My mom and I shared all of these delicious French treats, but the Viennoise au chocolat in particular we took with us on our morning escapades and enjoyed it while sitting on a bench in the Champ de Mars while gazing at the Eiffel Tower. It’s a food memory I’ll never forget.
I had eaten many of the first two pastries in my life. They are old favorites. This, however, was my first time enjoying a Viennoise, or Vienna bread. It's shaped like a short baguette, and is made with enriched dough, which means it contains butter, milk, and eggs.
This makes the dough richer from the added fat, and therefore the crumb is also soft and more delicate, while the crust is firm but not crackly. The dough itself isn't too sweet, but that's where the chocolate chips come into play. The textures and flavors are well-balanced. It has richness without feeling too heavy.
How does it compare to other French pastries and breads
This recipe is much easier than attempting laminated dough for croissants and the like. If you are looking to make some homemade French-inspired treats, then this Viennoise au chocolat recipe is for you!
Vienna bread only requires about 1 ½ to 2 total hours of proofing, and minimal kneading and shaping. In bread time, that's actually not that bad! Especially when the pay off is full of gooey chocolate chips. Mmmmmm.
The flavor and texture of these Viennoises remind me slightly of chorek, a beloved Armenian egg bread typically made for Easter. These Viennoises are extra special because of the molten dots of chocolate throughout.
You can certainly make the classic version and omit the chocolate if you prefer. But let’s be honest. Everything’s better with chocolate! Bon Appetit!
How to make them
Warm up some milk and heavy cream, then stir in the dry active yeast. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl whisk together melted butter and sugar (PHOTO 1). Then beat in an egg (PHOTO 2), followed by the milk and yeast mixture (PHOTO 3).
Once the mixture is smooth, add your flour in a couple additions, mixing until it’s a shaggy mass (PHOTO 4). Knead the dough until all the flour is absorbed and the dough is relatively smooth, a few minutes. No need to overdo it (PHOTO 5). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, and set it in a warm place to proof until about double in size (PHOTO 6).
Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the dough and knead them in. You may want to fold the dough over onto itself a few times to just and distribute them evenly (PHOTO 7). Divide the dough into 4 or 8 equal pieces, depending on the size you want your Viennoise to be.
Shape the pieces of dough into small loaves with slightly tapered ends, set them onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet (PHOTO 8), cover with a towel, and let them rise for another 30 minutes.
Uncover the loaves and brush the tops and sides with egg wash. Then cut a few slits diagonally across the top of each loaf with a very sharp knife (PHOTO 9). Bake until the loaves are dark golden brown on the outside (PHOTO 10).
Cool your Viennoises slightly, and serve them warm or at room temperature. These French chocolate chip breads are best when the chocolate is still gooey!
Store them for several days in a covered container at room temperature. I recommend refreshing them in the oven before enjoying them in the following days. You can also wrap them in foil, transfer to a freezer bag and freeze them for about 1 month. Make sure you completely thaw them in the refrigerator before you refresh them in the oven to eat.
To refresh your Viennoise au chocolat, simply heat up your oven or toaster oven to about 350°F and warm them up for a few minutes until they are warm and the chocolate chips have melted again. This part isn’t an exact science. You just want to heat them through until the chocolate is gooey.
I have made this Vienna bread recipe with both sizes and I prefer making 8 smaller loaves. It works well as 4 larger loaves (as pictured at the top of this post), but those are much better for sharing. The 8 loaves bake faster and they are a good size in my opinion for a breakfast treat. Don’t feel compelled to share! You earned this!
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Viennoise au Chocolat (Vienna Bread with Chocolate)
- ⅓ cup + 2 tablespoons milk
- ⅓ cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 10 grams (1 tablespoon) active dry yeast
- 75 grams (⅓ cup) unsalted butter, melted
- 30 grams (scant 3 tablespoons) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 475 grams (scant 4 cups) all-purpose flour
- 145 grams (¾ cup) regular or mini chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- In a small saucepan over medium-low, heat the milk and cream to 110°F (40°C). Be careful not to overheat it or it will kill the yeast. If you accidentally overheat, let cool to 110°F (40°C). Add the yeast and mix to combine.
- In a large bowl whisk together the melted butter and sugar, then beat in the egg and the milk-yeast mixture until smooth. Add the flour in a couple additions, mixing well after each. Knead the dough until it’s completely smooth and soft and all the flour is absorbed.
- Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rise, preferably in a warm spot, for about 1 to 1 ½ hours or until nearly doubled in size.
- Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the dough and knead the chocolate chips into the dough until they are evenly distributed.
- Divide the dough into 4 or 8 equal pieces. It’s easiest to weigh the dough and then divide the weight by the number of pieces you plan to cut, and then cut pieces of that size (if your dough is 970 grams, divide it into four 241 to 242 gram pieces or eight 120 to 121 gram pieces).
- Shape the pieces of dough into small oblong loaves with slightly tapered ends. Don’t make the centers too fat or they won’t bake through evenly.
- Arrange the mini loaves on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, cover with a towel and let them rise at room temperature for another 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 475°F (250°C), with the rack in the center of the oven.
- Uncover the loaves, brush the tops and sides with the egg wash, then use a sharp knife to cut a few diagonal slashes across the top. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes for smaller loaves, or 12 to 14 minutes for larger loaves, or until dark golden brown (the visual cues are more important than exact times, as ovens can vary).
- Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. It’s best if the chocolate chips are still gooey!
- I have made this recipe with both sizes and I prefer making 8 smaller loaves. It works well as 4 larger loaves, but those are much better for sharing. The 8 loaves bake faster and they are a good size in my opinion for a breakfast treat.
- The Viennoises in Paris are often made with mini chocolate chips to complement the small size of the bread, but I often make them with regular sized chocolate chips as they are always stocked in my pantry and easier for me to use. You can use either size for yours.
- Store in a covered container at room temperature for several days, or wrap them in foil, transfer to a freezer bag, and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw completely in the refrigerator before refreshing them to eat.
- Here's how to refresh these loaves in the days following: heat your oven or toaster oven to 350°F. Reheat the Viennoises for about 5 minutes (give or take) until they are warmed through and the chocolate chips have melted.
- Adapted from Une Plume dans la Cuisine
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*