Puff Pastry is a flaky light pastry made from a laminated dough rolled repeatedly in thin layers incorporating fat to make rich flaky pastry for pie. This type of snack is composed of dough, butter and other solid fat (beurrage) making a paton which is severally folded and rolled out before baking.
What Makes Puff Pastry Puff
Puff pastry is made from hundreds of paper-thin layers of butter trapped between hundreds of paper-thin layers of dough. In the oven, the liquid in both the butter and the dough rapidly evaporates, puffing the individual layers skyward. The butter melts into the dough, turning it golden and crispy.
To make this type of snack Firstly, you will make a “lean” dough of just flour and water (it’s considered lean because it contains to fat). Then you wrap this dough around a block of cold butter. Roll it out, fold it up like a letter, roll it out, fold it up, and repeat. At the end of this whole process, you will have created all the paper-thin layers that make puff pastry puff.
Essential Tools for Puff Pastry
Making puff is a pretty low-tech process, there is no fancy gadgets or even a stand mixer required. However, there are two tools you really need and that are tricky to replace, a pastry scraper and a French rolling pin.
The pastry scraper will be used in all the steps, for scraping the flour back into a pile as you make the dough, for nudging the butter into place as you work on it, for lifting and moving the pastry as you roll. A pastry scraper also acts as an extension of your hands and fingers, helping you manipulate the dough without warming it up too much with your hands.
While a French rolling pin or a tapered rolling pin is also essential for pounding the butter and making it pliable. The kind of rolling pins with handles and a freely spinning roller are both too heavy and too awkward for this step.
I have seen recipes that beat the butter in a stand mixer until pliable, but personally, I still feel that this warms the butter up too much. You want it to be pliable enough to be rolled like a dough, not so soft that it could be spread.
Puff pastry can be time consuming to make, but the results are always worth it, so let start the process of how to make Puff pastry. below are the step by step process of making simply Puff Pastry, although we also have traditional puff pastry too and their ingredients/procedures varies from each other.
Ingredients for Simple Puff Pastry
1 cup (110 grams) all-purpose/plain flour
¼ teaspoon fine salt
10 tablespoons (5 ounces) butter, cold
In the US, a stick of butter has 8 tablespoons.
⅓ cup (80 milliliters) ice cold water
How To Make Puff Pastry
Pour the flour and salt in the food processor
This is the first stage in making Simply puff pastry, Firstly, you will need to pour the flour and the salt into the food processor and purse for a few seconds. This help to combines the flour and salt evenly.
If you do not have a food processor, then pour the flour and salt into a bowl and mix with a fork. If you are unable to purchase all-purpose flour, then use plain flour.
Cut the butter into cubes
At this stage you will need to cut the butter into cubes. This will help the butter to soften faster and make it easier to blend into the flour and salt.
Add the butter bit by bit and mix
After cutting the butter into smaller cubes you can add the it bit by bit to the food processor and mix. after some minute pulse the food processor for a few seconds before you add more butter. This makes the butter more manageable and prevent the blades from getting stuck.
If you do not have a food processor, put the butter into the bowl and mix it lightly with the flour using a fork. Then, roll a pastry blade across the butter and flour using a back and forth motion. Keep lifting and rocking the pastry blade until you have a rough, crumbly texture. The butter chunks should be roughly the size of a pea.
Add cold water
The next step is to add cold water inside and pulse for a few seconds. The dough will start to come together and pull away from the sides of the bowl. If you are using a bowl, lightly pat the dough down with your hands, then make a small well in the center. Pour the water into the well and mix with a fork until the dough starts to come away from the sides of the bowl.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and cool it up
After it has come together very well, cover the dough with a plastic wrap and put it into the refrigerator for 20 minutes. This will give the butter time to cool back down and prevents your dough from becoming too soft. After 20 minutes take the dough out and unwrap it.
Sprinkle flour on the cutting board
When the previous step has been achieved successfully, the next stage is to lightly sprinkle flour across your cutting board and roll it around your rolling pin.This will prevent the dough from sticking to everything. Be sure to keep a bag of flour on hand, in case you have to add more flour to your work surface; the dough will absorb the flour as you work with it, making the work surface sticky.
Turn the dough to the cutting board
You will need to turn the dough on the cutting board and start to work on it, the dough may feel dry, but this is normal. Do not add water to it; it will become softer the more you work with it.
Form the dough into a flat square
Ensure you form the dough into a flat square at this stage and knead it gently. Do not make the dough too thin; you will be rolling it out some more later. You may see some streaks of butter in the dough, which is also normal. Do not attempt to mix the butter in.
Roll in one direction
Use the rolling pin to roll the dough out into a rectangle. Make sure you roll in one direction only. The dough should be three times longer than it is wide.
Fold the dough into thirds
Here, you will need to fold the dough into thirds. Take the bottom third of the rectangle, and fold it just past the middle. Take the upper third of the rectangle and fold it down on top of the rest of the dough, making a square.
Rotate the dough 90 degrees to either side
It does not matter which side: left or right. If the dough does not turn easily, it means that it has begun to stick to the cutting board. Gently lift it up and spread more flour down underneath the dough or on the cutting board. Set the dough back down and try rotating it again to 90 degrees to either side.
Repeat the process
Repeat the rolling, folding, and turning process six to seven more times. In this way, you are creating thin layers in the dough. after that wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Leave it in there for at least one hour, or overnight.
Use the dough
Once the dough has thoroughly chilled, you can take it out of the refrigerator, roll it out, and use it to make croissants, filled pastry bites, or even baked brie cheese, better still use it for whatever you wish to make it with.