The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

ITJB Week 7: Closed Pockets (1/14/12 - 1/21/12)

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Urchina's picture
Urchina

ITJB Week 7: Closed Pockets (1/14/12 - 1/21/12)

Now that we've had a bit of a baking warm-up with the breads, cakes and pastries to date, it's time to tackle the bakery equivalent of the 3-meter high dive. Danish or puff pastry. I'm a little breathless with anticipation, but it could also be the fear of a metaphorical 3-meter belly-flop, as well. 

This recipe, on p. 143 of the book, calls for either Danish laminated pastry OR blitz puff pastry, and can have either sweet or savory fillings. I  have shamelessly enlisted the help of a friend blessed with superior baking skills on this one (though she's never made laminated dough, either). Can't wait to see what we all turn out!

 

 

GermanFoodie's picture
GermanFoodie

quite a bit of advice to go around on TFL on that, and coincidentally I posted a small "how to" yesterday on my blog. This dough is not half as intimidating as it sounds/looks if you understand the relationship that the consistency of the butter has with the consistency of the dough. Can't wait to bake this! :)

loydb's picture
loydb

The Danish dough recipe in ITJB calls for shortening as the fat instead of butter. I was considering using nothing but butter instead. The shortening is supposed to be at room temperature, presumably so it can be spread like margarine. Would room temperature butter work? It would certainly spread. I was planning on spreading the butter, doing a fold, then sticking it all in the fridge. This seems to be contradictory to every video I've watched, however, that beats cold butter into a flat sheet to fold in while still chilled.

 

Elagins's picture
Elagins

you can certainly use butter, as long as you correct for its water content (15% in US) and knead 1 or 2 tsp of flour into it to absorb the water. we specified shortening because these pastries were traditionally pareve, i.e., meat-dairy neutral and edible with both by observant Jews. GF has it right, btw: the trick is to match consistencies to get an even roll-out, so as a practical matter, you could chill both butter and dough to equal hardness and get a similar effect.

Stan

loydb's picture
loydb

Thanks. So if I'm reading this right, the consistency is important during the actual rollout, not the initial assembly. E.g. :

  • Make the dough, roll it out unchilled
  • Spread room temperature butter or shortening  (could it be whipped with flour in a food processor?) onto the dough
  • Do the initial tri-fold
  • Wrap in plastic and stick in the fridge for an hour until everything hardens and cools
  • Remove and start rolling it out

 

I'm kind of excited by this, I've never tried making a laminated dough!

Thanks,
Loyd

 

 

 

Elagins's picture
Elagins

except i'd recommend some chilling, since cold dough is easier to handle.

Stan

GermanFoodie's picture
GermanFoodie

that that's where all the workarounds w/ the shortening and flavor etc. came from - to keep it pareve. I'll still plan on using butter and following my tried-and-true method. I tried the smearing-the-butter-on thing before as described in Gisslen's "Professional Baking" and it was a total disaster. :) BTW, while I understand water content etc. issues, I found that w/ your almond bun recipe that didn't matter one bit. I basically did a straight substitution. Granted, that alters the recipe, but the outcome was still delicious... :)

Elagins's picture
Elagins

is that the dough is highly enriched, not laminated. In enriched doughs, the fat is incorported into the dough; in laminated, the idea is to keep the fat's integrity as a separator between layer.  The problem with the moisture in the butter is that it binds to the flour and interferes with clean lamination. Shortening, which contains no water and remains solid at room temp, eliminates the problem.

Stan

GermanFoodie's picture
GermanFoodie

we're not gonna make each other happy. I'll defer to you as the book author and pro that you clearly had your reasons. You may in turn defer to me that I am a stubborn German who will try to substitute 1:1 regardless. If I fail, I'll announce it to the world that you were right and I was wrong and I'll never again question your wisdom publicly (tho I may do so privately). If I succeed, you'll know that your recipe works even tho somebody has "screwed" w/ it. :)

Elagins's picture
Elagins

the difference in the fat content is near immaterial in the grand scheme of things, and  as long as the laminations are well separated by a ayer of fat, no matter whether it's 1 angstrom or 10 ince, you'll get nice puffy puff pastry. so laminate away with carefree abandon, meiner eigensinniger Freund (my wife's Austrian; I'm well acquainted with Teutonic stubbornness), and enjoy your pastries!

Stan

GermanFoodie's picture
GermanFoodie

I adore puff pastry, so I'm looking forward to this one! :)

gmagmabaking2's picture
gmagmabaking2

Again did our baking together (gmabaking, gmabaking2, and gmagmabaking2) I will attempt to put all the pictures here... let me say this was a fun one... Enjoyed the making of the dough immensely... so easy, will definitely make this again, and again.

          far left, Barb in WA (gmabaking), then Helen in TX (gmabaking2) then mine - Diane (gmagmabaking2) TX... As I said this was an enjoyable bake and we are looking forward to next week's onion rolls. No problems with the dough making, no problems will the fillings... I had extra leftover so I filled some banana muffins with cheese filling.... YUMMY!

 

GermanFoodie's picture
GermanFoodie

didn't show up. :(

gmagmabaking2's picture
gmagmabaking2

That is what my sister said..... I see them on both the preview and the post.  Why?????

 

GermanFoodie's picture
GermanFoodie

Floyd. I know you're not the only one having issues on occasion.

gmagmabaking2's picture
gmagmabaking2

Again did our baking together (gmabaking, gmabaking2, and gmagmabaking2) I will attempt to put all the pictures here... let me say this was a fun one... Enjoyed the making of the dough immensely... so easy, will definitely make this again, and again.

          far left, Barb in WA (gmabaking), then Helen in TX (gmabaking2) then mine - Diane (gmagmabaking2) TX... As I said this was an enjoyable bake and we are looking forward to next week's onion rolls. No problems with the dough making, no problems will the fillings... I had extra leftover so I filled some banana muffins with cheese filling.... YUMMY!

 

gmagmabaking2's picture
gmagmabaking2

Did the pictures show up in the above post???? 

loydb's picture
loydb

Nope. 

dawkins's picture
dawkins

Could I use any of the fillings in the back for these pastries? I was thinking maybe the Custard, Apple or Pineapple - mmm, now I'm thinking of a kind of apple crumble, with apple and custard fillings, and streusel on top.... Anyhow, back in reality, are all the fillings suitable please? Thanks!

 

loydb's picture
loydb

Go nuts.

I let my wife choose the filling, it looks like apricot is the flavor of the week here...

 

 

dawkins's picture
dawkins

Thanks very much for the speedy reply, loydb. Better get myself down the shops for some tasty ingredients...

gmabaking's picture
gmabaking

I used the Blitz puff pastry with pineapple filling(p. 266). First time I have used ClearJel and nothing could be easier.

bonnibakes's picture
bonnibakes

Coming on the heels of the Polish Potato Bread disaster, this was a most satisfying bake. I had never considered making puff pastry from scratch before this challenge. Good quality, all butter commercial puff pastry is always available in my freezer. I chose to make the Blitz Dough, which produced a very workable batch of dough, and had a seriously superior taste. However, I had one problem. The Blitz Puff Pastry ingredient list on p.137 calls for "1 cup unsalted butter and 2 1/2 cups shortening, cold". The instructions on p.138 #2 say "Add the two sticks of butter", followed by #3 "...add the remaining butter pieces". My mistake was not reading the recipe carefully beforehand. I was suddenly faced with wondering which instruction was correct...all butter or part butter plus shortening? I continued, using shortening, since that was what I had measured out but would like to know which ingredient the authors had in mind.

I made the Cheese Filling on p.259 using cottage cheese that was drained for 36 hours. Next time I would use Farmer Cheese, because it wasn't the cheese flavor I was hoping for. At first we tried to put 3 Tbl of filling onto the pastry but it was too much and oozed out.

I was still left with almost half of the Cheese Filling. I baked a second batch the next day and added some softened cream cheese to the left over Cheese Filling. The taste was better to me and since I only used 2 Tbl of filling, I was able to seal the pastries completely.

All of the taste testers LOVED them!! I have the remaining last third of the dough in the freezer and can't wait to make them again. Yummy!

dawkins's picture
dawkins

Great looking cake - if mine come out anything like that, I'll be very pleased.i

Elagins's picture
Elagins

that problem has been noted and corrected in the Errata, which can be found at www.insidethejewishbakery.com

thanks for noting it. great looking pastries, btw. you did good!

Stan

GermanFoodie's picture
GermanFoodie

in your cheese filling: 2 large eggs are NOT equal to the grams you are listing. ONE egg weighs approximately 55 g, and I didn't realize the issue until I had the stuff already made. I tried to correct it, but it was too runny, no matter what else I put in it.

GermanFoodie's picture
GermanFoodie

OK, so the good news is that as predicted, laminating this dough w/ a 1:1 butter substitution worked perfectly. It is otherwise a LOT softer and stickier than what I am used to working with, but once you work the other flour in, it behaves just fine.

My problem was the filling. I picked the cheese one, as that is one of my favorites. I usually work with the grams, unless I'm dealing with eggs, and so for that I just looked at the volume. BIG mistake, as the recipe lists TWO eggs, but then as grams states 22 g. ONE egg alone weighs about 55 g, and by the time I realized it, I would have had to make the filling over. No time for that, so I thickened it somewhat, but it was a complete disaster as a filling for "closed" pockets. I had to make them half-open, which didn't help.

I have it straight from the horse's mouth, tho, that they are apparently delicious, if a little eccentric in appearance. :)

Elagins's picture
Elagins

and corrected in Errata

Stan

bonnibakes's picture
bonnibakes

This time around I used Farmer Cheese in the Cheese Filling p.259, hoping the firmness of that cheese would produce a filling that didn't run out. I was confused because the Volume indicated 1 1/2 cups or 8 oz of cheese. But 1 1/2 cups of cheese weighs 12 oz, so I ignored the 8 oz listed. I didn't see this in the latest Errata4. My filling still came out runnier than I wanted, but not by too much.

I found your reference to the size of Large eggs very interesting and looked up what USDA (US Dept of Agriculture) sets the weight at. I was very surprised to see that established weights vary between the US and the UK. For one large egg American standard weight is 2 oz or 57 grams, while in the UK it's 63-73 grams each. Either way, it looks like there needs to be a correction for the amount of eggs listed in the Cheese Filling.

But in the end, when pastry was cut 5"x5" (rather than 4"x4"), filling was tighter than two prior attempts (made with drained cottage cheese) and sliced almonds were used on top (instead of chunky almond halves), they tasted GREAT and came out looking more traditional.

Anna & I make the Challenge recipe on Friday and share samples with a bunch of folks. One of my friends ate one on the spot, practically swooned and exclaimed the taste transported her back to  her childhood. That's the biggest kind compliment I can get! Thanks for making so many of us happy. I'm documenting our experiences of participating in this challenge at bonnibakesbrooklyn.blogspot.com

Bonni

 

 

Nici's picture
Nici

I used the Danish Dough recipe, with all butter.  The dough was very sticky, and so I put it in the fridge, until it was workable.  I did not get the dough to butter consistency quite right, but even my ugly first attempt tasted delicious.  They took much less time to bake than the recipe said, but that could well be my oven.