The puff pastry is every baker’s dream come true or nightmare, so much can go right or wrong when it comes to this pastry I just love how you can’t really tell for sure how it’s going to turn out. This pastry is the Russian roulette of the 5 basic pastries according to my experience when working with puff pastry. Don’t get me wrong some would find this pastry a hoot to prepare mainly, because it’s great for stress release as you’d be kneading and rolling dough for a couple of hours. Before having your dough ready you’ll get a good wrist, arm and possibly shoulder workout.
This pastry is very popular I mean who doesn’t like a good old steak and kidney or chicken pot pie? Granted there’s so much more that can be done with puff pastry such as sweet desserts with custard, fruit and chocolate fillings and cream toppings.
Why I Like Puff Pastries
I enjoy working with this pastry since it’s also so versatile, crunchy if done right and really tasty. Depending on your skill level making different shapes and designs will really make your dessert station stand out from the rest. The challenge here is the butter incorporation and the temperature of the fridge while the dough is resting. Make sure you don’t over work your dough and give your dough enough resting time. Learn how to master the technique of a puff pastry and prepare it from scratch with the help of this useful step-by-step guide. Your fruit pies and other tasty pastries will reach a new level!
This way, you can follow the instructions one by one, making sure you don’t go wrong at any time in the recipe. I won’t lie to you here, it is definitely no surprise a little technical and it will require both time and patience. If you don’t have either of them at the moment, don’t blame yourself, there is absolutely no shame in it. You can still be a very good baking aficionado without baking your own puff pastry.
Tips About Puff Pastry Recipe
I count 2 tricky parts when making a puff pastry: the folding and turning part of course, and the ability to keep butter inside without poking through it at anytime. The folding and turning part was for sure the one I was most uneasy about, but by following my guidelines step by step, you should be able to do it without getting lost or intimidated. Following recommendations of a Pastry Chef, it’s important to take your time and leave the dough to rest/chill between turns, ideally once or twice during the process. For instance, start with 3 foldings and turnings the day before and the remaining ones on the baking day.
As for the second point, it’s important to be very careful when you flatten the dough so that the butter does not come through at any time. It would damage the dough and make the puff layers uneven, which of course you do not want here. The best way to avoid this phenomenon is to gently flatten the dough with a rolling pin instead of rolling and stretching it out. If it happens to you by accident, don’t feel defeated by trying to hide the buttery part inside the next folding so that it is trapped between two layers of dough. When the puff pastry is ready to use, roll it out and cut 2 circles or a large rectangle, depending on what you want to use it for.
- 2 Bowls one for the dough mix and the other for the possible wastage
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Beans or rice for the blind baking process if needed
- A grater or knife for the butter (Try to keep the room as cold as possible or your hands at least, as you don’t want the butter melting and not properly blending into the flour mix.)
- Rolling pin
- Pastry brush
Preparation time: 1 h 40 m
- 5 cups bread flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups water, or as needed
- 2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature.
Mix together the flour and salt together in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer that is fitted with a dough hook. Gradually stir in cold water until the dough holds together enough to clean the sides of the bowl. Shape into a flat ball and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes.
Place the butter between the two pieces of plastic wrap and then beat into a flat ball using a rolling pin or any other heavy object you may have. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough and shape into a large rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Place the disc of chilled butter in the center and fold the two ends over it so that it is completely encased in dough. Rolling out the dough again, take care not to let the butter seep through the dough, to about 1/2 inch of thickness.
Fold into thirds. This is the first ”turn”. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and roll out into a rectangle again. Fold into thirds. By this time the butter is starting to warm up. Place the dough on a baking sheet and mark it with two pokes from your finger (two turns). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 25-30 minutes.
Repeat this rolling, folding and turning technique two more times, then refrigerate until its firm. Repeat two more times for a total of 6 ”turns”. Wrap and refrigerate. The dough should be ready to roll out at this point and can be used in any recipe calling for puff pastry. Make sure to roll the dough out as thin as 1/4 inch to make the desired pastries. Bake in a preheated oven of 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) to get the maximum puff from your pastry.