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Blog - Recipes
Type: Basic
Serves: 1 Kg (2 lb 4 oz)
Difficulty: high
Preparation time: 60' + rest (several hours)
Pastello (dough)
high gluten flour 350 g (12 oz)
water 160 g (5½ oz)
salt 8 g ¼ (oz)
Panetto (tick of butter)
butter 500 g (1 lb 2 oz)
all-purpose flour 150 g (5 oz)
Puff Pastry
Puff pastry is one of the basic preparations widely used in cooking and confectionery. It is used for savory and sweet recipes, such as the classic millefoglie cake, cannoncini, vol-au-vent, allumettes and much more. It consists of a mixture of water, flour and salt (called 'pastello') in which fat is added (called 'panetto', usually consisting of butter or butter mixed with flour), then spread and folded several times to form a series of intercalated layers of dough and fat. During cooking the liquids contained in the pastello are transformed into steam which, meeting the impermeable layer of grease, pushes each layer upwards, causing the dough to swell and creating that incredible crumbly, light product that melts in the mouth. To prepare a perfect puff pastry you need a certain skill and patience to respect the rest times. If you have both qualities ok! ... Ready ...? Go!

How to make Puff Pastry

(step 1) Pastello (dough)
To prepare this dough, melt the salt in the water and mix it all with the sifted flour. You can knead by hand or use the planetary with the hook and work the dough for a few minutes. Let the dough rest for 1-2 hours at room temperature, wrapped in a cling film.

(step 2) Panetto (tick of butter)
Prepare this dough by mixing the butter (cold in the fridge and cut into cubes) with the sifted flour. You can do it by hand, using your fingertips to avoid melting the butter, or with the dough mixer endowed with a leaf (the flat instrument, in the shape of a leaf or 'K'): insert the butter in the bowl of the mixer and start softening it by activating the machine at low speed, then add half the flour. When the first part of the flour has been absorbed by the butter, add the rest of the flour and knead it all at low speed, until a homogeneous mixture is obtained. Place the kneaded butter on a sheet of baking paper and create a 2 cm thick rectangular block (try to get a rectangle of 18 x 14 cm) and wrap it well in the baking paper. Let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours (preferably 2-4 hours).

(step 3) Inserimento del panetto nel pastello (how to insert the butter in the dough)
With the rolling pin, roll the dough to a thickness of about 1.5 cm (try to get a rectangle of about 20 x 30 cm). Insert the stick of butter (panetto) in the center of the dough (pastello) (fig. a). Fold the short free sides of the rectangle of dough onto the dough and seal them well in the center (fig. b). Pinch the remaining open sides so as to completely close the dough inside the pastel (fig. c). You have to get a sort of package where the pastel wraps the butter (you will get a rectangle of about 20 x 18 cm).

(step 4) Sfogliatura (folding)
Holding the table lightly flour, roll the dough to a thickness of about 1.5 cm (trying to obtain a regular rectangle of 21 x 50 cm). Bending the two short sides of the rectangle towards the center (fig. d-e). Then folding the pasta back on itself (fig. f). In this way 4 layers of fat are obtained interspersed with 5 layers of pastel. Each time the dough is rolled to the next fold, keep the short side open towards you (fig. f).
1st fold: roll the dough to a thickness of about 1.5 cm, fold it and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (better 2-3 hours), well covered with cling film.
2nd fold: roll the dough to a thickness of about 1.5 cm, fold it and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (better 2-3 hours), well covered with cling film.
3rd fold: roll the dough to a thickness of about 1.5 cm, fold it and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (better 2-3 hours), well covered with cling film.
You can stop at three folds or make another one.
4th fold: roll the dough to a thickness of about 1.5 cm, fold it and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (better 2-3 hours), well covered with cling film.

After the last rest you can roll the puff pastry to the desired thickness. With this quantity (indicated in the ingredients) I proceed as follows: I roll the dough to a thickness of 2 cm, then I cut it in half, I cover one half with the film and I keep it in the refrigerator, then I roll the other half to the thickness of 3-4 mm (or the thickness suitable for the product to be prepared). I put the dough on a baking sheet covered with baking paper and I let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, then I give it the desired shape and let it rest for another 30 minutes (minimum) in the fridge before cooking.

The method of baking the puff pastry varies according to the type of preparation, the size of the product to be cooked, the thickness of the dough, etc. In general I bake the puff pastry products in a static oven at 200-220°C. Usually it takes 15 to 25 minutes, but follow the methods and times indicated in each recipe and keep the cooking under control, because, as I said, temperature and time are variable.

Tips and Tricks
- With these quantity of ingredients you will get about a kilo of puff pastry. I advise you not to reduce the quantity, because, if you do less, you will find it difficult to make folds (you can keep the puff pastry that you do not use as indicated in the conservation paragraph). If this is the first time you prepare puff pastry, you may find yourself lost in understanding the dimensions of the dough, so I have indicated some measures that can guide you in the preparation. These measurements are indicative for this quantity, but do not worry if they come out several centimeters, when you are familiar with the preparation of the puff pastry everything will come more naturally.
- In the water for the dough, in addition to the salt you can add an half egg (25 g): I beat an egg, I put half in the dough and I use the rest to brush the puff pastry before cooking it. Egg proteins will stabilize the structure of the dough during cooking. If you add a teaspoon of vinegar (or white wine or white vermouth), it will make the dough more elastic and easier to roll.
- The amount of water to add to the pastel may vary slightly depending on the type of flour used. The pastel must be elastic and not sticky (it should form an elastic and smooth ball, with a consistency similar to that of the ear lobes), so you can increase or reduce the dose of water to obtain the desired consistency.
- The kneading time depends on the method used (manual or mixer) and the type of flour: if you use a weak flour it will take a longer time, if you use strong flour you need less time.
- The butter of the dough must be plastic: not too soft not too hard. The ideal condition is when dough and butter have the same consistency. When mixing the butter with the flour do not knead excessively, stop as soon as the flour has been absorbed by the butter. The amount of fat in a puff pastry can vary: you can have a thinner or fatter sheet.
- Respect the rest times: this is very important for the success of the puff pastry. Even, it is important to let the dough rest before cooking, otherwise it will deform.
- The ideal temperature for working the puff pastry should be between 18 and 20°C. If you do not have a conditioned room, it will be difficult to prepare in the summer.
- Folding can also be done in other ways. The folding mode will influence the number of layers and therefore the development in cooking. Roll the dough gradually by stretching the dough always in the same direction, that is with the short side open towards you.
- Keep the puff pastry waste in the fridge and compact it, without kneading it. You can reuse them in this way: wrap them in a whole piece of puff pastry, then roll to the desired thickness. Let it rest in the refrigerator, cut out the desired shapes, let it rest again, then cook in the oven (or freeze, if you want to keep the product). Keep in mind that this sheet will have a lesser swelling during cooking. I usually use it to prepare delicious small pizzas.

You can keep the raw dough for 2-3 days in the refrigerator, or in the freezer for 30 days.
You can freeze the dough already spread to the desired thickness, rolled between two sheets of baking paper, and then wrapped in cling film, or the product already formed and rested, ready to cook. For proper defrosting put the frozen product in the fridge at 4°C the night before, so in the morning it will be ready to be worked.
The puff pastry is crumbly and fragrant just cooked, so to get the most out of its goodness it consumes the product within a few hours.

Are you looking for a recipe journal to write down this recipe? I created the product that may be suitable for you: My Sweet recipes: Cakes and Desserts Recipe Book.

If you are looking for other delicious recipes, here are some examples:
Pie Patry, Choux Pastry

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