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Friday, November 29, 2013

How To Make Puff Pastry

Let me introduce you to puff pastry; friend of the butter-lover and wanna-be pastry chef.

Butter = love!

Puff pastry is an incredibly versatile dough that can be frozen and used when ready. The main idea is to alternate layers of dough with layers of butter. My recipe uses cubes of butter folded in the dough- a lot easier than the slab method Here is my recipe:

16 oz. flour (half cake flour is good)
1 lb. butter, cubed and chilled
9 oz. ice-cold water
1/4 oz salt

Add butter to flour and toss to coat butter. Combine the water and salt; add all at once. Mix on low speed until the dough forms a shaggy mass.

Look closely and notice huge chunks of unmixed butter.
  Cover the mix and put it in the refrigerator to let the butter get hard again (20 minutes). When this is done, roll out the dough into a square or rectangle. Fold like a birthday card and roll out again. Keep folding and rolling until you get the desired texture. The less you fold, the more puff you'll get. Fewer folds will give you a finer texture and more even layers.

Folded and ready for refrigeration.
Refrigerate as needed, when the butter starts to melt. After you are done folding, the dough can be baked at 350 degrees until golden (time varies depending on thickness, etc.).

I cut mine with a biscuit cutter, then folded in half.

Notice the layers?

Mid-bake time... butter is melting out, thus creating flaky crispiness!

All done! Took 15-20 minutes to bake.
 What I love about this recipe is that you can freeze the dough and then use it when you're ready. It thaws fairly quickly (an hour or so). You can bake as-is, cut out in different shapes, or you can make pockets with filling, or wrap around a hot dog or whatever! You can also make triangles and roll them up for croissants.

While all that butter is awesome, it costs me about $3 per recipe. Compared with 5-Minute Artisan Bread this is substantially more expensive, but for special occasions I don't think this is a bad price. I love the fact that you can get a great puff pastry with only four ingredients.

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