IN MAKING PUFF PASTE
Essentials in the making of
successful puff paste are a light touch and as little handling as possible.
Heavy pressure with the rolling pin and rolling in the wrong direction
are mistakes that result in an inferior product. The desirable light, tender
qualities of puff paste can be obtained only by giving attention to these
Before beginning the mixing
of puff paste, wash the bowl, spoon, and hands first in hot water to insure
perfect cleanliness and then in cold water to make them as cold as possible.
Measure the ingredients very carefully, or, better, weigh them if possible.
Have the the cold butter,
measured and ready. With the butter ready, break off a tablespoonful or
two and mix it with all of the flour except 2 tablespoonfuls, which must
be retained for flouring the board, in the same way as for plain pastry.
Then add the water, and, when a mass is formed, remove it to a well-floured
board and knead it. When the mixture has become somewhat elastic, cover
it with a towel, and allow it to remain covered for 3 to 5 minutes.
Then roll it into an oblong
piece, and place the butter on one end of it. Bring the opposite end down
over the butter and press the edges together with the tips of the fingers.
Then, with the rolling pin, make several dents in the dough mixture and
the butter and begin to roll, being careful to roll in one direction and
not to allow the butter to come through the paste. If it should come through,
it will have to be refrigerated until it becomes perfectly cold and hard
again before the making can go on.
In case cooling is done
once, it will have to be done each time the paste is rolled.
Continue to roll until a
rectangular piece is formed, always being careful to move the rolling pin
in the same direction and never to roll backwards and forwards. With a
long, narrow piece of dough formed, fold about one-third under and one-third
over, turn the open end toward you, and roll lightly and carefully in one
direction until another long, narrow piece of dough is formed. Fold this
in the same way, turn it half way around, and roll again. Continue in this
manner until the piece has been rolled about six times and, during the
entire process, try, if possible, to keep the butter from coming through.
As may be readily understood, this can be accomplished only with light,
As soon as the rolling has
been completed in the manner described, cut the puff paste into the desired
shapes and place them on the ice for about 1/2 hour or until they are thoroughly
chilled. They are then ready to be baked. If time is too limited to keep
the paste on ice for 1/2 hour, chill it as long as possible before baking.
A very hot oven is required
for successful puff paste. In fact, the colder the pastry and the hotter
the oven, the better will be the chances for light pastry.
The air incorporated between
the layers of the paste by the folding and rolling expands in the heat
of the oven, causing the paste to rise and producing the characteristic
For instance, if the pieces
of paste are about 1/4 inch thick before baking, they should be 2 inches
thick when baked.
Set the pan containing the
pieces on the floor of the oven in order to give the paste every opportunity
to rise. If it seems to rise unevenly, turn it around so that it will get
the same heat on all sides.
Bake until light and nicely
browned and then remove from the oven.