Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Puff Pastry


I don't watch a ton of Food Network anymore. It's not that the shows aren't entertaining; they are.


But I feel like I've outgrown it.


Back when Mr. Bread Maiden and I were dating, I didn't know how to cook. And I certainly didn't bake.

He introduced me to Alton Brown, nerdy food-scientist. And from there, a food journey began.


But I'm so bored by the offerings now, and often disappointed at the results. Not to brag, but Mr. Bread Maiden and I often cook and bake food that looks better than what these celebrity chefs make. And I'm left wishing that they would, just a little, EXPAND my kitchen knowledge.

Like they did before.

There are still tons of things I've never made before.

Like, most world cuisine. I dunno, casseroles. Profiteroles. Sole. Mole. Lots of things!

One of those things is puff pastry.

Food network appears to not want to touch the stuff with a 10-foot pole.

This is my search for puff pastry on food network.


Hey, Ina Garten has a recipe for puff pastry; that looks promising.


But the recipe calls for frozen puff pastry.

A recipe for real, homemade puff pastry isn't until page 2.

Friends, this is a shame.

Because, as Mr. Bread Maiden and I learned on Sunday, homemade puff pastry is DAMN TASTY.

I used this recipe, from White on Rice Couple.

You will need:

Butter Block Ingredients
1 lb + 3 1/2 T (510g) cold unsalted Butter
2 t (10ml) Lemon Juice
pinch of Salt
1 c (130g) Bread Flour

Dough Ingredients
3 c (400g) Bread Flour, approximately
3 1/2 T (55g) soft unsalted Butter
2 t Salt
1 c (240ml) cold Water

Make Butter Block

1. In mixer w/ paddle attachment, work butter lemon juice, salt, and flour into a smooth paste.

2. On a sheet of wax paper, roughly form an approx. 6″ square with the butter block mixture. Lay another piece of wax paper on top and smooth out the square & straighten the sides. Peel back each wax paper sheet & re-lay as it wrinkles to keep a smooth, even surface. After block’s thickness & sides are even, refrigerate until firm.


Make the dough




1. Sift flour onto your work surface. Cut the butter into the flour until it looks like course crumbs.



2. Now it’s kind of like making fresh pasta. Shape into a mound, then make a well in the center of the mound. Add the salt & cold water into the well, then with a fork, use a whisking motion to gradually incorporate the well’s sides into the water.


When it starts to form a solid mass, finish incorporating the flour by kneading. Incorporate just until it is still sticky and has a rough texture. Adjust the water & flour as needed. Try to knead as little as possible. Puff pastry likes a lazy kneader.


3. Form dough into a ball, remember-knead as little as possible.


Flatten the ball a bit, then cut a cross halfway through the dough. Wrap it up in plastic wrap & let rest in fridge for 30 minutes.


You’ll want the Butter Block to have approximately the same consistency as the Dough, after the dough is rested.


You don’t want the butter rock hard, but not mushy soft, either. A dough that is softer than the butter will stretch while the butter doesn’t. If the butter is softer than the dough, it will be pushed out the sides. Either suck to some degree. You may have to adjust chill/resting times for either dough or butter block so they are about the same. Kitchen temp., how long it took to make the dough, fridge temp., all affect the consistency of the Butter Block & Dough. Figure out adjustments to make so they’ll work together homogeneously. It may take a time or two, but you’ll get the hang of it.

Assembly

1. Pull the corners of the cuts out of the dough ball to make a square shape. Roll the dough out to a square slightly thicker in the center than on the sides, and slightly larger than the butter block.


2. Place the butter block diagonally on the dough square, so that the butter corners are pointed at the middle of the dough sides. Fold the uncovered dough corners over the butter block to completely envelop the butter. Pinch the seams tightly together to seal in the butter.


3. Dust your work surface with flour, and roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/2″ thick. Remember to keep dusting with flour whenever needed to keep the dough from sticking & tearing the layers.

4. Size up your rectangle visually into 3. Fold one third over the middle, then fold the opposite third over. Just like a tri-fold brochure. Try to have everything as even as possible. All the edges should match fairly closely. Put on a plate, cover, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.


5. Roll out to 1/2″ thick and repeat the fold. Don’t forget to flour as you roll. Plate, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Repeat this for a total five roll & folds.


6. After the last fold, roll the rectangle out to about 3/4″. If it is difficult, put dough in the fridge for a bit to relax the gluten. If using immediately, cover, rest in fridge for about 30 minutes, then use as needed. If it’s for later, cut into sections big enough but that still fit easily in your freezer (usually just in half), layer with wax paper between sections, freezer bag it, & store until needed.

7. If you're going to bake it now, roll out the dough pretty flat and cut into triangles.


8. Roll up the triangles and smear with egg wash.


9. Throw them in an oven preheated to 425, for about 10-15 minutes until golden brown.


Lordy lord.


These are amazing. SOOO tender and flaky. They almost fall apart they are so flaky. Butter oozes out of these and they were incredible warm from the oven. Mr. Bread Maiden, who initially wanted to use the puff pastry for a Beef Wellington, immediately changed his mind in favor of more croissants. While it was definitely time-consuming, I think I would make puff pastry again. Maybe next time I will double the recipe so I can freeze one and use one. I can already see uses for this dough: pies, croissants (of course), strudels, pot pies. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Slow Learner said...

I would love to watch you produce this at the next opportunity.