simple puff pastry

if you don’t have the time-life series of cookbooks, this episode of Baking with Julia is a good primer for puff pastry, (the kind without yeast… we’re not talking about croissants here.)

the basics are this, 4 parts flour, to slightly more than one part water. pastry flour for preference, though cutting your all-purpose with cake flour works out the same. (3 parts all-purpose to 1 part cake is a good ratio) gluten is not really your friend here, so I suspect this would work well with gluten free flours. I did an experiment recently attempting gluten-free croissants, it wasn’t entirely successful, but it was better than might have been expected…

blend the flour and water (and a teaspoon of salt) very thoroughly. (this is a good time to use a cuisinart or equivalent.) make it into a ball, wrap it under a damp towel in the fridge and let it rest for a while. say 1/2 hour…

take roughly the same amount (by weight) of cold butter as the flour. pound it flat. this is a key point, softening the butter by pounding ‘fractures’ the butter and makes it workable without letting it melt. if the butter warms, you’re screwed.

roll out the dough big enough to lay the butter on top of and wrap the butter in the dough. roll it out, trying to keep it in a pretty neat rectangle. then fold it in thirds. wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 1/2 an hour.

this process of rolling out and folding in thirds needs to be done 6 times in total. and it needs to be kept cold so the butter doesn’t melt. usually you can get a couple of turns in before rechilling, but when in doubt, chill it for a while.

lastly, when the last turn has been done and the dough is chilled, roll it out and make the pastry you want to make. if you’re making palmiere or similar, you’ll want to chill the pastries one last time before baking. you can even stick them in the freezer for 10 minutes.

bake at 400F for 6 minutes or so for cookie sized pastry. turnovers and the like need 450F for 17+ minutes

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