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Flour for Puff Pastry...?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hello, Chefs. I am trying to learn puff pastry and need to know if there is any specific kind or brand of flour . I used all purpose regular supermarket flour and the dough comes out sort of layered or crispy after baking, but no really distinct layering... like big visible clear layers---no. :(

post #2 of 6

Hopefully one of the excellent professional pastry chefs from this site will jump in but in the meantime I'll start this off. 

I prefer King Arthur flour. A friend who studies flour for a book she is writing also uses it when she can't get flour from an independent flour mill. Those are coming back lately and offer some excellent flours. 

      While the flour is important, I think even more so is technique. Remember to follow temperature and resting directions very, very closely. 

In my attempts to make it, sometimes successfully, I found the process to be a great exercise in patience and time management. You have to stop while the dough rests, find something else to do, then go back. If you encounter a problem such as the butter being too hard, you must wait until it is not. If the butter gets too soft, you must wait until it firms up just enough. There is no room for impatience and sloppiness. 

     That is the real challenge to making puff pastry. The recipe is pretty simple and the process isn't complicated. You just have to follow time and temperature very closely and not try to hurry things along. 

The joy of cooking page 906 has some great advice. 

Once when making it, I rolled it too thin. The dough came out perfectly but there wasn't much rise. The second time I made it successfully, the first batch I baked would have come out great but the oven decided to quit half way through the baking. Fortunately I only used half the dough and the second baking worked well. But that was after making it unsuccessfully two or three times. I'll add that unsuccessfully didn't mean throwing the dough out or that I couldn't eat it. It just didn't rise as much as it should have and didn't look very presentable. But I was alone with a jar of jam so it still made a nice snack. 

Most important, keep trying. You will have a  real sense of accomplishment when your dough works as intended. 

post #3 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefwriter View Post.....I prefer King Arthur flour. A friend who studies flour for a book she is writing also uses it when she can't get flour from an independent flour mill. Those are coming back lately and offer some excellent flours. 

      While the flour is important, I think even more so is technique.

 

I think that the importance lies on not so much the brand of flour as it does on the gluten level.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #4 of 6

@Strawberry15  Although one can make pate feuilletee (puff pastry) with AP flour it will usually come out more dense in consistency than when one uses pastry flour. @kokopuffs is correct in that it is not the 'brand' of flour but the 'kind' of flour. It is all in the protein content of the flour used as well as pastry flour is finely ground and sifted.

 

Bread Flour: 14-16%

AP Flour: 10-12%

Pastry Flour: 9%

Cake Flour: 7-8%

These are just approximations of the percentages in flour as it does vary from brand to brand, country to country but the percentages remain similar varying by .1-.5% here and there.

 

To get the nice light and flaky outcome you are looking for you will need to take what @chefwriter had to say into account. All ingredients should be cold (that is the key to the layering as well as all the ingredients must be at the same temperature to create proper lamination) and if your butter is too soft or oozing as your working it then you must have patience and place it back in the fridge for 30 mins. I premix and prep my dough and butter the day before I am to make my puff pastry. By refrigerating overnight everything is well chilled and ready to go. To do this: Prepare your dough, work it a couple minutes to produce gluten development and pat down into a 9" square, double wrap in plastic and place in refrigerator overnight. With the butter flour mix, blend well, then on a lightly floured wax paper pat out into a 8" square, place a lightly floured wax paper on top, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Now you are ready to rock and roll!!

 

Hope this helps and take pictures of your work so we can ooooh and ahhh over it! ;) 

 

Other things to remember: use lots of flour to roll but make sure when folding you brush off the excess flour; as you are rolling make sure to flip the dough frequently for consistent friction; make sure you are chilling between turns (rolling and folding) at least 30 mins to an hour to keep optimum plasticity; keep your dough square with all your edges matching up more or less perfectly so that when rising the imperfect corners that were not monitored in the turning will not let your puff rise fully; use the highest mount of butterfat possible (82%) which is European style or country churned butter as regular butter (at 80% BF) has too much moisture; when you have finished your folding trim all the edges; when cutting your pastry dough make sure you cut straight down or use the pastry cutters as pulling a knife through the dough will seal the edges causing less puff and uneven baking as well as turn the piece over to bake after cutting for an even rise; chill the dough 30 mins before baking.


Edited by Fablesable - 4/16/15 at 10:02am
post #5 of 6

     Now I have a related question.  More recent recipes for puff pastry call for some butter to be added to the flour dough (detremp), then the rest of the butter is folded in. 

In some older recipes, such as the one in Ranhofer's Epicurean call for just flour and water, no butter in the initial dough.

Has anyone made it both ways?  

post #6 of 6

@chefwriter yup, I have made it both ways. In my experience, and my humble opinion, I like the detremp way of adding butter to the flour mixture. I didn't like the working consistency of the dough and the outcome of the older recipes as I felt the puff factor and flakiness was not as great however, that is just one's opinion. I challenge anyone to make both recipes side by side and see for themselves which one they enjoy. :D

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