The Fresh Loaf

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Puff pastry will not puff

amen2u's picture
amen2u

Puff pastry will not puff

This may not be new. I have tried several times and I cannot get my puff pastry to "puff".  I have tried a couple of variations in recipe, but have always done the roll-and-fold technique.  However, when I make up the actual pastries, they do not "puff" at all.


Can someone recommend a primer for me --- or some basic suggestiopns?


 


Thanks.

jcking's picture
jcking

If you haven't found anything here, try and search the King Arthur Flour website.


Jim

Sjadad's picture
Sjadad

Some thoughts -

amen2u -

As you work with the dough, both during lamination and the final shaping, the butter layer needs to be as close to the dough layer in temperature and consistency as possible. If the butter starts to melt it can bleed into the dough layers, which can result in it fusing togethr and would impede puffing.

Similarly, after you've shaped your final pastry you should put it back into the fridge for 30 minutes or so to firm up the butter layer before it goes into the oven.

Finally, be careful with your egg wash. If the egg wash drips down the side of the pastry and onto the parchment it will "glue" the dough down and prevent the pastry from puffing.

Good luck!

Sjadad

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Puff pastry, although it's not often specified, requires high-gluten flour.


And, by the way, puff pastry cooked with a  micro+grill combination comes out wonderful! (only the non-leavened version, of course).

ds99302's picture
ds99302

The recipe I've always used calls for pastry flour (a low-gluten flour).  Well, actually it's half all-purpose flour and half pastry flour.   If pastry flour is unavailable you can substitutute a mixture of cake flour and all-purpose flour.  Using a "Southern" flour like White Lily or Martha White is another alternative.   I would think using a high-gluten flour would make the final product tough and more bread-like rather than tender and flaky like a pastry crust.

Sjadad's picture
Sjadad

Many people tend to underbake puff pastry. You must start it in a relatively hot oven (460-475) until it has fully risen, sets and begins to turn golden. Then reduce the oven temp to 375 or so and continue to bake, probably 5 minutes longer than you think it needs. If properly glazed it should be a deep golden brown when done. You must be sure to fully bake it because there are hundreds (maybe 1000?) of layers to bake through.

amen2u's picture
amen2u

Although I cannot buy KA flour around here, I will check out their site.


I keep the temperatures cold, but I am sure I have not refrigerated the dough long enough between sessions, especially after I have formed the final pastries.  And I have not been careful at all with the egg glaze.  Two things I will correct.


What do you mean by a "micro-grill"?  A toaster oven?


I will make the minor adjustments to my baking temperatures and times too.


I will post results in a week or so when I next try it.


 


Thanks to all.  Very helpful.


 


 

FoodFascist's picture
FoodFascist

RE temperatures: an old cookbook I have says the ideal ambient temperatures in the room where you're working your pastry should be 15-17 C. At  these temperatures, there is no need to refrigerate the pastry, you only allow it to rest between rollings (resting times same as refrigerating times below). Obviously it rarely gets that cool in a kitchen, especially at this time of year.

My book says, after the 1st fold and roll refrigerate for 10 min, after 2nd, for 20 min, after 3rd (if you do that many), 30 min. Using a marble pastry board and rolling pin helps, if you haven't got those (I haven't) what I do is stick the whole thing, board with pastry on it, into the fridge. The book also says rinse your hands with cold water before working the pastry.

The trouble with puff pastry is, you've got to follow the timelines pretty strictly, because if your pastry is too cold the butter will become too solid to roll well and will rupture the pastry layers (then when you bake it, the butter will ooze out and layers will collapse), whereas if it's too warm, the pastry will soak up the butter.

This bit is where I often fail as I leave the pastry in the fridge for too long, then don't allow it enough time to warm up again.

Also you should never do more than 3 fold and rolls as after the 3rd one you'll already have 256 layers and any more than that will be too thin, they'll rupture and collapse in the oven.

Hope this helps

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Is a combination of microwave + grill cooking. Whirlpool calls it "crisp cooking", other manufacturers use other names.

FoodFascist's picture
FoodFascist

a few more:

when you've finished kneading the pastry, it needs to rest for 20-30 min to allow gluten to develop. i don't know if you recipe uses alcohol but replacing a quarter of the water with vodka, rum or brandy will make your pastry puff better and also improve flavour.

You can also improve the elasticity of your pastry by adding salt and lemon juice (or citric acid). Use 1/8 teaspoon salt and 4 drops lemon juice per every 250 g flour. DO NOT use too much salt or lemon tho as that'll ruin the flavour.

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

actually there's another recent thread about Vitamin C where someone confirmed what I already read somewhere else: that citric acid makes the dough more relaxed and extensible, not more elastic, while ascorbic acid (vit C) makes it more elastic.

Ah, and no, I'm not a chemist and I'm not very expert:)

FoodFascist's picture
FoodFascist

sorry I don't really see the difference between elastic and extendable? Aren't they essentially the same thing? Elastic just means it stretches well, doesn't it?

FoodFascist's picture
FoodFascist

oh, and if lemon jiuce is used (as opposed to commercial citric acid), that has both citric and ascorbic acid in it anyway. Ta da!!

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

No, elasticity is a property that forces an object to return (or tend to return, to various degrees) to its original shape after it's deformed. Extensibility is another property that permits an object to be spread without losing cohesion. Of course doughs have a mix of both: partly extensible and partly elastic. For sure when you are laminating a dough you want to minimize elasticity because you don't want it to return to the original size after you have spread it (it's the hideous boomerang effect).

Yes, lemon juice has both, but in what measure? And even so, which of the two acids has the most intense effect on the dough?

amen2u's picture
amen2u

I had sort of given up on puff patry for the past while, but these recent discussions and tips have awakened my interest again.  And so, I will construct an improved "recipe", incorporating some of these tips and go at it again soon.

I will post results then.

All good stuff!  Thanks.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi All,

To clarify:

A laminated dough requires elasticity in order for the dough to have sufficient strength to accommodate the layers of fat being incorporated.

All dough needs to undergo some form of rheological change, meaning it becomes essentially extensible, as opposed to overly elastic.   The dough needs to be able to cope with the stress in the oven phase in order to accommodate the leavening effects of steam pressure.   Additionally, the dough is impossible to roll out and process if it is too elastic and therefore constantly springing back.

This is achieved in laminated doughs through resting the dough and allowing the gluten to relax.

Rolling out the dough to incorporate fat and to laminate, has a work input which causes further gluten development.   Therefore the need for resting between turns is only increased in order for the dough to relax sufficiently.

Citric acid will break down the dough structure, relatively quickly.   In very small quantities it is a dough relaxant, helping the dough to become more extensible.

When ascorbic acid is added to dough as an improver, it is added as a manufactured chemical during the mixing cycle as an oxidant.   Oxygen converts it to dehydroascorbic acid which helps to create a network of cross bonds of protein in the dough, strengthening the gluten network.   Reducing agents, such as citric acid, will cut through these cross bonds, breaking the dough structure down and enabling proteins to relax.   For lemon juice, the effects of the citric acid will far outperform the ascorbic acid, so it is added as a dough relaxant, or reducer!

The optimum temperature for the finished dough for puff pastry is below 19*C.   Subsequent process temperatures should be cool enough to prevent the fat becoming too warm and melting, but not so cold that the fat forms into lumps which prevent the formation of even layers within the dough.

I have a detailed tutorial on lamination here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/16082/laminated-yeasted-dough-construction   It was written to cover yeasted pastries such as croissant.   But the key principles also apply to puff paste.

All good wishes

Andy

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Andy,

you couldn't have described better and more clearly the problems and the requisites for a succesful lamination! It shows that you are a teacher!! Thanks,

 Nico

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Andy covered this topic on the recent course we held for UK  TFL users and it has been most useful.  Thanks again Andy :)

Richard