Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Puff Pastry, Day 2


  • You transformed a pound of butter into a thin-ish slab and refrigerated it overnite.
  • You made the détrempe, cut a number-sign into the top and refrigerated it overnite.
  • You realized that the dude who played Ethan on 24 should get the ball rolling on a made for TV movie in which he could star as John Boehner. Oh, that was me. Nevermind about that.

I'm glad you're back! You will be so pleased with yourself for having done this.

So, first thing, get set up.

1. Remove the détrempe and butter block from the fridge.
2. Clean your counter
2. Set out a rolling pin and a some flour for dusting
3. Get a ruler if you will need one to assess the size of the dough
4. Read through all directions before starting, so you know what to expect and can troubleshoot on the spot if necessary.

NOTE: Make sure to use dusting flour very sparingly. You don't want to end up with too much flour in your pastry. 

First, we're going to roll out the détrempe. You want to end up with a large square, about 14"x14"

Dust the counter with a tiny bit of flour and start rolling - don't dust the top of the dough. Too much flour will make the détrempe just slide around. If it is sliding around too much, just flip it over and don't use any additional flour.

Once you've got a nice large square, unwrap your butter. Determine which side of the dough has more moisture (the side that was floured will be the drier side) and plop the butter in the center of that side. Fold the pastry dough up around it, forming a neat package.

Now, dust the counter with another little bit of flour and, with a gentle firmness, start rolling. You want to keep the integrity of the shape without letting the dough upwrap itself. It will gradually get easier, as the butter inside softens. Just start with less pressure and add more. You can flip the dough over while rolling it out - this  both makes rolling a little easier and allows you to check the surface of the dough. On occasion you will get fissures in the dough, little butter blowouts from counter pressure. If this happens, don't panic, just sprinkle the spot with flour and continue a little more gently.

Roll the square out into a rectangle, about 24"x13". Now, you're going to do the first of five book-folds.

Take the right and left sides of the rectangle and fold them in, meeting in the center, like this:

Now, fold in half, one side over onto the other. It will look like this:

Dust the counter again, a little more generously this time. Start rolling again, this time with extra care as from this point on, butter blowouts are more common. Just be gentle and slow, and turn the dough frequently to check both sides, adding flour to blowout spots as needed. Roll the dough into another rectangle, pushing it wider and longer until it measures about 32"x9"

Do another book fold, then wrap well in plastic and retire it to the fridge to rest and chill, for 2 hours minimum. At this point you'll notice your dough looks much smoother than it did after the first book fold.

Congratulations! You now have a 16-layer dough. After two more book folds you will have 256 layers.

You will do three more book folds to get to the 1,000 layers. Honestly, I get a very puffy pastry with four book folds. I'm going to play the fifth fold by ear today. Either way, repeat the above process, rolling out a large thin rectangle, and book folding two more times. Then refrigerate for another two hours. If you want to do the fifth fold, do so after two hours of chill time.

I'll add the finale with images in a third post later.

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