Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Puff Pastry

There was a lot of interest in how to make Puff Pastry, when I posted the berry strudel pic in my Christmas morning post.  I promised a tutorial so here it is.

Puff Pastry is one of those multi-step processes that can seem scary to those that have never tried it, but really it's time intensive more so than labor intensive, and most of that time the dough is chilling in the frig while you're doing something else.  Puff pastry is one of those things you make before you plan on using it.  It keeps just fine in the frig for a few days or the freezer if you make a ton in one fell swoop.

You start with your flour in a bowl with a well in it, add water to the well, and incorporate the flour into the water, by gently pulling in the sides of the well.  *Epiphany*  If you're using gluten-free flours, you can probably just mix this in your mixer because there is no danger of over-working the dough.  Since I first learned how to make puff pastry when we were gluten eaters, I made this with a well, but in the future I'll probably just pull out the mixer for this step.
I started with 1 cup sweet rice flour, 1 cup sorghum flour, 1 cup cornstarch, 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/2 cup soy flour, 1/2 tsp salt, and 2 tsps xantham gum.  This is for a double batch of puff pastry.  If I'm going to spend all day on a dough, you bet it'll be for a double batch.  I added 1 1/2 cups water to the well and incorporated the flour into the water with my fingers until a dough formed.  I patted this dough into a square about 2 inches thick, wrapped it in plastic wrap, and put it in the frig to chill for an hour.

Meanwhile I prepared the butter.  I put 3 not quite room temperature sticks of butter into a ziplock baggie and added 2 tbsps of sweet rice flour and mushed it up until the butter was pliable.  Room temp butter is too soft and frig butter is too hard.  You want your butter at about 50-55 degrees.  When the flour has been incorporated and the butter is pliable, shape it into a 4" square and refrigerate it for about 10 minutes.

After the dough has chilled, roll the dough to an inch thickness and then roll each side of the square out to 1/4 inch flaps leaving the center of the dough an inch thick.  I roll out directly on my floured soapstone counters, but you may want to roll out on a pastry cloth or silpat.

Place the chilled butter on the raised portion of dough.

Wrap the flaps up and over the butter like a present, brushing away excess dough as you go.

 Gently push down on the dough package with your rolling pin until it's about an inch thick. 

Roll it into a long rectangle.

Fold the dough in thirds like a letter, bringing one short side up, then the other short side up.  You should have a smaller, but thicker rectangle.
Wrap this back up in plastic wrap and chill for an hour.  This is one turn.  When you pull the dough out of the frig, push on the top until it's an inch thick then roll it into the long rectangle again.  Fold in thirds again.  Chill for another hour.  You want to do this patting, rolling, folding, chilling routine for at least 6 turns.  Have you ever wondered why the baker pats, then rolls, the dough before marking it with a B in the classic nursery rhyme Pat-A-Cake?  Apparantly he was French. 

Each turn your dough will be a bit less crumbly and easy to deal with.  After6 turns(more if you want,) your dough is done.  Chill for at least 2 hours before using it.  Puff pastry is great for napoleons, strudels, and any number of other desserts as well as appetizers.

Thanks for popping in and making french pastries with me.  I'm linking this up to the Gluten-Free Homemaker's Gluten-Free Wednesday.

Editorial Note:  I just now realized while writing this post that I've continued to be really gentle with certain baking techniques because of what I learned while using regular wheat flour, but now that we're gluten-free I don't have to worry about creating long gluten strands and a tough & chewy overworked dough.  DUH!  It's funny how just writing out the process could lead to such an Aha moment.


  1. You make it look easy enough that I want to try it! This may be my new year's resolution, to actually make some puff pastry :-)

  2. My, that looks soooo yummy. I might try this one. Hugs, Ginger

  3. I've never made puff pastry, so I'm impressed!

  4. Thanks for your comment about my great grandparents wedding picture. Interesting what your mother said. My husband tells a funny story about the day we got married. I will probably do a post on it since it is coming up soon! Stay tuned. I am one of your friends and followers. Wishing you a happy new year!


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