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Feb 2, 2014 08:25 AM

Copycat Panera Breakfast Soufflé

I will start by saying that I am not a baker, not by a long shot. On those very rare occasions that I want one of these decadent items from Panera, they are always out. They make one of each in the morning and once they are gone, they are gone. I rarely want one, but when I do... I DO! And it's even more rarely that I actually get one.

So... I'm on a quest to make this at home. My favorite is the 4-cheese, which according to the ingredient list has white cheddar, romano, parmesan and Neufchâtel cheeses. I do like quiche and soufflé, so I think have figured out the filling by trial, error and looking at copycat recipes online.

The crust is the tricky part. It's not quite a puff pastry. It is more of a croissant. It is NOT the pillsbury crescent rolls. That was an epic disaster of taste and texture.

Any thoughts on using the Trader Joe's frozen croissant dough to try to make these? I wonder exactly how, not being a baker and not understanding rising, dough handling, etc.

Here is a link to the nutrition information on the soufflé:

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  1. Croissant dough is puff pastry with leavening (yeast). I imagine you could cut squares of the pastry and place them in over sized muffin cups (Spray with Baker's Joy first). Pat the m down in the middle and pour in your soufflé and then bake.

    Those sound good I may have to give it a try. I have some DuFour chocolate puff pastry on hand and I bet a chocolate soufflé would work in that too.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Candy

      No, puff pastry isn't right. I have tried that. I think it is actually croissant. Not willing (or probably able) to do that from scratch, so looking for a shortcut. Thanks!

      1. re: velochic

        I recommend trying the Dufour brand puff pastry. It's very different from the puff pastry that's available in supermarkets. I've bought other all butter puff pastry dough and they bake up differently than the dufour's brand. It seems like other brands bake up drier and flakier. But the Dufour's is really buttery and softer when baked, more like the Panera's soufflé.

        1. re: bumble

          bumble, where did you find Dufour? I know it's avail at some specialty markets and far pricer but it is delicious.

          The egg custard will also soften the bread once baked. There's plenty of butter in the TJ's version if the OP goes that route.

          1. re: HillJ

            I get mine at Whole Foods in Pennsylvania. I've tried the all butter version from Fresh Direct and it's not the same.

    2. It looks like there is condensed milk and cream cheese in the egg mixture as well...
      Hmm, the other page listed all the ingredients....


        The recipe steps are broken down at the beginning of this video. You can skip the first step and make an egg custard batter, add your toppings and bake low and slow in the oven so the egg cooks and the premade bread isn't over cooked.

        8 Replies
        1. re: HillJ

          Unfortunately, that video is just an advertisement. There is no instruction there, thank you, though.

          1. re: velochic

            I watched the video. While the steps go fast you can def. figure out how they are doing this recipe. If you're using a premade croissant half the recipe is already done. What's left is the egg custard recipe and the toppings. Really not hard.

            1. re: HillJ

              No, I know how to do the custard recipe. This video doesn't help me because I've already gotten that far.

              My issue is the dough. I've used Pillsbury Crescent Rolls to do it and they were not right - chemical-tasting and wrong texture. The custard is figured out, so I'm not asking about that.

              My issue is how to deal with the crust.

              I'm not a baker and I need to know HOW to utilize the Trader Joe's croissant dough. That is my question. Next step... can I use the TJ dough, and if so, HOW? It rises as it thaws.

              I hope I've clarified. Any help is appreciated!

              1. re: velochic

                I tried answer your question about the dough in a comment box using TJ's croissants. I'm following you. Maybe you're not seeing my comments. Best of luck.

                1. re: velochic

                  i am not sure that the TJ's dough will work. what exactly is in there croissant dough? the ingredients for panera's "croissant dough" include vital wheat gluten, eggs, and xanthan gum. in addition to butter, flour, yeast, sugar, salt, milk, etc. i think the wheat gluten and xanthan gum create a more durable, hearty dough than a traditional croissant dough, and the eggs will increase rise.

                  if you want to give it a go with the TJ's, you could try thawing the dough in the fridge to prevent rising, then unroll them and right away place them in the baking tins. put the tins back in the fridge while you prepare the filling to inhibit the rising. fill and bake.

                  1. re: Emme

                    Even in the fridge the TJ's croissant dough will rise. They are sold frozen, so after they defrost they will rise.

                    1. re: HillJ

                      interesting… having not worked with the TJ's dough, do you think it would possibly work to defrost, deflate, put in tins, then freeze… fill with the egg mixture to sort of weight the pastry down, put in fridge to semi-rise, then bake? (i am only asking bc the OP said she doesn't bake… i would make my own croissant dough with a number of changes, but OP expressed interest in trying to work with the TJ's dough…)

                      1. re: Emme

                        I think the OP's onto something simple and doable with the TJ's dough. It will def. be a big step up
                        from Pillsbury dough.

                        My husband enjoys the Panera breakfast souffles so I'm familiar enough with the product. The egg custard is whipped and poured around the bread just enough to fill the middle and coat the bread. The video shows toppings sprinkled on top but when we inquired at the store we were told the fillings are added to the egg custard, poured over the dough and baked until the egg custard puffs. As they cool, they deflate. Their ovens are also top heat, not bottom heat.

                        So recreation using TJ's dough, defrosted and baked to the half way point, then pour the custard (with your variations added or not) should result in something close to the Panera product. Egg custards vary but I would recommend one like this that already has the cheese in the batter and then riff from there.

                        Just don't overfill each cup.

          2. I appreciate the replies. The custard, the filling, I got. Or it is close enough. That's not the problem. It's the crust. I am wondering if there is a way to use the Trader Joe's frozen croissants to use those as a crust. I guess that is the main question. Thanks!

            1 Reply
            1. re: velochic

              If you decide you use TJ croissants (I have plenty in my own freezer) let them rise overnight. Bake them off for half the time. Line them in a large cupcake tin once cooled down. Add the egg custard, add the toppings and bake. Keep an eye on them and you should be fine.

            2. there are a bunch of copycat recipes on the interwebs. Mostly for other "flavors" of their breakfast soufflés, though.

              I really didn't parse through them but maybe one will lend a clue.