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So just to clarify........when YOU make the puff pastry, there's no "wild sides". But when she makes it, there is. You also said that the puff she makes is a mile high, which would of course explain why the narrow sides of the tarts are either tipping in or out. So I guess the answer to your question is, what is she doing differently than you when she's preparing the dough?

When I've had the occasion to work with wild puff, I will control the rise of it in the oven either at the beginning or at the mid point of the bake by putting a sheet of parchment on top and then another sheet pan on top of that. It has just enough weight to keep the pastry from rising too much and keeps the tops perfectly flat. I remove the sheet pan toward the end of the bake for proper crisping and browning.

Perhaps the strips of dough for the large tarts need to be a tad wider for more stability. Just guessing. I'm assuming the tarts rest in refrigeration before baking to allow the sheeted out puff strips to relax and reduce shrinkage, right?

Oh, and finding good assistants is an all-world problem. I've got a friend who could write a book on her trials and tribulations with them. Either they're lazy and/or really don't care, or they're straight out of culinary school and feel entitled.
 

· Super Moderator
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Regarding staffing issues, maybe that's a US only problem......I've got many PC friends all over the country and their biggest issue across the board has been finding good people.

Anyway, as to root causes, there could be just one thing that's causing the problem or a combination of many. Such as:
1. Sheeting the dough to the appropriate thickness. Maybe the strips are tall and turning in because the strips are too thick to begin with;
2. Resting and relaxing puff under refrigeration before you bake it reduces shrinkage and misshapenness.
3. Cutting the strips with as sharp a cutter as possible helps the puff maintain straight sides. I always use a sharp pastry wheel type cutter.

I can't imagine any root cause in the actual lamination process affects the "wildness" apart from too few/too many folds. I assume your process spells out exactly how many folds you want in the dough, correct?
 
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