Knowledge Base

Puff Pastry

Puff Pastry Fat or Margarine:
This is a product made especially for puff pastry from oils and fats having a high melting point. It enables puff pastry to be made under warm conditions, that is, in summer, and will enable the pastry to withstand rough handling. Puff pastry fat does not usually contain moisture, although there are puff pastry emulsions which can be used which contain up to 20% moisture. If this type of margarine is used more must be used in the recipe, for example 14ozs (420g) of margarine equates to 12ozs

(360g) of a 100% fat.

Use of Butter:
Undoubtedly butter produces the most deliciously flavoured puff pastry and is recommended where first quality goods are demanded. Care must be taken in its handling, however. The paste must be gently rolled and preferably refrigerated between turns. Plenty of rest must be given and softer dough made. The type of butter should be tough and waxy, Dutch being well recommended.

 

The consistency of the dough should equal that of the fat. For a tough puff pastry, fat or margarine, strong flour made into a tight dough is recommended. Butter or Margarine demand a softer dough, preferably one made from a softer flour.
Turns:
The number of turns normally given is such that about 700 to 1500 layers of fat in the dough should be built up. This may be done in two ways: by rolling out and folding into three, or by folding the ends in first and then folding together like a book (book tum). A combination of both methods may also be used. What seems to matter is that the layers should be even and properly insulated. Too many layers (over-rolling) will break down this insulation to render a product more like short paste. Too few layers (under-rolling) will result in coarse layers with perhaps uneven lift and the fat running out during baking. Each method has its advocates. The one favoured by many chefs is the French method in which six half turns are given.
Quantity of Fat:
Provided there is sufficient fat available to provide the insulation between the dough layers, the quantity of fat is not critical. It can vary between 8ozs (240g) and 1 lb

(½kilo) of flour. For the lower quantities, however, less rolling must be given and this will mean slightly less and irregular lift. The lower quantity of fat will also give a harsher tasting pastry. Usually a small quantity of fat is rubbed in to bring about a shortening effect. Three-quarter paste is made with 12ozs (360g) of fat to the pound (approximately ½ kilo) of flour and this makes an ideal good quality puff pastry.

Thickness of Paste:
Provided the paste is rolled out sufficiently to enable the operative to fold it and give it the required number of turns, there is no virtue in pinning out the pastry very thinly. Indeed this might damage the structure by breaking the layers. The smaller the quantity of paste the less it needs to be rolled out.
Oven Temperature:
Puff Pastry requires a hot oven. Egg washed varieties, for example sausage rolls, should be baked at about 400° to 450°F (232°C), while the sugared varieties, because of the nature of the sugar, require a slightly lower temperature, which is 420°F (215°C). A low baking temperature will prevent the pastry lifting.
Resting:
The resting periods between the turns and on the tray prior to baking are essential to ensure even rolling without the risk of the layers breaking down. However, too long a rest just prior to baking will result in a loss of lift even though it aids the perfection of shape.
Use of Scrap:
Some pastries, eg vol-au-vent, require a virgin pastry, whilst others like palmiers require to be made from the pastry scraps. Most items can be made from pastry to which a proportion of scrap is added. The usual method is to turn back the top fold, cover with scraps, and fold back, so that the cuttings are rolled into the virgin paste. For lift it is essential to use virgin pastry, but where only flakiness is required the use of cuttings is perfectly satisfactory.

Yields for items made from virgin pastry can only be calculated by taking into account the amount of scrap pastry which remains after these items have been cut out. Whenever puff pastries are being made, the range of items should always include some in which the scrap pastry can be utilized.
Storage:
Puff pastry can be stored indefinitely in the deep freeze. Since it is a time-consuming process to make puff pastry, it is always wise to have some in stock. To de-frost, it should be left in the kitchen for at least 2 hours or removed to the normal refrigerator where it can be left overnight or up to two days.
Faults in Puff Pastry: Uneven lift:
a). Incorrect rolling technique, for example uneven.

b). Fat not evenly distributed prior to rolling.

c). Insufficient resting for pastry to recover prior to baking.

d). Uneven distribution of heat in the oven.
Poor lift:
a). Too much rolling, either by giving too many turns or pinning out too thinly.

b). Either insufficient or too much fat employed.

Excessive Shrinkage:

This results in distorting the shape and is the result of insufficient rest prior to baking.

 

Products made by the lamination method of preparation includes. Puff Pastry, Danish Paste and Croissant Dough.

Lamination is the incorporation of fat into dough. using the method of folding. Thus creating layers within the dough which steam gets trapped between, forcing the other layers upwards; establishing texture and lift.

Strong flour is absolutely necessary with this process, and keeps the layers of fat folded in tact and separate. For first class paste flavour, butter is the preferred fat, however, it does become soft when worked, and if care is not taken, lamination will break down in the oven. Special pastry fats can be used. Obtained fairly easily and inexpensively, they can add strength to butter and do not become so soft at room temperature. Unfortunately, there is an opinion that they can be tasteless and even have a greasy residue when -eaten, so a ratio of 70:30 to butter, would avoid this. An acid can also be added (such as lemon juice) to strengthen the gluten in the flour.

When laminating dough there are different pr-0cessing methods. The folding of fat into the dough is called “Turns”. A single or half turn constitutes as rolling the dough to a rectangle and folding into three. A double or book turn is rolled to a -rectangle, the two ends are folded into the middle and then all folded in half, resembling the pages of a book. Below is an illustration of how layers build up, when turning the dough.

 

The first tum produces:
1 upon 1 upon 1 = 3 layers
The second turn produces:
3 upon 3 layers= 9
The third turn produces:
9 upon 9 upon 9 = 27 layers
The fourth tum produces:
27 upon 27 upon 27 = 81 layers
The fifth turn produces:
81 upon 81 upon 81 = 243 layers
The sixth turn produces:
243 upon 243 upon 243 = 729 layers

 

Fat running out during baking:
It is inevitable that some fat will run out but this will be excessive if: too cold an oven temperature is used, paste is under-rolled giving too thick fat layers, or too much fat has been used.

 

 

BASIC FULL PASTE (ENGLISH AND FRENCH METHODS)
240g (8ozs) Strong Flour

4-4 ½ozs ( 120-1359) Cold Water 1oz (30g) Lard, Butter, or Margarine

5-7 ozs (150-2109) Butter or Margarine (or special fats)

2 teaspoons Lemon Juice (optional)
Dough Making:
1 ). Rub the 1 oz (30g) lard into the flour.

2). Add the water and make into a well mixed dough.

 

 

English Method:
1). Roll out the dough to a rectangle approximately 8″ x 12″ (20cm x 30cm).

2). Plasticize the butter or margarine and spread it over 2/2 of the dough. To facilitate this it is recommended that the fat is first rolled between two sheets of silicone paper to the appropriate size.

3). Fold the remaining ½ of dough over the portion spread with the butter or margarine and fold over again so that there are two layers of fat and three layers of dough .

4). Roll out this piece to about the same size as previously and fold into three. This constitutes a normal tum, sometimes referred to as a half-tum.

5). Repeat (4) another five times so that six turns have been given with resulting periods between. If two turns are given in succession, it is advisable then to leave the dough to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Alternatively, four book turns may be given.

 

French Method:
1 ). Mould the dough into a ball, make a knife cut at right angles, and with the rolling pin form a square with the corners rolled extra thinly.

2). Plasticize the butter or margarine and form it into a square.

3). Place this diagonally in the centre of the dough and fold over each corner of the dough to meet in the centre, so completely enveloping the fat.

4). Proceed to give the required turns as in (4) & (5) above.

 

Scotch or Rough Puff:
In this method, the butter, margarine, or fat is chopped into cubes about (2.5 cm) and mixed into the dry flour. To this the water added and a dough made, keeping the cubes of fat intact. Proceed to give turns in any of the conventional ways.

This pastry is suitable only for varieties in which scrap would normally be ô€€®ed, especially for pies.

Oven temperature
Puff pastry requires a hot oven. Egg washed varieties should be baked to about 232C 400-450F, while the sugared varieties, because of the nature of the sugar, require a slightly lower temperature, that is 215C 400F.

Resting
The resting period between the turns and on the tray prior to baking are essential to ensure even rolling without the risk of the layers breaking down. However, too longer rest just to prior to baking will result in a loss of lift even though it aids the perfection of shape

Use of scrap
Some pastries for example Vol au vents, require a virgin pastry, whilst others like Palmiers require to be produced from pastry scraps. Most items can be made from pastry which a proportion of scrap is added. The usual method is to turn back the top fold, cover with the scrap and fold back, so that the cuttings are rolled into the virgin pastry. Where flakiness is required the use of cuttings is perfectly satisfactory. Yield for items made from virgin pastry can only be calculated by taking into account the amount of scrap pastry which remains after these items have been cut out.

Whenever puff pastry items are being made, the range of items should always include some in which the scrap pastrv can be utilised

Storage of puff paste
Can be stored indefinitely in the deep freeze. Since it is a time consuming process to make, it is always wise to have some in stock

 

Faults
UNEVEN LIFT

a) Incorrect rolling technique
b) Fat not evenly distributed prior to rolling
c) Insufficient resting for pastry to recover prior to baking
d) Uneven distribution of heat in the oven

 

POOR LIFT
a) Too much rolling, either by giving too many turns or pinning out too thinly
b) Either insufficient or too much fat employed

EXCESSIVE SHRINKAGE
This results in distorting the shape and is the result of insufficient rest prior to baking
FAT RUNNING OUT DURING BAKING
It is inevitable that some fat will run out but this will be excessive if:

a) Too cold an oven temperature is used
b) Paste is under rolled giving too thick fat layers
c) Or too much fat has been used

Puff pastry fat or margarine
This is a product made specially for puff pastry from oils and fats having a high melting point. It enables the pastry to be made under warm conditions and will enable the pastry to withstand rough handling. Puff pastry fat does not usually contain moisture, although there are puff pastry emulsions which can be used which contain up to 20% moisture. If this type of margarine is used more must be used in the recipe; for example 420g of margarine equates to 360g of a 100% fat

Use of butter
Undoubtedly butter produces the most delicious flavoured puff pastry and is recommended where first class quality goods are demanded. Care must be taken into its handling however. The paste must be gently rolled and refrigerated between turns. Plenty of rest must also be given and a softer dough made. The type of butter should be tough and waxy, Dutch being well recommended

Consistency
The consistency of the dough should equal that of the fat. For a tough puff pastry, fat or margarine, strong flour made into tight dough is recommended. Butter or margarine demand a softer dough, preferably one made from a softer flour

Turns
The number of turns normally given is such that about 700 to 1500 layers of fat in the dough should be built up. This maybe done in two ways: By rolling out and folding into three, or by folding the ends in first and then folding together like a book (book turn). A combination of both methods maybe used. What seems to matter is that the layers should be even and property insulated. Too many layers (over rolling) will break down this layer insulation to render the product more like short paste. Too fewer layers (under rolling) will result in coarse layers with perhaps uneven lift and the fat running out during baking

 

Quality of fat
Provided there is sufficient fat available to provide the insulation between the dough layers, the quality of fat is not critical. It can vary between 240g and ½ kilo of flour. For the lower quantities, however, less rolling must be given and this will mean slightly less and irregular lift. The lower quantity of fat will also give a harsher tasting pastry

Paste thickness
Provided the paste is rolled out sufficiently to enable the operative to fold it and give it the required number of turns, there is no virtue in pinning out the pastry very thinly. This might damage the structure by breaking the layers

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