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: your go-to recipe


Chris Hennes
 Share

Recommended Posts

I want to make puff pastry this weekend (not the "quick" variety, the real deal), but when I searched Eat Your Books it turns out I have something like 20 recipes for the stuff. Who is your go-to source? I was leaning towards the CIA's Professional Chef because they give me weight measures, but I've never actually tasted their version. There's one in Baking with Julia, and I usually like Greenspan's work, so that seems promising as well. Plus a Beranbaum, two from Malgieri, etc. etc. How do I choose?

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have only made it from Mastering the Art of French Cooking (v2 I think) and it was always perfect. Very detailed instructions.

That's my choice also. I've tried numerous formulas over several decades and always go back to this one because it is predictable and (for me at least) mistake proof.

There are several online videos of the process with Michel Richard, Richard Medrich and a couple of others demonstrating the method.

You can even get the original PBS episode online for a minimal charge via Amazon.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you typically make the Pâte Feuilletée Fine or just the Pâte Demi-Feuilletée? I haven't really decided what I'm going to do with all of it (some of it is for the Onion Arlette in Modernist Cuisine, but that will leave me with a lot of leftovers).

I do the latter (simple puff pastry) and I usually just make croissants - sometime cream horns or vol-a-vents - I know I don't fond and turn it enough to get more than 700 layers and it works perfectly well.

It's the same recipe I use for strudels - both sweet and savory.

I do weigh the butter because I make my own and it is not in sticks and to make the process easier, work it (with the reserved flour) on a marble slab and spread it thin with a broad icing spatula, scrape it up in a sheet and apply to the dough. This way I get more even coverage.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Apart from home made croissants I generally buy it, as a good quality ready made is as good as I can make and saves loads of work.

That said, there are times when you need to make it yourself just for the joy of doing it or if you want to do something different.

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, I went with Julia's recipe, given the overwhelming support for it. So far so good: four turns in with no problems. Now the question comes: give it another turn, or no? Child says it's "optional, and rarely needed." Will I get more rise if I give it another fold?

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe I can answer my own question: yes, I should have done another turn (or maybe two). At four turns, the bouchées I made for dinner turned out a bit short...

Bouchees.jpg

For its main purpose this puff pastry will work just fine, but for auxiliary uses like this one I wish I had taken the time to do another round.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I want to make puff pastry this weekend (not the "quick" variety, the real deal), but when I searched Eat Your Books it turns out I have something like 20 recipes for the stuff.

I'm very interested to know how they vary... how different are the ratios? I can't imagine that 20 different recipes would be that different from each other... I can't even think how the ingredients would vary by much. My first thought (and I'm someone who has never even made puff pastry) is that the quality of the flour / butter would make a bigger impact on the result than a different recipe. But if this is naive then please let me know why I'm wrong ;-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was in baking school, we were taught a more complicated method of folding. And the dough volume was greater.

The dough was formed into a 24 inch square and the butter spread in a 12 inch "counter" square in the center (so the sides of the butter square faced the points of the dough square) and the points of the dough layer folded in to touch in the center, rolled, turned a quarter turn, the points folded in again and so on - as I recall it was a total of 6 turns, which produced 64 layers of dough.

After chilling the dough was rolled and folded this way once for croissants, turnovers, cream horns, vol-au-vents and similar pastries (128 layers)

and twice (256 layers) for fruit strudels, Napoleons, palmiers and allumettes, sprinkling the dough with a cinnamon/sugar mixture between the last two turns for the palmiers, elephant ears and similar "cookies" or ???

In the bakery we had very heavy rolling pins with large barrels that made working the stiff dough easier because the weight of the pins did some of the work.

I used that method for quite a few years before I was prompted to try the method of folding demonstrated by Julia on one of her (rerun) shows I saw sometime in the late '70s or early '80s, as it didn't require quite as much effort to get the same results.

I missed a step in my description above. The dough was quite thick and stiff during the first couple of folds and the square was beaten or pounded with a French pin to soften it a bit so it would roll easier. I think a lot of aggression was used up on the dough by the guys in my class - it got rather noisy at times.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I found a site with photos of the method I described above.

Chris, I haven't gone back to Julia's book to check on her methods.

Also, I've checked in various pastry books (over the years) and the number of layers suggested varies considerably.

One source suggests 80 layers is more than enough, another states is has to be a minimum of 124, another says 250 (approximate) and yet another more than 700 - supposedly the "classic" French method.

It's all very confusing so I just went with what worked for me. In my opinion the 3-fold method or "book" fold is easier than the 4-square fold.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's all very confusing so I just went with what worked for me. In my opinion the 3-fold method or "book" fold is easier than the 4-square fold.

Yeah, three-folds are definitely easier: it's not at all clear to me why any other folding style would have an advantage over the three fold, other than speed. The method where you fold in both ends to the middle, and then in half, gives you more layers per fold. But I also find it awkward, especially for small (home-use-sized) batches of dough.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And then there is the reverse puff pastry (Pâte Feuilletée Inversée)with the butter on the outside!

How do you roll it - Commercially I've seen machine-made puff pastry made that way but that was using a mold in a hydraulic press and to my eye and taste, the process did not produce what I consider a superior product.

During the tour we were able to see how the product looked between "presses" and to me the butter looked unevenly applied with bare patches of dough.

(This was at the old Interstate Bakery in L.A. - I think it was on Vermont - closed in mid-'80s)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And then there is the reverse puff pastry (Pâte Feuilletée Inversée)with the butter on the outside!

How do you roll it - Commercially I've seen machine-made puff pastry made that way but that was using a mold in a hydraulic press and to my eye and taste, the process did not produce what I consider a superior product.

During the tour we were able to see how the product looked between "presses" and to me the butter looked unevenly applied with bare patches of dough.

(This was at the old Interstate Bakery in L.A. - I think it was on Vermont - closed in mid-'80s)

My question--what is the use of "reverse puff pastry"? All I can imagine is melted butter everywhere!

I still remember many years ago the first time I made the classic recipe, I was totally unprepared for how much time it took and how physical it was--especially the need for pounding the dough to soften it so you could roll it before the butter melts. I'll admit that I usually cheat by making pâte demi-feuilletée, but when I want the real thing, the 3-turn method is my standard.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

The pounding is only necessary if your dough is too cold, isn't it? If the dough and butter are both at 65°F it should roll out pretty easily, no, just like the demi? I didn't think there was a difference besides how you packaged up the butter initially, and how exactly you did the turns.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recipe: Pâte Feuilletée Inversée (Inverse puff pastry)

Source: Pierre Hermé, Secrets Gourmands

Ingredients

For the butter block

- 175g soft butter

- 150g flour

For the "détrempe"

- 350g flour

- 15g salt

- 110g melted butter

- 1.5 dl water (150g)

(Do not use all the water at once, depending on the humidity of your flour; if the détrempe is too hard, you'll have trouble rolling the dough, if it's too wet the dough won't rise properly...)

- 1/2 tspn white vinegar

Preparing the butter block

Mix the flour and the butter until the dough forms a ball, then flatten it in a disk that is 2 cm thick, wrap in film and store for 1 1/2 hour in the fridge, at 4°C.

Preparing the détrempe

Mix all the ingredients (careful with the water). When the dough is homogenous, flatten it in a square that is 2cm thick; wrap in film and reserve for 1 1/2 hours in the fridge, 4°C.

Making the "turns"

When the two doughs have rested, remove from fridge, flatten the butter block in a 1 cm thick disk. Place the détrempe in the center and fold the arcs of the butter disk over the détrempe, sealing it fully. Start flattening this square by banging all over its surface with your fist or rolling pin. Then, use the rolling pin and starting from the center, roll genly towards the borders to form a rectangle three times as long as it is wide.

Give it a double turn (fold in four, each side folded to the middle then the whole thing folded like a book... if you need more explanations let me know, but there are lots of illustrations on the web). Turn the rectangle so the fold is on your left, press down gently and wrap in film. Place for one hour in fridge.

Then flatten the dough with your fist or rolling pin, then roll gently again into a rectangle that is three times as long as it is wide. Give it a double turn, flatten slightly, wrap and store in fridge for at least one hour (dough can stay overnight or for up to two days in fridge at this point).

The last turn is a "simple" turn, and is given shortly before you use the dough. Again roll the dough into a long rectangle, and this time fold it in three, like a letter. Wrap and let it rest for half an hour in the fridge.

When you roll it at this point you can lightly flour your work surface, but Hermé says it is better not to use flour when you're giving the dough its "turns." Which is tricky since it's the butter that's in contact with the work surface in the beginning. What helps is to keep the dough very cold at all times, and to roll between sheets of parchment paper or cling film.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...