The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

a retired baker

retired baker's picture
retired baker

a retired baker

retired a couple of yrs ago after a career in kitchens, pastry shops, hotels etc.

I'd like to demystify and debunk much of what I see on youtube.

I'll start with reverse puff dough, supposedly it take 2 or 3 days to make, try 23 minutes.

then make some napoleons with it.

https://youtu.be/l6Ju8AXN8KI

Napoleons.

https://youtu.be/NiZRU0JSAWk

 

Yippee's picture
Yippee

Thank you for sharing. Do you have a shortcut to make croissants?😃😃😃

Yippee

retired baker's picture
retired baker

Yes I do, simple ways to get it done quickly, 

unfortunately I can't get fresh yeast here, I'm up in northern Maine, there isn't even a bakery within 100 miles.

Just use the same dough handling methods from puff dough directly into croissant. Same with danish, its similar , just a softer dough but that has no bearing on the handling method.

Benito's picture
Benito

Is there any advantage to making reverse puff to regular puff pastry?  Is it easier to make or are the results better in some way?

retired baker's picture
retired baker

its only slightly trickier to make but the benefits far outweigh the initial difficulty.

The butter layers are doubled, it doesn't need to relax like regular puff, roll it out, cut , shape and straight in the oven.

Mouth quality is more tender, more flaky. 

proth5's picture
proth5

I actually make my own puff pastry on a regular basis. While it does not take anything like 2-3 days (more like 4-6 hours), what I saw in your video was a little astonishing.

I have a very heavy rolling pin and no one has accused me (recently) of being a lightweight or a weakling, but there is no way that I could roll out my dough to decent dimensions without much more rest between folds than I saw in the video. With the detrempe formula I use (which contains 10% butter and no vegetable oil) even those with sheeters are advised to do only 2 folds between rests.

Is the (unspecified amount) of vegetable oil that is giving your dough the extensibility that allows you to do the rolling without much rest?  And how much are you using? Just curious, I'm kind of dedicated to an all butter puff pastry, so I'm not sure I'd try your method, but the demonstration was impressive and I'd like to know the details.

Your puff for the napoleons was very heavily docked, so naturally didn't end up being too high, but what kind of expansion do you typically get with your puff pastry and do you feel it is compromised at all by your rapid method and use of vegetable oil?

 

retired baker's picture
retired baker

you can use any fat you want in the dough, marg, oil, butter or non.

obviously butter in the dough will make the dough quite firm if you chill it before rolling, considering its main purpose is for lubrication ( so I'm told) then its not ideal. Chilling the dough before working with it works against you

In a larger batch I use 1 lb marg in 13 lbs flour.

Theres other things in play that help a lot. I sub 40% cake flour into bread flour to weaken the dough, it also makes a big difference in the baked texture, makes it very tender, not hard and crispy. It works very well in palmiers.  If you use straight flour such as all purpose, thats not ideal, notice also what I don't do as the dough comes out of the mixer, no kneading, no folding, no tucking edges underneath. I let it stay as it lays. I don't skimp on the butter, i the dough can take it and the extra helps rolling, its the butter that holds the dough from shrinking back as its rolled.  Theres a lot of things you wouldn't think are possible until you realize it is possible, often just knowing something can be done is half the battle, otherwise you wouldn't even try...and if you don't even try...?

From watching people on youtube, the biggest enemy is following what everyone else does, for some reason people lose their innovative nature.. Mix the dough then chill it? why? pound the butter and chill it ? I ask why and don't get sensible answers that hold up.  When my dough is finished its stone COLD. It was never chilled at any point. If your kitchen is way above the melting point of butter then you can start with ice water. If the ambient air temp is BELOW the melting point, exactly how can it melt? The dough is cold, the butter is stone cold and the table is the same as the air temp. My kitchen is around 70F.   Its not a case of it might melt... it can't.

Using a sheeter requires wait periods because it rolls so fast, but the end result is the same. 25 minutes done. To me a wait period is 2-3 minutes. I'm waiting for the gluten to relax, not for the butter to firm up.

I bought some butter today , I'll do a batch with butter in the dough, it won't make a spit of difference except to my expense, I'm on SS and watch the penny's.

proth5's picture
proth5

40% cake flour will make a big difference, although the all butter dough did seem to be a bit more elastic than the vegetable oil dough.

What I observe is that at points where the dough resists, where I would typically give it a half hour of rest, you give it a shorter rest. I'm not sure that the tradeoff of muscle for elapsed time is of big concern for me, but I respect your opinion on the matter.

I agree that one is not doing the rest to firm up the butter, since typically one has to let the butter warm up after a refrigerated rest so that it does not fracture. If ambient conditions permit, l will try leaving the dough out for a longer rest.

As a side note, I make a 50% whole wheat puff pastry, an interesting creature that yields a wonderful, golden finished product. Again, the high protein in my white flour and the high protein of the whole wheat is going to yield a more elastic dough than 40% cake flour.

I find very little of interest on TFL these days, but you have actually given me something to think about. Thank you.

retired baker's picture
retired baker

I'm not working as hard as it might appear, I'm recovering from major cancer surgery and a heart attack.

You spot on about the protein content in your whole wheat dough, I normally use hi gluten and cake flour, same 40%. It gave great results, but one day I forgot and used all hi gluten flour, it was inedible, very hard brittle palmiers. Up here in northern Maine I can't find hi gluten, best I can get is full strength, I'll have to mail order it. I prefer to blend my flour rather than use all purpose, I like having control over the ingredient.

 

retired baker's picture
retired baker

all butter, same thing.

https://youtu.be/TfX0IGNT0lQ

proth5's picture
proth5

I have studied with a few well regarded professional bakers, so my background is a bit more in depth than watching YouTube.

There is one more factor in the temperature of the butter used in lamination other than the beginning temperature of the butter and the temperature of the room. There is the "friction" factor - or the heat that is transferred by manipulation of the butter, transfer of heat from hands, etc. I can take butter and eventually soften it by putting it in a mixer long enough even though the room is cold. (And I can ruin a streusel by mixing it too long or too fast - trust me, I've done it.)

So, I thought about this in the context of your video.

Your technique is very efficient. Pound out the butter? A few wacks and you've got it flattened. It takes me considerably more (perhaps I am a weakling) and by the time I have the butter rolled out into a block it has passed the phase of "cold/pliable" and into the realm of "softened". It is no longer "stone cold" as yours is. In fact, it is often spreadably soft. I will need to chill it and then let it get back to cold/pliable.

(Also, some formulas for the beurrage of inverted puff pastry call for flour to be mixed into the butter. This will, of course, put the butter into a state that is much softer than cold/pliable and it will need to be chilled.)

Same with the rolling of the dough. Naturally 40% cake flour changes up the dynamic quite a bit, but a couple of passes and you've got the dough rolled out. It takes me a few more (see above about "weakling") and I've managed to get the butter softened. I'm going to have to chill it and then let it balance to the state where it matches the pliability of the dough.

I think that what is important are the guiding principles - mostly that the butter has to stay in a state of being cold enough that is does not blend into the dough, the pliability of the butter must match that of the dough, and that any dough with gluten in it is going to need rest to relax it after the trauma of rolling it.

I'm impressed with your technique, which has most likely been built up with many years of practice, and I'm glad you have shared it. I'm not sure that I would accept it as something that could be attained by everyone, so we just haven't gotten our minds around the possibilities.(Although I don't know why anyone advocates chilling puff pastry dough before the first set of folds - mix it cold and roll it.) I don't know about those folks who think it takes two or three days to make puff pastry (which seems excessive), but I see a little elapsed time and refrigeration as an ally to those of us who haven't quite developed your hand skills.

Still, it has been a long time since something interesting cropped up here and I thank you. I always think that watching these videos from an informed perspective is better than those who know nothing and either accept them as gospel or reject them out of hand,

retired baker's picture
retired baker

yeh thats why I said don't just blindly roll back and forth if the dough isn't pressing out, it will toughen the dough and loosen the butter to where it loses plasticity. Wait a minute, literally, and it will relax.

The maple stick I use for pounding weighs 2 lb, the weight does the work. If it weighed considerably less it wouldn't be possible to get the plasticity at sufficient low temp to be as useful.

proth5's picture
proth5

I don't roll dough blindly back and forth, I roll a long smooth stroke from end to end. I stop and wait a bit when I feel resistance. Yes, it relaxes, but not always enough. I can still soften up the butter and things are always much better after a much longer rest. (Although I plan to pay careful attention to that the next time I do lamination.)(And, I'm not using cake flour...)

My pin weighs about 2 pounds, and yet it takes me a lot more hits to get the butter pounded out. It does a lot of the work, but still, that butter block can get soft (and I'm still doing some of the work).

I get better with practice, but will probably never build up the amount of technique that you have. And that's my point. Your skills, built up over many years, allow you to get this done very quickly and efficiently. My skills? They need a little help from time and the fridge. The compromise (and attention to the principles) allows someone with limited technique to get good results. Not in 23 elapsed minutes, but certainly with a reasonable amount of working time over an elapsed time of 4-6 hours. Seems like a fair trade-off, especially when I am not doing this under the constraint of a production schedule. But "Man's reach should exceed his grasp or what's a heaven for?" We live and learn. (and there's always Blitz Puff Pastry when we are rushed...)

The people who say 2-3 days, though, are just wrong. I don't watch a lot of YouTube for just that reason.

retired baker's picture
retired baker

(And, I'm not using cake flour...)

on the subject of wrong flour giving surprising results, I came across a recipe for muffins that calls for hi gluten flour , resulting in a hi domed top. I was warned to only barely fold the flour into the batter otherwise you get rubber muffins.

Surprisingly decent muffins, we won an award and ended up making thousands of them every week. It produces a denser heavier muffin, quite unlike typical fluffy cupcake muffins. 

1lb butter,1.5lb sugar, 6 eggs, 3.5 cups milk , and 2.5lbs hi-G flour, 2 ozs b.p. stir flour in on 1st speed.      do not mix to a smooth batter. 

They can be scooped very high  but batter should be chilled before using, best with frozen fruit.

Muffins in the pic aren't baked, this is how they look going in the oven. Strawb/banana.

Start with oven at 450 , as soon as you see color drop it down to 350,

convection is fine at 350 all the way.

 

proth5's picture
proth5

I've done a series of muffins using bread flour and - this is surprising - They are mixed for 5 minutes in a Kitchen Aid mixer on speed 4. Lovely high domed tops and not rubbery at all. I don't have pictures (I never take pictures), people gobble them up. I do different struesel toppings for each flavor.

My 50% whole wheat puff pastry is shatteringly crisp and delicious. But it isn't easy to roll...

You've got to understand the rules before you break them and sometimes breaking the rules gives great results. I will think of your technique next time I do lamination (way too hot here to even think about it right now.)

retired baker's picture
retired baker

this is how they look going in.

and baked.

SugarOwl's picture
SugarOwl

I saw your video, love your accent. Two of my favorite people are Scottish. Makes me want to try puff pastry. Maybe  when it's winter, it's 95F here today (76F at 6am). I will try adding bread flour to my muffins, I have for cookies, but not for muffins. Thank you for a really great idea!

retired baker's picture
retired baker

if its 76 at 6 am , make it at 4 am. !

Another Girl's picture
Another Girl

I will try this. Thank you for sharing your expertise.

blainewill's picture
blainewill

Thank you very much for sharing the recipe with us, they look amazing.