What You Should Know About Puff Paste
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What You Should Know About Puff Paste


The making of puff paste differs somewhat from the making of plain pastry. If puff paste is to be successful, it must be made carefully and with close attention to every detail. Even then the first attempt may not prove to be entirely successful, for often considerable experience is required before one becomes expert in the making of this delicate pastry.


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 details.

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, careful handling.

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 lightness.

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.

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Helpful Tips
The best way to make puff paste is with the cold butter, because it can be handled more easily and rolled into the paste with greater success if it, as well as the other ingredients, are cold. If the puff paste is made with the ingredients that are not cold, the mixture will have to be placed on ice at various intervals, for it positively must be kept as cold as possible. However, it is always preferable to make puff paste without the assistance of ice.
Butter Tip
If you don't have unsalted butter, put the salted butter in a mass in the bowl and wash out the salt by running cold water over the piece and working it with a wooden spoon or a butter paddle. When it becomes hard and waxy and may be handled with the hands, take it from the bowl and remove the water by patting it vigorously, first on one side and then on the other. Finally, form it into a flat, oblong piece and set it into the refrigerator to harden.
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