08 August, 2014

Basic Puff Pastry Dough

Puff pastry dough is a basic necessity when making certain baked foods such as turnovers or pies. It also can be baked alone as biscuits or croissants. If you like, you can of course buy frozen puff pastry but that's no fun and you can't control what's in it. Traditional puff pastry has a 1:1 ratio of flour to butter, which is a little horrifying to me. I lessened the butter down to the bare minimum needed to get flaky layers and a rich, buttery taste.

PLEASE NOTE: This recipe is best made the night before so it can rest in the fridge overnight. I've been told that puff pastry can rest just a few hours in a pinch, but I've never tried it and can't personally vouch for the results.

Basic Puff Pastry Dough

Prep time: 1 hour (this is a high estimate; the temperature of your kitchen will matter a lot)
Rest time: 24 hours
Total time: 25 hours

Yield: Enough dough to make two pie crusts (such as for two single crust pies or one double crust pie)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 stick cold butter, diced
  • 1 cup ice water
  1. Whisk the flours together in a large bowl.
  2. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour until you have pea-sized chunks throughout the flour. 

  3. Slowly add ice water to the flour a little at a time, using the pastry cutter to work it in. Start with half a cup, then add a tablespoon at a time until the dough just barely holds together. Go slowly for this step. The amount of water you need will vary depending on your flour brand, method of storage, location, the current humidity, whether or not it's actively raining, and what house Jupiter is in.
  4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and use a floured rolling pin to roll it into a rough rectangular shape.
  5. Fold the rectangle into thirds and turn so the seam is vertical to your point of view.
  6. Repeat steps four and five three more times (so you roll the dough out four times total). As you roll, you will notice the dough becoming smoother as it begins to hold together more.
  7. Fold the dough into sixths, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for twenty-four hours.
  8. The next day, take the dough from the fridge and roll out as needed for your recipe.

Important note: It's important to keep the dough cold throughout this process. If you can smell butter your dough is getting too warm and the butter is melting. Put it back in the fridge for a few minutes before continuing to work with it.

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