Since 1998

Puff pastry

You will find in this article the detailed stages for the making of the most complex pastry found in everyday cuisine.  We’re sometimes stepping onto a technical field to explain some of its most remarkable properties.
Time needed 60’ preparation, 25’ baking, 4x20’ setting.

Ingredients (for 1100 g of pastry)

  • 500 g (1.10 lb) plain flour (non raising)
  • 325 g unsalted butter at room temperature (0.70 lb)
  • 300 ml water (0.66 lb)
  • 7 g salt (0.25 oz)


Place flour and salt in a food processor bowl and run it. Progressively pour water until an even ball is formed.
If too much water, dry out the ball by sifting a little bit of extra flour while turning.

Roll the ball into a large square on a floured surface, make it quite thin.   Place the butter in that square so that it forms a smaller square that still allows the bigger square corners to be folded to the centre without making a double thickness of butter. Place the pastry in a cool place until temperature equilibrium is obtained. Puff pastry is best worked out around 15°C; if the room is hot, use a hollow roll filled in with iced water.
Again, roll down the pastry in a rectangular shape.   The larger the rectangle the better.   Don’t go past that point where you start to see the butter getting through the pastry.   Then, fold it in 3 by folding the left edge to the 1st tier of the width, same with right edge to the 1st tier to the right.   Rotate the pastry clockwise a quarter of a round.   There you go, this is called a first round (although it’s only a quarter of a mathematical round).

Repeat steps:
- roll down - fold in 3
- quarter round rotation

We’re now at round #2, place the pastry in a cool place (fridge) for another 30 minutes, and then give your pastry another 4 rounds.   Standard puff pastry is formed by 6 rounds this is 720 layers, but most of them will merge down when you roll . . .    However, this layered structure generates volume when baking.   You can increase voulme by sifting flour on the pastry before you rotate it.   Also, make sure you work out the pastry when cool enough so that butter doesn’t traverse too many layers and breaks down its layered texture.

Note 1: puff pastry has a cloth-like texture due to its structure un layers and the butter, it can be handled like a piece of cloth, it’s also elastic and won’t tear off by itself.   Puff pastry is typically used in fruit tarts and in apple turnover.   It’s famous for being the pastry for the January almond pie.

Note 2: puff pastry can be kept for long periods of time in the fridge or in the freezer for it doesn’t contain any eggs.   *Attention though, don’t defrost it using micro-waves, they would break the pastry down*.   It’s used cool, rolled down after 6 rounds.   Unfortunately it’s very sensitive to heat; avoid filling it with hot stuff if not baked.   If you need to bake it with a hot filling, cool the filling beforehand.

Note 3: its volume will be proportional to its thickness; if you need a large volume, multiply layers (vol-au-vent shells).

Because of the layers, it bakes quite quickly, pre-bake it at 150 C (300 F) followed by a period at 180 C (356 F) for optimal results.
created 08 July 2011
revised 14 February 2017 by
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