Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

puff pastry question


cteavin
 Share

Recommended Posts

I can roll a good puff pastry. However, I always get a a bit of oil at the bottom during baking and I've wondered if that was normal and if there were any techniques to prevent this or to sop up that extra butter oil after it comes out of the oven.

Also, has anyone here ever experimented with different fats in the puff? I sometimes do a 50/50 lard (with a bit more oil bleeding out) but this evening I used 50/50 butter and cocoa butter. The rise wasn't as high but it was extremely crispy, almost crunchy and quite a bit of oil bled away.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, cteavin.

Are you doing a classic puff pastry or an inverted one? What is your ratio of fat to détrempe? What temperature are you baking at? How thin are you rolling the pastry before baking? How long do you chill the pastry between each turn and also before baking?

This is not a problem I've ever seen but maybe with a bit more information someone can help.

Yours,

Richard

===================================================

I kept a blog during my pâtisserie training in France: Candid Cake

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for replying.

I only make classic puff pastry.

The temperature depends on what I'm using it for, wrapped around, say, spinach and mushrooms, I bake at about 180 C for an hour, if I want small shapes 220 degrees until crispy and well risen.

Generally, I stick with a ration of 50/50 dough to butter or dough to fat but I occasionally do 60 to 40.

I sometimes make the dough over the day, do the first turn in the morning, as second and third around lunch, a third and fourth around dinner and a final two before bed. The next day I use the dough. Sometimes I can only chill the dough 30 minutes between turns.

Since this is Japan, I've always assumed that 1) the fat ratio in the butter is higher, so the oil at the foot of the pastry or 2) there is more water/moisture in the butter.

What do you all think?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Any chance you could take a photo of, say, some small puff pieces (without any fillings) on the baking tray to show what has leaked?

There may be more moisture in your butter (sometimes in France they use an extra dry butter especially for feuilletage); but that moisture ought simply to evaporate and should not cause any fat to leak.

In my references there is a slightly higher ratio of dough to fat but around the 60:40 mark. Have you ever tried a 70:30? Are you using standard flour?

An excellent mystery. Anyone have any ideas?

===================================================

I kept a blog during my pâtisserie training in France: Candid Cake

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How thin are you rolling out inbetween tours?

Admittedly, I haven't done puff by hand since culinary school, but I do it by machine (dough sheeter) about once a week. If you roll out thinner than 10 mm (aprox 3/8") you tend to squish the layers and fat does ooze out when baked, and the rise isn't as high as normal.

There are a series of photos on th Richemont Baking school books, "Perfect bakery and confectionary" explaining this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll make one later in the week and post photos. Interesting to me was that when I change the fat the amount of fat that seeps out is much greater.

Flour: I use a mix of AP to Cake, roughly 2 to 1 (trying to achieve something close to pastry flour). Now that I think of it, it could be that the protein content of the flours is to low to absorb the fat as it should. And I haven't tried a 70:30 but that would be fun to try this week.

For thickness, not very thin. I've not measured with a ruler; I usually roll it out the the same area each time. I'd guess half the thickness of the first phalange of my index finger which is greater than 10mm.

Has anyone used a mixture of butter and other fats?

It's funny Richard mentioned inverted puff pastry because I've been wanting to try that. My feeling is the extra flour in the butter will absorb that moisture I'm complaining about. What do you think?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rickster, I have seen this problem with croissants before. Thanks for the reminder.

It usually results from the layers of the pastry being crushed... i.e. they have been rolled too thinly or the textures of the butter/détrempe were different or the rolling has been uneven. If the butter is harder or softer than the détrempe when you come to combine/roll out you will end up with what the French call 'marbrage' (marbling) rather than separate layers. This can cause the fat to run out. In fact, this might be cteavin's problem.

To get round this problem of marbrage:

1. When combining the butter and détrempe on the first turn, ensure the textures are the same. This might mean taking either part out of the fridge for half an hour to bring it closer to room temperature -- or putting one part in the freezer if the textures are softer. Does that make sense?

2. When rolling out be very careful to apply even pressure with the rolling pin in all directions. I.e. press evenly with both hands and when pushing back and forth try and keep constant pressure. If the pastry starts to warm up do not hesitate to pop it back in the fridge.

3. Do not roll the pastry too thinly during the turns. If you roll thinly, some of the layers risk breaking through which defeats the object. It seems this is easier to do with a leavened puff pastry... when I was at school we did just the initial combining turn, a double turn and one single turn on our leavened puff pastry.

I hope all of this is clear.

Richard

PS Re using other fats -- the French would die if you suggested using lard in puff pastry. I understand a lot of pâtissiers use margarine and a special grade margarine is available just for making puff pastries. I don't see why on couldn't use a mixture of margarine and butter (for flavour) - or even other fats. But what would be the aim?

===================================================

I kept a blog during my pâtisserie training in France: Candid Cake

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is very interesting. My background in this is only from reading books, and most do not seem to give any instruction on texture. In fact, I believe that implicitly butter will usually be firmer than the detrempe, if you follow their instructions. Having said this, my most successful croissant recipe, from the San Francisco bakery Tartine, does follow a procedure that gets you close to a consistent texture in both components.

I also notice at times that the butter seems to fracture into small pieces in the layers - not sure if this is what is meant by marbrage. This seems to happen more on the second and any subsequent turn. I also wonder if it could be the result of a higher water content butter causing the butter to be less pliable than "dry" butter. Or would the reverse be the case?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Rickster,

I'll do me best to answer your questions although I am sure those with more experience will chime in.

The texture point is, as you say, rarely mentioned in print but something which was rammed home at school. The butter is indeed likely to be firmer. I tend to chill the butter and détrempe for as long as possible, then I pop the butter out on the worksurface (in cellophane) until it softens to match the texture of the détrempe. That is for the inverted puff pastry we normally use where the butter has already been thoroughly mixed with flour. For croissants and classic puff I prefer the opposite approach. Once the détrempe is fully chilled I prepare the butter (also chilled) by softening it in a silpat with a rolling pin (this softens it without raising the temperature too much). Once knocked into the desired shape I then pop it into the fridge to harden as much as the détrempe. But there are many ways to achieve the same.

Your point about small pieces of butter is exactly what marbrage is. It is often visible through the pastry. If you think about the mechanics of how the pastry is going to rise, if the butter is in small pieces it is not creating a complete impermeable layer to trap the steam. I am afraid I am not in a position to comment about water content. But you should be able to make a decent puff with any decent quality butter.

Here is a quick post I made a while ago on inverted puff pastry: http://candidcake.blogspot.com/2009/04/puff-magic-dragon.html

And here is a little snap of a Pithiviers I made with inverted puff pastry:

Pithiviers 2 goodie.JPG

===================================================

I kept a blog during my pâtisserie training in France: Candid Cake

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the insight.

FYI, if my recollection is correct, the Tartine recipe calls for beating the butter in a mixer until just spreadable with an offset spatula. You then spread it on the detrempe, rather than beating the butter block with a rolling pin (the usual approach).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You might have something there. Pounding the butter into submission is the hardest part of making puff pastry for me. I don't get the marbling, at least none that's visible, but it's possible that's the problem. I'll have some time later today. I'll practice making a couple, take some photos and try your suggestions for getting them the same temperature and consistency.

Why change the fats? Only to see what happens. For example, when I changed to a mixture with lard it rose slightly higher but bled out which could have more to do with texture of the fat layer.

As for experimenting, I once had a mile high rise by adding bakers amonia to the flour before mixing the dough. For me, trying new things is half the fun of cooking. :biggrin:

And that photo, g e o r g e o u s.

Edited by cteavin (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

the Tartine recipe calls for beating the butter in a mixer until just spreadable with an offset spatula. You then spread it on the detrempe, rather than beating the butter block with a rolling pin (the usual approach).

If the butter is spreadable with a spatula that would strike me as far too soft -- and very likely to lead to the marbling you describe. You could use that technique to get the butter into the right shape but I would then want to fridge it again to harden it up a bit.

Re pounding the butter, to get it nice and neat as in the first photo in the link above, I used a guitar (thick flexible plastic) sheet. If you roll out the butter inside the sheet (folded to make an envelope) you get a very clean result. You can see the edge of the sheet in the photo.

I have heard of pâtissiers using baking powder in their puff pastry for extra lift...

===================================================

I kept a blog during my pâtisserie training in France: Candid Cake

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I'm having the same problem only I knew about it before I even popped it in the oven. Actually, that's how I ended up on this forum - Google led me to this post!

My problem is that I don't know how to fix it. I can see the butter marbling and breaking into pieces and then popping out of the dough, I just don't know how to stop it from happening. Granted, I've only tried puff pastry twice and it is slightly better the second go around, but it's still a mess.

Any suggestions for avoiding the problem? I thought I had the detrempe and butter block the same consistency this time and I only rolled in one direction (unlike last time - I didn't realize that was important). Anything else critical I'm missing? I sure wish I had someone to show me, but I'm an amateur home cook.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm just an amateur home cook too, and it's hard to say much of use because everything has already been said so many times about this.

I can only say that when I have had trouble it has been for one of the following reasons:

1. My butter has been too hard in the early stages. I think that getting the butter properly prepped -- which for me means in a thinnish block pressed out between cling and then well chilled, which I can bash down with a rolling pin to final size just before incorporation. I find that if I try to work up a solid store-size block just before incorporation, I have to overwork it and it begins to get oily. What I want is something that's almost the right size, but which I can bash out a bit more with minimal handling just before incorporation.

2. My detrempe has been too soft (and in particular too warm) during the early stages, or my proto-dough has been too warm at any point. Chill chill chill. It's really important to give the detrempe a good 2 hours in the fridge before trying to incorporate the butter, and to rest it properly between turns (I'd give it a good hour). It's alarming how rapidly it warms once you start rolling and working it anyway. As a beginners tip, although the recipes will always tell you to give turns in twos, I can't see any harm in chilling the dough down between individual turns if you think it's getting too hot.

3. Not enough flour on the surface. Once the dough starts sticking it becomes very difficult, and layers tear easily. Butter begins to come through and it goes from bad to worse. You have to take care to use plenty of flour on the surface as you roll, but then you also need a pastry brush or similar to brush excess flour off as you fold. If there is any sticking at all, be careful to clean the surface thoroughly before proceeding with the next turn, because once dough has started sticking it tends to go right on.

4. Not working quickly enough. This is a kicker. It means, really, that early efforts are ALMOST BOUND to fall short, because the process is unfamiliar, so one works tentatively and slowly. As you do it more, and get used to what you are doing, you can work much more quickly each time you have to handle the dough, and this is what pastry loves -- a decisive and swift hand.

5. Not getting the butter properly enclosed. This only happened to me once or twice. I know there are different methods of encapsulating the butter in the detrempe at first, but whatever method you use, you need to take care to make sure that the butter is going to start the whole process in clear layers, because if it doesn't it won't finish that way.

And above all, bear in mind that less-than-perfect puff pastry is not a disaster ... it's still delicious.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder if one of the problems amateur home bakers like me have with the butter fracturing is that the supermarket butter available to us might have a higher water content than the butter professional chefs use.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

rickster, I'm using European style butter which is 82% butterfat (according to the package). I hear that creates better results.

One thing I'm unsure of is how thin/thick my butter should be. This is one of those things I wish someone could show me in person because the youtube videos/photos just aren't cutting it for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Make inverted puff pastry.

Butter bleeding out is usually a result of the fat separating from the liquids and milk solids in the butter. Usually it gets absorbed by the flour in the recipe, but excess will bleed out.

This is one of the advantages (among many) of inverted puff pastry. Since both doughs contain varying amounts of butter and flour, you don't get any butter bleeding out and it's easier to roll and work with. It's also easier to compensate for varying amounts of water/fat in your butter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...