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How to make puff pastry from scratch
RACV City Club Executive Pastry Chef Josh Cochrane helps you rise to the challenge of making your own puff pastry for delicious sweet and savoury dishes, with this step-by-step guide.
What’s the secret to a delicious caramelised apple tart or a creamy chicken and mushroom pie? It’s the beautiful, buttery puff pastry and it starts with this dough. You can buy puff pastry from a shop, but if you’re in the mood for a real baking challenge, you can make it yourself at home with this step-by-step guide.
RACV City Club Executive Pastry Chef Josh Cochrane says puff pastry is a flaky light pastry made from a laminated dough composed of dough and butter. “The butter is put inside the dough, which is repeatedly folded and rolled out before baking to create hundreds of layers of dough and fat,” he says.
The gaps that form between the layers left by the fat melting are pushed (leavened) by the water turning into steam during the baking process.
Makes 1.5kg block
650g plain flour
15ml white vinegar
15g castor sugar
500g butter to fold in
Mix the flour, salt and sugar together, followed by the water and vinegar. Mix until it forms a dough. Do not over mix. Rest in the fridge for two hours.
Form the 500g of butter into a rectangular sheet half the size of an A4 sheet of paper.
Flour your bench, roll your rested dough into a rectangle the size of an A4 sheet of paper.
Place the butter sheet on half of the dough then fold the remainder of the dough over to make a sandwich.
Roll the dough and butter until it is 45cm long and about 15cm wide.
Mark the dough into three 15cm sections. Fold one 15cm section to the 30cm mark and then fold the opposite end over the top to form three layers. Cover with plastic and allow to rest in the fridge for two hours.
Repeat the above step two more times, ensuring you rest the pastry in the fridge for a further two hours each time.
Once the puff pastry has been folded and refrigerated three times it is ready to use. Roll the pastry into desired thickness and cut into desired shape.
The dough and butter must be the same temperature. If the dough is cold and the butter is at room temperature, the butter will be pushed out the side instead of being incorporated.
Ensure the work area is cool to avoid melting the butter.
Resting the dough is essential, otherwise “shrinkage” occurs during rolling and baking.
Puff pastry is best baked at a high heat (180°C) to ensure the pastry can lift before the butter melts.