Monday, January 18, 2010

Puff Pastry de-mystified!

I think that tackling making puff pastry at home probably is one of the more daunting doughs that exists for most people. This dough is actually quite easy and outside of requiring a time commitment, can be made quite easily. When I needed some Zen time at the restaurant, this is usually were I turned. Following are the ingredients that you will need:

500 grams AP Flour
2 tsp Salt
275ml Cold Water
125 grams Butter, melted
350 grams Buerrage ( butter block)

First step is weigh out all of your ingredients and have ready to roll. You can combine the flour and salt.

Next lay out a piece of plastic wrap and place your Buerrage butter on top, and cover with another piece of wrap. It is best to use as large of pieces of butter as possible, ie; cut down a 1 lb block to get your 350 grams as this step will work better. Next take a rolling pin and beat the butter down into a rectangle about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick by about 4-5 inches wide by 6-7 inches long. Yo will need to flip it over several times to keep it even, beating on the sides to keep it square. Place this into the refrigerator to firm up.
Next you need to mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, make a bowl with your flour/salt and add the water, using a fork, mix in the sides a little at a time until you have mixed in all 275 ml's of the water, next add the melted butter and stir this in as well. At this point you will have a slightly wet dough, knead for a few minutes until it comes together, then form into a rectangle about the same size as the butter. Put this in the refrigerator and let this firm up as well. Usually at least 1 hour is required but overnight is fine too.

After your dough is firm, remove and place on a lightly floured work space. Roll out the corners, as shown, leaving a hump of dough in the middle. The flaps should be big enough to cover the buerrage.

Add your buerrage on top of the hump and press down slightly. Now you are ready to start the layering process. Fold over the flaps, with doing the ones that are across from each other, so top and bottom and left and right. Make sure you brush the flour off each time you fold up a flap.

Now you are going to turn the dough so that the last flap you folded over, would open like a book, if you opened it. At this point, use your rolling pin to square up the dough.
Using your rolling pin, press down up and down the dough to spread the dough and butter out. Then begin rolling out your dough, adding flour to the work surface if needed, and keeping the sides very square. Roll the dough out until it is at least the length of your pin or longer.

Next starting at either the top or bottom, fold the dough in so that it would be 3 equal pieces. Always brushing off the flour.

Re-orient your dough, so that it opens like a book and repeat the roll out process. Re-fold the dough again. Then wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. The butter at this point has become very soft and needs to firm up, or else it will start melting too much into the dough. When firm, remove and orient the dough, so it opens like a book and repeat the process 2 more times. At this point you are done and have successfully made your dough! Cut off what you need and freeze the rest. This dough freezes quite well.

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