Valrhona Dulcey Project, Part Deux: “Dulcey” de Leche

To compliment our Dulcey viennoise, Alen and I decided to make the ultimate in spreadable accoutrements- the deepest, darkest confiture de lait enhanced with the newest in the line of “blonde” chocolates from Valrhona, Dulcey. We call this, (obviously!) “Dulcey de Leche.”

We start with a few key ingredients for our dulce de leche base – Straus Dairy milk, goat’s milk, a vanilla bean (split and scraped) and a few whole coffee beans – and combined all of these in a medium-large pot over a steady flame. We like the tang of the goat’s milk with the sweet, caramelized Dulcey – a great addition of acidity to the rich chocolate. Once our milk base begins to simmer, we remove the pot from the heat and carefully add sugar and a small amount of baking soda – the dairy will bubble up quite a bit, so we always use a pot that will be large enough to keep the milk from frothing over.

The milk jam is now ready for a long, steady reduction and caramelization. The base should simmer, not boil, and any foam should be skimmed from the surface and discarded. As the dulce de leche cooks, the color will deepen from white, to tan, to caramel to a deep caramel mahogany, and it will become much more viscous. It is a very interesting process to watch.

When the dulce de leche has reduced to the proper consistency, it is passed through a chinois to remove the vanilla and coffee beans. Now we are ready to create an emulsion with Valrhona Dulcey chocolate and our dulce de leche – the ultimate caramelized milk spread.

We melt the Dulcey to 40C and slowly add in the dulce de leche base, going little by little to create a stable, elastic and shiny emulsion. The color contrast of the chocolate and the milk jam is beautiful.

Dulce meets Dulcey
Dulce meets Dulcey

Once the emulsion is formed, we add a pinch of sel gris to enhance and round out the flavor.

And, finally, after nearly 3 hours, our “Dulcey” de Leche is finished! The flavor is incredible – mellow notes of milk with vanilla and a hint of coffee flavor, smooth and creamy powerhouse of caramel that melts of the palate and an amazing touch of acidity from the goat’s milk that balances the sweetness of the product. The color is a shiny and deep caramelized milk color with flecks and specks of vanilla bean – and the texture is smooth and spreadable cream, similar to a soft ganache with a slight crunch of grey sea salt. We are so pleased with with the finished product and can’t wait to try it with our Valrhona Dulcey Viennose!

“Dulcey” de Leche
750g organic milk
250g goat’s milk
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
10 each whole coffee beans
250g granulated sugar
10g baking soda
4g grey sea salt
-Bring milks and aromatics to a simmer, remove from heat and whisk in sugar and baking soda, combined.
-Return to medium low heat and simmer, skimming impurities from the surface, until deep, dark mahogony in color.
-Pass dulce de leche through a chinois and weigh. (We were left with 360g of dulce de leche base after 2 hours and 45 minutes of reduction.)
-Scale into a bowl an equal amount of Valrhona Dulcey chocolate and melt to 40C.
-Slowly add and emulsify the dulce de leche base to the chocolate in three additions, mixing with a spatula to introduce the two components. Initially, the chocolate may seize slightly, but will even out once the remainder of the dulce de leche is introduced and the balance of fat and liquid is stabilized.
-Once the Dulcey de Leche has cooled slightly, mix in the grey sea salt, in order to preserve the integrity of the course crystals.
-Pour into a sealable container and store at room temperature to crystallize.
-Enjoy on toast, ice cream or in your coffee!

Valrhona Dulcey Project, Part Un: Dulcey Viennoise

Alen and I left the Valrhona New Americana class completely inspired and ready to put Dulcey chocolate to the test. On the ride home to Los Angeles, we were brainstorming, and came up with a great collaborative idea, which we dubbed our “Dulcey Project.”

The first part of the collaboration was to create a beautiful soft breakfast bread incorporating Valrhona’s newest chocolate addition, Dulcey. This “blonde” chocolate is sweet and milky with soft and creamy caramel notes that just don’t quit. We figured that tucking into a fresh warm viennoise with chunks of caramelized chocolate wouldn’t be a bad start to our morning, even if it wasn’t a total success.

Unfortunately, none of the Dulcey Viennoise even made it long enough to last for breakfast. The toasted and roasted flavor of the chocolate intensified the sweet richness of the bread, and some chocolate pieces became even more caramelized as it baked. The viennoise and Dulcey complimented each other perfectly.

Alen began by roughly chopping the Dulcey in the robot-coupe to create chocolate chunks to incorporate into the dough. After that, gathering mise en place and getting ready to mix. Our viennoise is a simple rich dough with plenty of milk, eggs and butter, along with flour, sugar, salt and yeast.

Shaping 300g loaves
Shaping 300g loaves

Next, after about an hour proofing, we egg wash, score and top with pearl sugar, which provides a great contrasting crrrrunch to the soft bread.

Finally, we bake at 325F, high fan for around 14 minutes. The finished product is golden with extra caramelized pieces of Dulcey chooclate peeping through the crust.

Finished Dulcey Boule
Finished Dulcey Boule

After the tortuous wait for the bread to cool, we sliced one of the boules to find our treasure – the Dulcey had melted slightly to create caramelized chocolate pockets throughout the crumb. Now, onto the second leg of our Dulcey journey – creating the ultimate “Dulcey de Leche” spread for our amazing viennoise! Stay tuned for the Valrhona Dulcey Project, Part Deux!






The rich, light and fruity bread that the Milanese call¬†pan del ton, which translates to “bread of luxury” is what we, here in the US, commonly refer to as panettone. I like to think of it as my little holiday bonus – a true luxury and Christmas tradition for Alen and I. Every year, as Christmas approaches, I begin to dream of thick slices of panettone, my all time favorite bread.

Alen begins to macerate fruit for our panettone a couple of weeks before we mix. Candied orange and lemon peel, golden and dark sultanas and when we feel like it, candied chestnuts, all get to know each other in a sweet syrup, spiked with orange blossom water and dark rum. Just like at the holiday office party, a little booze goes a long way, and before you know it, everybody’s best friends. We also add chunks of dark chocolate to our panettone, but not until the mixing begins.

Panettone Dough
Panettone Dough

Once we’ve mixed the dough, the fermentation process takes the most time – 15-20 hours, depending on the temperature of the room and of the dough. The benefit to such a long fermentation is a beautiful marriage of flavors as well as a light, airy and moist crumb.

When we are ready to bake, the risen dough gets topped with a soft croustillant, which will bake into a crusty, crunchy crust – and will serve as a barrier to keep the moisture inside of the bread, once it is baked, in order to prolong the shelf life of the panettone. We garnish with whole almonds and pearl sugar and we are ready to bake!

Ready to Bake
Ready to Bake

When the panettone comes out of the oven, it is important to preserve the integrity of that light airy structure that we worked so hard to develop. Large breads like this will quickly deflate and sink, which will lead to a dense final product. The solution is to hang the fresh from the oven panettones upside down until they are completely cool – and have no chance of collapsing. The hanging loaves are giant Christmas ornaments, ready to be unwrapped and treasured.

Hang Time
Hang Time

Waiting for them to cool is a painstaking practice of patience – but so worth it in the end. The scent of citrus and orange blossom with roasted almonds, dark chocolate and rum raisins mingling with freshly baked sweet, buttery bread is absolutely divine – and the taste is well worth the wait. And speaking of waiting –¬† only 9 months to go until it’s time once again to begin the beautiful process of our panettone. Already dreaming of this year’s holiday bonus!!!