General Puff Pastry Information
There are a few different methods for making puff pastry. Some are easier to accomplish than others. Some methods produce a better finished product than others. All puff pastry making methods require patience. Each step involves chilling the butter and dough. The entire process requires plenty of waiting time, so patience is a virtue.
Puff Pastry Making Tips
• The butter and dough must be cold (40ºF) when it is rolled out in each step.
• If the dough even comes close to room temperature (72ºF), work must stop and the dough must be chilled.
• If the dough reaches room temperature and it is rolled, the texture will end up being more like pie dough than puff pastry.
• The dough chilling process prevents the butter from combining with the dough.
• The goal is to create several very thin layers of butter and dough.
• It is the steam from the layers of butter and water in the dough, that makes puff pastry dough rise and expand when it is baked.
• There are no leavening agents in the dough, other than butter and water.
• The dough must be covered with plastic wrap or sealed in a container every time it is chilled, in order to prevent drying.
Pâte Feuilletée (French Puff Pastry Dough):
This entire recipe yields a little bit more than 2 1/2 pounds of French Puff Pastry Dough.
*This recipe is written for a steel gear drive electric mixer.
Authentic traditional French Puff Pastry really only involves a few more easy steps than Blitz Puff Pastry. The difference in quality is noticeable. The finished product is much more consistent, especially for making Vol Au Vent Pastries or any tall puff pastry shape. The same routine of chilling the dough before rolling applies.
Here is an outline of the steps involved:
• The puff pastry dough is rolled out into a thin rectangular sheet.
• The thin sheet of dough will be used as a détrempe. (The word "détrempe" basically means envelope!)
• A beurrage is chilled butter that is rolled into thin sheet.
• To start the puff pastry dough making process, the beurrage is placed on a portion of the pastry dough sheet. Then the extra bare pastry dough sheet is folded over the beurrage. The edges are pinched shut and the beurrage is then sealed in an envelope of pastry dough (détrempe).
• There are a few different ways to envelop the butter with a sheet of pastry dough. All détrempe techniques work well and they all produce a nice finished product.
Step 1: Place 3 cups of Pastry Flour (fine cake flour) in a mixing bowl.
Add 1 cup of Bread Flour.
Add 2 teaspoons of fine ground Kosher Salt.
Sift the ingredients, into the electric mixer bowl.
Step 2: Add 3 ounces of chilled unsalted butter that is cut into pea size pieces.
Place a paddle attachment on the mixer.
Set the electric mixer bowl in place.
Pulse the mixer at a medium speed a few times, till the butter and flour just starts to combine.
Stop the mixer.
Step 3: Add 1 cup of ice cold water.
Start the mixer at a low speed.
Allow the ingredients to gradually start to combine.
Turn the mixer up to a medium low speed.
As soon as the dough starts to gather from the walls of the mixer, turn the mixer off.
Step 4: Lower the bowl and pinch the dough to check to see if it is too dry. The dough should be fairly stiff yet pliable, with no cracking when pinched. If the dough is too dry then add 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup more ice water. (This step is necessary in an arid climate, like here in the Mojave Desert!)
Step 5: Mix the dough at a medium low speed till it combines and gathers on the dough hook.
Step 6: Turn the dough out onto a flour dusted countertop.
Shape the dough into a 1" thick rectangular shape.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap.
Chill the dough to 40ºF.
Step 7: Roll the chilled dough into a rectangular shape sheet that is 1/4" thick.
Cover the dough sheet with plastic wrap and place it on a sheet pan.
Chill the Détrempe Dough sheet to 40ºF.
• Measure the length and width of the rectangular pastry dough sheet and place it back in the refrigerator. Write the length number and width number down.
• Divide the length number in half and write it down. This number plus the width number will be the dimensions of the Beurrage!
Step 1: Cut an 11 ounce portion of chilled unsalted butter from a 1 pound block.
Cut the 11 ounce butter block into 1/2" thick slices.
Chill the butter slices to 40ºF.
Step 2: Arrange the butter slices side by side on a sheet of plastic wrap (or a vinyl pastry mat), in a rectangular shape that is smaller than the Beurrage dimensions.
Place a second sheet of plastic wrap over the chilled butter slices.
Step 3: Use a rolling pin to roll the butter to almost the same size as the recorded width and length dimensions.
Place the plastic wrapped Beurrage on a sheet pan and chill the butter to 40º.
Making the Détrempe and the First Book Fold:
• The dough sheet and butter sheet should be chilled to 40ºF before starting.
Step 1: Remove the top piece of plastic wrap from the chilled butter sheet (beurrage).
Invert the cold butter sheet on one half of the Détrempe Dough sheet.
*Be sure to center the butter on one half of the dough sheet, so there is a small bare space around the edges of the dough. If the butter breaks apart, just piece it in place on the dough sheet like a jigsaw puzzle!
Step 2: Lightly dampen the bare dough edge by brushing it with water. This will seal the Détrempe around the Beurrage.
Step 3: Fold the bare half of the dough sheet over the butter half.
Gently press the edges together, but do not distort the shape of the dough edge.
Step 4: The dough sheet is now book-folded with a total of 4 folds.
Fold one end of the sheet to the middle.
Fold the other end of the sheet, so it butts up against the first fold.
Repeat the book fold in the opposite direction to create a rectangular book folded thick block.
Step 5: Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill it to 40º.
Finishing the Pâte Feuilletée:
Once again, the dough has to be chilled to 40ºF.
Step 1: Place the chilled folded dough and butter on a flour dusted countertop
Roll the dough into a rectangular shaped sheet that is about 1/4" thick.
Step 2: Book-fold the dough sheet with a total of 4 folds. (Just like what was described in the previous recipe section.)
Step 3: Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill it to 40ºF.
Step 4: Repeat steps 1, 2 and 3 for a total of two more times.
Step 5: Finish the Pâte Feuilléte dough, by rolling it out to rectangular shape that is about 3/16" thick.
Step 6: Cover the dough sheet with plastic and chill to 40ºF.
Step 7: If the puff pastry dough is not used immediately, then follow these steps for storing the dough:
• Slide the sheet of Pâte Feuilletée onto a sheet of parchment paper.
• Cover the dough sheet with a second sheet of parchment paper.
• Trim off most of the excess parchment paper edges.
• Gently and carefully roll the parchment paper sandwich dough sheet, into a long cylinder shape.
• Wrap the rolled dough cylinder with plastic wrap. The puff pastry dough sheet can be refrigerated for up to 7 days.
Blitz Puff Pastry Method:
Blitz Puff Pastry is a shortcut method that produces a finished puff pastry dough that is suitable for wrapping items like Strudel or making a Wellington. Blitz Puff Pastry is more like an extra flaky pie dough.
• The proportion of butter for Blitz Puff Pastry is 3/4 of what is needed for Pâte Feuilléte.
• The dough for Blitz is about the same as Pâte Feuilletée dough.
• Blitz does not require enveloping a sheet of chilled butter with a sheet of dough.
Step 1: Blitz requires making the base Pâte Feuilléte Détrempe Dough first. Follow the Détrempe Dough recipe on this page.
Step 2: Chilled cubes of butter are added to the dough, with no kneading. Just barely mix the dough and butter together. (Refer to the amount of butter used to make the Beurrage Recipe on this page and measure 3/4 of that amount. Cut the butter into 1/2" cubes.)
Step 3: Chill the Blitz Dough to 40ºF.
Step 4: The dough is rolled between 2 large pieces of plastic wrap or vinyl pastry making mats, into a rectangular shaped slab that is 1" thick.
Step 5: The Blitz Dough slab is chilled to 40ºF.
Step 6: The chilled slab of dough is rolled out on a flour dusted surface to create a sheet that is about 1/4" thick. (Generously dust the countertop for this step.)
Step 7: The dough sheet is book-folded with a total of 4 folds. (Fold one end of the sheet to the middle. Fold the other end of the sheet, so it butts up against the first fold. Repeat the book fold in the opposite direction to create a rectangular thick block.)
Step 8: The dough is chilled to 40º again.
Step 9: Repeat Step 5 through Step 8 for a total of 3 times.
Step 10: The finished dough is rolled out to rectangular shape that is about 3/16" thick. The sheet of Blitz Puff Pastry Dough is then chilled, before being cut into shapes.
Pâte Feuilletée Shapes:
There are many puff pastry recipes in this website that require basic shapes like Vol Au Vent, Mini Wellingtons, stuffed savory pastries and puff pastry covered fish. Croissants and dessert puff pastries can be made with this dough too.
More puff pastry dough shapes, like Croissants and other recipes will be added to this website when the next batch of Pâte Feuilletée is made in the near future.
The puff pastry should be baked at 425ºF, till the pastry puffs up and is a golden brown color. For large pastries or thick pastries, like strudel, the temperature should be lowered to 375ºF to prevent excess browning.
Today's Pâte Feuilletée recipe is an easy to follow descriptive recipe. Puff Pastry made from scratch easily impresses guests!