Perfect puff pastry, so much better than store bought.
The quality of puff pastry which is available in stores is quite variable. Some is made using just hydrogenated oils as the fat content which is required to make the layers. Others do include some butter, in varying amounts, mixed with hydrogenated oil. Others are what are known as ‘all butter’ puff pastry which is the best you can buy. However homemade puff pastry is better still, with an even higher butter content in most cases. However it is a very time consuming process to make your own puff pastry and, often, the store-bought sheets are good enough for what is needed. I do buy it from time to time, but I really prefer to make my own.
I decided to make some, and provide detailed instructions on how to do it. The method I use, having recently tried it for the first time, is the inverse method known as pâte feuilletée inversée.
This method reverses the normal process by creating a sheet of butter which is then wrapped around a block of dough. That is then rolled out and folded. The rolling and folding process is done 5 times, resulting in 243 layers of pastry to puff up. The other, more usual, method is to roll out a block of dough and wrap the butter inside before rolling.
The process does take a lot of time, since the dough has to be chilled between each step, for differing amounts of time, but in all from start to finish takes about 7.5 hours, including chilling for 2 hours before actually using the puff pastry.
My recipe makes a block of puff pastry which weighs almost 1200g, or about 2 1/2lbs. It can be divided into portions of about 300g, which is about the same as a sheet of store-bought pastry. It keeps in the fridge for up to about a week, but can also be frozen and used months later after allowing it to fully defrost in the fridge.
I recently posted a couple of recipes using homemade puff pastry, Apple Turnovers and Cheese Straws and have some more recipes planned for the pastry I made for this post, including Steak Slices and Cinnamon Twists.
Although I used bread flour for the flour block plain flour will work if that is what you have.
If you don’t have time to make puff pastry there is a quicker version, known as rough puff pastry. I have a a blog entry for that too: how to make rough puff pastry .
Puff Pastry – Video
- 350g(2 1/3 cups, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup) bread flour
- 150ml(12 cup+2 tbsp) water
- 113g(8 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 15g(2 1/2 tsp) salt
- 15ml(1 tbsp) white vinegar
- 150g(1 cup, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup) plain flour
- 375g(2 1/2 sticks + 2 3/4tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
- For ease take a sheet of parchment paper and mark a rectangle in the centre 20cm(8 inches) by 16cm(just over 6 inches).
- Mix the water, white vinegar and salt together until the salt is dissolved.
- In a large bowl place the 350g flour and make a well in the middle.
- Add the water mixture and, using a spoon or similar mix together until flour clumps together into a shaggy dough.
- Add the melted butter and mix again, using your hands to knead it too, until the dough is nice and smooth.
- Form the dough into a rectangle which is 18cm(7 inches) by 12cm(5 inches).
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for an hour.
- Place the butter and plain flour into the bowl of a stand mixer( you can do this by hand too) and beat with the paddle attachment, on a low-medium speed, until the flour is incorporated into the butter.
- Turn the parchment paper over, so the markings are on the work surface.
- Place the butter mixture onto the parchment paper, inside the marked rectangle.
- Wrap up the parchment paper over the butter, to the size of the rectangle, flattening to have an even sheet.
- Place the butter block into the fridge and chill for an hour.
- Flour the work surface and roll out the butter to a rectangle of 20cm(8 inches) by 26cn(10 1/2 inches)
- Place the flour block onto the butter block, aligning the long edge of the flour block to one 20cm edge of the butter block.
- Fold the remainder of the butter block over the flour block.
- Press the edges together all the way around.
- Wrap the entire block in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
- Place the block onto a floured work surface and roll into a rectangle, about 20cm(8 inches in width) to a thickness of about 8mm(1/3 inch), flouring the top as necessary to prevent sticking.
- Brush off any excess flour leaving a clean surface to the dough.
- Fold one short edge of the dough up onto the remainder, leaving about 12cm(5 inches) unfolded.
- Brush the surface again to remove excess flour. (you must brush every time you fold, I wont repeat that instruction from now, but it needs to be done).
- Now fold that remaining 12cm up as well, pressing to join the edges of the two folds as they touch.
- Now fold again, in the same direction to fold the dough into half, creating a thick block.
- That is one turn of dough rolling.
- Now turn the dough 90 degrees, with the open long edge to your left.
- Roll out again, to the same size as before, and fold in the same manner, until you have a thick block again.
- That is now the 2nd turn of dough rolling.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.
- Take the dough out of the fridge, onto the surface, floured as before.
- Repeat the rolling process as before, to complete turns 3 and 4, and then wrap the dough again and chill for another two hours.
- Flour the surface again, it will need less flour now as the dough should already be very smooth and not sticking.
- Roll out the dough to a rectangle as before.
- Using the short edge(about 20cm) fold one third of the dough onto the middle third and press down.
- Fold the remaining one third of the dough over the top of the dough. You will now have a nice block, fully dusted. That is the 5th, and final, turn of dough rolling.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours before using. It can be chilled overnight, and up to about a week in the fridge. The dough can also be wrapped and frozen(in portions) for use later. Just ensure that it is defrosted in the fridge before use.
- If you wish to use this in the same way as the store-bought sheets divide the dough into 4 equal portions and then roll out into a sheet.