The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Blitz Puff Pastry Comparison

gcook17's picture

Blitz Puff Pastry Comparison

I've used the blitz puff pastry formula that King Arthur flour provides with their blitz puff pastry DVD several times and was always happy with it.  I decided to try the formula from ABAP by Michel Suas but figured the only way to compare was to do both of them side-by-side.   This isn't a test of King Arthur flour--it's just a comparison of two blitz puff pastry formulas.

The main differences are:

  1. Less roll-in butter in the ABAP formula
  2. ABAP calls for lemon juice and malt. 
  3. The KA dough got 4 double folds and the ABAP dough got 5 single folds
  4. KA calls for all-purpose flour so I used that in the KA dough.  ABAP just calls for flour so I used bread flour.

The all-purpose flour was not King Arthur flour.  It was the unbleached all-purpose from Costco (I don't recall the brand).  The bread flour was from Central Milling.  

I mixed them both by hand and tried to do everything else as similarly as possible.  This is obviously not a very scientific approach to comparing the two fomulas becasue there were so many differences.  Oh well, all the results tasted good.

Here are the results.  Two tarts filled with a frangipane made with almond paste and pastry cream flavored with li hing powder.  The plums are fresh off the tree in my back yard.

Here are the two tarts, KA first and ABAP second:


Here's a closeup of the KA crust:


here's the ABAP crust:

Here are shots of some scraps that I baked after the tarts were done.  KA is on the left and ABAP is on the right.

 One odd thing I noticed is that with the same amount of resting of the dough before cutting out the disc the KA formulas dough took up in the oven and became oval whereas the ABAP formula dough remained circular.  Here you can see them.  KA is on the left and ABAP is on the right.






mcs's picture

Those look spectacular and I love the li-hing touch.  


mrfrost's picture

They do look great.

I tried the KAF from their online version. It only does one double fold(but I think I did at least two). Got pretty decent results, but not as nice as either of these.

The ABAP dough seems to have risen much higher. Do you think this is due mainly to the procedure, or the higher protein flour?

In general, what's the ideal flour(protein level) to use for blitz puff pastry?

Greg? Mark? Thanks.

Edit: Just happened to search for another recipe, which explained, somewhat, for the difference in height here:

"...More folds will yield finer and more even layers with less height. Fewer folds yield a lighter product, with irregular layers and more height."

gcook17's picture

Thanks, mrfrost.

I wonder if that's what's happening here?  If I figured right, 4 double folds would be 256 layers of butter and 5 single folds would be 243 layers of butter so there isn't a very big difference.  Maybe it's enough, though.

I think it might be due to the flour.  Does anyone know why lemon juice is sometimes added to puff pastry dough?  Could that have something to do with the difference in height?  I've noticed that some formulas call for it and others don't.  Sometimes vinegar is called for.

lazybaker's picture

From the baking101 site and Diana's Desserts site, vinegar and lemon juice are used to make the pastry dough tender.

From Diana's site: Add one teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice as part of your liquid for each cup of flour in pastry and pie dough recipes. This won't affect the flavor but will result in more tender baked products.

Yesterday, I made puff pastry and didn't add the vinegar. The puff pastry came out bad! Very crunchy instead of flaky and light. But then again, it might have been not letting the dough relax after the complete turn. I didn't let it rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours before rolling. I only let it rest for 30 minutes.

I was trying to make Vietnamese pate chaud. They came out terrible. The filling was ok, but the puff pastry was crunchy. The puff pastry wasn't light and flaky. 



PaddyL's picture

What is it?

gcook17's picture

Li Hing powder is made from a dried, preserved plum, called a li hing mui.  The whole plum is sometimes eaten as a snack--sort of a long-lasting, hard, salty, hard-to-describe-flavored candy.  You can get them or the powder in Chinese grocery stores.

hansjoakim's picture

Those look great, Greg!

I think your exercise demonstrates that it's important to not give the dough too many folds when one's working with rough/blitz puff pastry. Four or five single folds should be ideal for a formula with approx. equal amounts butter and flour (ref. Roux brothers on patisserie and ABAP).

breadsong's picture

Hello gcook17,
I've just come across your post comparing these two pastry formulas.
Your tarts are so pretty - I love how you've 'scalloped' the edges - each tart makes me think of a flower, with the plum slices as petals.
If you were willing to share how you shaped/edged these beautiful pastries, I would be most grateful!
Thanks, from breadsong

jrudnik's picture

I have also seen the blitz recipe in cooks' illustrated Baking Illustrated, does anybody know how this compares to the formulae mentioned above. It is based upon frissage and a series of folds.