The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Questions regarding Puff Pastry Dough

syllymom's picture

Questions regarding Puff Pastry Dough

I tried my hand at puff pastry and had a not bad first attempt but have a couple of questions.

First, how cold should the butter be?  out of the refridge cold, or room temperature?

Second, I did have butter break through the dough when I was rolling it out.  I put flour down and kept rolling.  Is that the right thing to do?  Why did it break through?  Too warm, too cold the butter?

Third, I tried to make turnovers and when I wet and sealed the dough the filling still leaked out when baking.  What is the trick to prevent that?

Thanks in advance.  It still tasted good but I would like to make better.


mcs's picture


Usually if the butter breaks through, it's too cold. If it gets squeegeed out by the dough, it's too warm. According to Bernard Clayton, one of the leading pastry authorities, the dough temperature is supposed to be 42 and the butter is supposed to be 60. According to me, who is not an authority on anything other than my own cooking, the dough comes out of the fridge (36) and goes into the freezer for 30 minutes, so I'm guessing it's around 32. The butter slab comes out of the fridge and sits on our counter for about 90 minutes, and our house temperature is around 60.

It's tough to make the cherry stuff stay in a puffy dough, so what I do is make it open faced.


It's kind of a cop out, but a lot easier.

Hope this helps.


syllymom's picture

Thanks for the info. 

How did you do the open face?  Did you cut a hole on top?  Those look soooo good and yummy.  Can't wait to try it again.

mcs's picture

Let's see if I can explain it w/o pictures. Start out with a square. Divide into two pieces diagonally. One of these triangles will be the bottom, one will be the top. Brush a light egg wash on the piece you choose for the bottom. Dock it (poke lots of holes in it with a fork).For the top triangle, fold it in half. Use a knife or bench scraper to cut out a triangular chunk from the folded side, in about 1/2 inch from each of the non folded edges. Remove the middle and open up your triangle and press it to the top of the bottom piece. Huh? Now you can proof it without the cherry filling, then fill it right before it goes in the oven, making it less likely to seep. Hope that makes sense.


syllymom's picture

That makes sense.  Now you said "you can proof it without the cherry filling".  Do you use a different recipe?  I didn't think there was yeast in it.

Thanks so much.

mcs's picture

Sorry for the misunderstanding. I make my turnovers with a croissant dough (yeast) instead of a puff pastry (no yeast) to make the turnovers 'chewier' instead of 'flakier'. The butter and dough temperatures still stay the same as the puff pastry dough.

Larry Clark's picture
Larry Clark


between these doughs and danish?



JERSK's picture

    Making classic puff pastry is a little tricky and takes some practice. The butter has to be malleable(easily spreadable but not too soft) not to break through. It's usually mixed with some flour to make it more of a paste. I usually make a quick puff pastry adapted from an old Julia Child recipe. It works well for most things, but doesn't rise quite as much. Here's my recipe.

Quick Puff Pastry

1X Recipe
1 ½ Cup All-Purpose Flour
½ Cup Cake Flour
1 Tsp. Salt
12 Oz. Unsalted Butter (Plugra )
½ Cup Iced Water

2X Recipe
3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup cake Flour
2 Tsp. Salt
24 Oz. Unsalted Butter (Plugra)
1 Cup Iced Water

1. Cut butter into ½ in. Cubes and place in freezer for 10 minutes .
2. Mix together flours and salt in stand mixer using paddle . If using pastry for a
dessert , reduce salt by half ,
3. Put butter in mixer and on low speed , mix butter into flour until it’s about the
size of lima beans . Refrigerate bowl with contents about 10 minutes .
4. Add ice water and mix slowly until it just comes together , It should be pretty
wet and hard to handle .
5. Turn dough onto a floured work surface and with floured hands , pat dough
into a rectangle about 8 X1 0 inches ( 10 x 18 for larger quantity).
6 .Sprinkle a little flour on surface of dough . Fold dough into thirds as you would
a business letter . You’ll probably need a large spatula or rimless cookie sheet to
do this .
7. Lift dough from surface , clean and flour the table .  This time using a rolling
pin roll out to 8 X 10 in. With the folded sides as the width and the open end as the
length . The actual dimension is not as important as making sure all your edges are
even and square and the dough is a uniform thickness . Fold again and repeat
twice more . This must all be done rather quickly . If for any reason you are interrupted , or the butter starts to get soft , put the dough in the refrigerator and let it rest for half an hour . After the four turns , wrap the dough and put it in the refrigerator . Let rest at least 40 mins. or until the next day.
8. Remove dough and repeat folding process 2 more times . Refrigerate dough and let rest for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days before using . Dough can be frozen at this point for about a month .
Note : Smaller recipe will make about 22 oz , larger 44 oz.

Rock's picture

Lots of good info on puff pastry

JERSK, I've used a similar quick puff pastry recipe with great success.  I try to stick with whole grain breads but, with cabin feaver, butter is starting to call out to me.

Mark, that's a great pic! You have a nice web site. If I didn't live in the mountains of CO I'd be in Montana. Next time I'm passing thru I'll see if you're open.  My wife and I had a fun and profitable chocolate shop, but it wasn't until we sold it that people told us we could have charged a lot more for our candy.  I think you should consider that. Just a thought. Good Luck!


mcs's picture

Thanks for the compliments on the website (it's my wife's work) and the input on the pricing. I ran into a similar problem with too low pricing on a previous business, until we raised our rates. Oddly enough, often people see low prices and think 'low quality' rather than 'great deal'. We'll see.


OK, back to the Puff Pastry dialogue...

JERSK's picture

    They all fall into the category of laminated(or layered) doughs. Puff pastry doughs contain only flour, butter, water and salt. Croissant dough contains flour, milk, yeast, salt and maybe a little sugar. It is made in a similar fashion as puff pastry, with the layering of butter and folding. The dough is kept chilled and has to rise before baking baking. Danish dough is similar to croissant, but contains egg and higher amounts of sugar, so it is a sweeter, richer dough. There is also a Hungarian Yeasted Pastry, that contains egg, yeast, milk and sugar. The butter is incorporated into it like quick puff pastry. I have a recipe for it, but haven't tried it. It sounds like a hybrid of all the above.

qahtan's picture

 When adding butter I take the butter from the fridge wrap it loose in plastic wrap

 and hit it with the rolling pin to make the butter mallable but still cold, it is then the same texture as the dough it is the be layered in.

  I also always use salted butter.  qahtan

qahtan's picture


 Look in here and scroll down theres Julia Childs recipe.. qahtan

syllymom's picture

This is the picture that inspired me to try puff pastry.  I followed the link from Julia Childs website and thought "that's not to hard".  I will be trying this again. 

Thanks everyone for the help.  This is a wonderful site.

gothicgirl's picture

I got a recipe out of A Bakers Tour and it worked very well.  I enclosed the butter using the book fold method, and it turned out really nice.  I was able to get four turns on the dough in one evening, with just 20 min rests in the fridge in between.

When I make puff I like the butter to be slightly below room temp.  I want it workable, but not too soft.  We learned that the butter and the dough should have the same texture.  Soft, but sturdy. 

Good luck!! 


qahtan's picture


 this is why I like to make my butter mallable with the rolling pin..

 this way it is still cold but the same texture as the dough, this way it doesn't ooze out.   qahtan

edh's picture

You all are going to make me cry; that all looks so good!

That said, the reason I want to cry is that I can't eat dairy, which makes things like croissants and puff pastry verboten. I've been toying with the idea of trying a puff pastry with shortening, but have hesitated to do so because of the eww, gross factor. Shortening just doesn't do what butter does. On the other hand, I've had pretty good luck with cookies and cakes, and am wondering if I dare venture further afield?

Understand; until this became an issue, I was an all-butter, all the way kind of baker, so I don't ask this lightly! Croissants are out; there are somethings it is better to do without than to ruin beyond redemption, but I know I've had commercial puff pastries that used shortening, and they weren't horrible.

So, does anyone have any experience, suggestions, warnings etc?

I'd love to hear anything anyone has to say,



qahtan's picture


 What a shame.................. 

Couldn't you just eat a little bit of pastry...... ;-)))) qahtan

JERSK's picture

   You can make puff pastry with shortening and it will be as flaky, but not as tasty. A good soy margarine would be better as far as flavor. There is a brand I've used before, I think called Willow Creek, that had a good flavor. I've used it with vegan friends and I liked it. You should be able to get it at natural food type stores.

edh's picture


Thanks for the suggestion; I've been discounting the vegan margarine I've been using (Earth Balance, really not bad for fake butter), because it's pretty salty, but qahtan pointed out that she uses salted butter for her pastry. That's what I used to do, so I'm going to give it a try. I think you're right about the blandness factor; I've noticed it in the commercial ones I've had, but hadn't stopped to think about why.

Not that I really need such things in my life right now, but it all just looks sooo good...


Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Try it with coconut oil! It has such a nice flavor in pastries and baked goods!

nbicomputers's picture


AP DOES NOT HAVE ENOUGH GLUTEN to make a good pastry a brean flour with a good proten is required

the last puff dough i make was with king aurthr special patent NOT AVAILIBLE IN STORES but you can buy a 50 lb bag from a baker supply house

nex the roll in fat must be ether a good butter 85 percent butterfat which has more fat then your reg hotel bar of land of lakes.  in bakery we use a fat called flakmor it is a special fat with hi water count and hi melting poing (higher than body temp which is why when you buy a pastry in a bakery you can sometimes feel the grease on the roof of your mouth while you eat it)

now for the dough

bread flour 4 lb

cream of tarter 1oz---or 4 oz of table vinegar or lemon juice (works as a dough relaxer)

salt 1/2-oz

shortening (not butter or margeren) 4oz

eggs 4 oz

water 2lb 4oz ( leave out the 4 oz if you use the vinegar or lemon juice since that counts as part or the water)

simple so far right!!!

now the dough must be well delevoped (which is why for the bread flour) you should be able to pull it thin with out tearing and comes out clean and not sticky from the mixer.

once done let it rest about 30 minutes

roll in fat 3lb-8oz

all buter or part flakmor anf buter or all flakmor (any fat will work but quality and volume will varie)

the roll fat should be plastic-meaning smoth and spreadable without being melty  and not hard if you are blending fats then blend them in your mixer till they look like one fat and put them in the freg and let them get hard and mixthem in the mixer again to get them plastic

some bakers add about 4oz of flour to the fat to make them easer to roll out.


roll the dough into a rectangle shape and using pieces of the fat about the size of a ping pong ball dot the fat over 2/3 of the dough (THIS ROLL DOES NNOT COUNT -this is the part tha most are not sure about) and fold the 1/3 of the dough ofer the part with the fat and then fold the other 1/3 that has fat ofer that creating a dough that has 3 layers of dough and 2 layers of fat

dough--fat--dough--fat--dough---5 layers

now roll it out to a rectangle again and folt it in three layers  5x3-15 layers

let it rest about 5 to 10 minutes and roll it again this time in FOUR layers  4x15-60 layers

brusk it lightly with oil and cover it with plastic and put it in the frdg for an hour but dont leave it in to much longer than that cause the fat will get to hard and break when you roll it out again

now roll it again and fold it into 3 parts 60x3-180 layers

let it rest about 15 minutes and roll it again into 4 parts 4x180= 720 layers


brush it with oil and cover with plastic put it in the frdg for at least 1 day before you want to use it

the finished dough will be ok in the fridg for about a week BUT IF YOU frezz it --it will last for 6-9 months  just take it out and thaw in the frdg over night and the dough will be fine. in fact it will be much easer to roll out and makeup after it is frozzen.

In my home i make this whole mix cut the dough part in half and mix two times in my KA when the rolling is finished i cut the dough into 4 parts and frezz

i still have some frozzen that i made before christmas and it is still fine i will post some pic when i bake some off which should be in a few days.

bakeing temp should be about 350 too hot and a crust will form and prevent the dough from puffing to cold and the fat will melt out ether way and you will get small greasey patries.

when making up the finished dough sheet shoult be 1/4 to 1/8 thick DO NOT ROLL OUT TO THIN 

pS there are some very good butter flavors on the market

THE best one is extrin's cream royal cost about 60 a galon campaired to 18 a galon for the regular but it is a natural and artifisal product and contains some dairy but for the mix above you would use 1/4 to 1/2 oz so it should be ok.  if not just add some reg non dary butter flavor to the dough THAT'S WHAT WE BAKERS DO

guide to adding extrin's cream royal

cookies 1-3 oz for 80 lb of batter

yellow cake 1oz to 65 lb

butter cream icing 1-2 oz to 150 lb

don't use something like Butter Buds due to the other ing in it such as salt and other chem it in that have a toughening affect on the flour