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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Recipe: Laminated Dough (Puff Pastry)

Puff Pastry Vols-au-Vent with Berries and Cream

Recipe: Laminated Dough (Puff Pastry)

A Pastry Recipe Everyone Should Know



About a month ago, we put a mixed berry Crostata on the menu at Osteria Morini. It's a vibrantly colored, rustic tart made with grilled Apricots, Blackberries and Raspberries baked in a Puff Pastry crust and served with Pistachios and Vanilla Gelato. Yes, it is as delicious as it sounds.

Made from hand rolled Puff Pastry, it's a labor intensive dessert. But standing in that basement kitchen, rolling pin in hand and the smell of buttery dough filling my nostrils, I was struck by exactly how much I love Laminated Dough (as perhaps only a Pastry Chef truly can). 

But how can you not love Laminated Dough? Not so much a recipe as it is a technique, lamination is responsible for creating the characteristic flakiness of everything from Puff Pastry to Croissants and Danish. 1-2-3... you have to love them all.

What exactly is lamination? It's a process of forming hundreds of layers of Dough and Butter. When baked, the layers of Butter melt, boil and steam. The fat effectively fries the Dough layers, creating that delicate crispiness. At the same time, the water in both the Butter and Dough evaporates into steam, inflating the layers in between the crisping dough like a flaky balloon.

Puff Pastry is a great place to begin when learning the technique because, absent any yeast, the rise of the dough is completely dependent upon the lamination.

I won't lie, the process is time consuming. If you want an impressive rise, you have to form many, many layers. Fortunately, with each roll and fold, the number of layers increases exponentially. That said, to create the nearly 1,500 layers in a traditional Puff Pastry, you will need to roll and fold the same piece of dough six times before you're good to go. So let's get started...


A Paton of Puff Pastry After a Letter Turn
Laminated Doughs are made from two parts: The simple dough, called the Detrempe, and the block of Butter, called the Beurrage. Together, they form a Paton.

The Basic Dough for the Detrempe
For Puff Pastry, the Detrempe is the simplest of doughs. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, begin by mixing Flour, Salt, Sugar and soft Butter (known as Beurre en Pommade, this Butter should be the consistency of Mayonnaise... not melted) until the ingredients are well combined.

The Basic Dough for the Detrempe
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add very cold Water. The low mixing speed and cold Water minimize gluten development, keeping the dough tender. 

As you add the Water, keep a very close eye on how the ingredients are coming together. Even when properly hydrated, the dough should still be crumbly in large pieces. Stop mixing as soon as the dough forms.

The Detrempe - A Package of Basic Dough for Lamination
Gather the dough and form the Detrempe into a square package about 1" thick, and wrap it well in plastic wrap. Allow the Detrempe to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. The resting period helps the Flour to evenly hydrate and relaxes any gluten that may have started to form during the mixing process.

The Beurrage Sitting on the Detrempe - Butter to be Encased in Dough
As the Detrempe rests, form the Butter package (the "Beurrage"). 

At home, you're likely working with sticks of Butter. It's easiest to cut the sticks in half and line them to form a square. Then, wrap the Butter in plastic wrap and gently beat it with a rolling pin to create a solid square block about 1/2" thick.

If at any time the Butter starts to melt, put it back in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes. The Beurrage should be soft and pliable, but it should never be melted. 

When the Detrempe is done resting, remove it from the refrigerator. Place the Beurrage in the center of the Detrempe, turned 45 degrees like a diamond.

Laminating Dough - Encasing Butter
You'll notice there are four triangle of dough sticking out from under the Beurrage. Roll those triangles out into square shaped flaps forming a cross with the Beurrage in the center.

Laminating Dough - Encasing Butter
Working one by one, fold the flaps tightly over the Beurrage, being careful not to trap any air.

The Paton - A Mass of Dough with Butter Encased Inside
Tightly seal all of the flaps and seams so that the Beurrage is completely encased in the Detrempe. Congratulations, you have your Paton!

Now it's time to make a judgment call. If the Beurrage inside the Paton seems too soft, place the package back in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes. If the Beurrage is soft but fully solid, it's time to get rolling.

Performing a Letter Turn
Classic Puff Pastry requires a total of six Letter Turns. 

A "Letter Turn" is the process of rolling a Paton into a rectangle and then folding it back up as you would a business letter. The Paton is then turned 90 degrees, rolled out again and folded back up. Repeat... repeat... repeat.

With each turn, more and more layers of Dough and Butter are formed. And with each sequential turn, that number of layers increases exponentially.

The Paton After Six Letter Turns
To begin, gently roll the Paton into a rectangle (similar dimensions to a piece of paper) that is about 3/8" thick. With this initial step, take care to roll gently so that the Beurrage spreads evenly inside of the Paton.

Once the Paton is rolled to 3/8", make the first fold (i.e. fold the Paton into thirds like a business letter). Turn the Paton 90 degrees and roll it out again to 3/8" thickness and perform the second fold. 

After two turns, wrap the Paton in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. The resting period serves to relax the gluten formed during rolling and also gives the Butter a chance to resolidify.

Repeat the process, performing two more sets of two turns and rests for a total of six turns. 

After the sixth and final turn, let the dough rest for at least three hours before using.

Puff Pastry Dough Rolled to 3/8" Thickness
When you are ready to use the dough, roll it to between 1/4"-3/8" thickness.

Using a Sharp Knife to Cut Puff Pastry Dough
Puff Pastry Dough can be used in many ways. Here are a few tips for working with the dough:

  • When cutting the dough, use an extremely sharp knife. A dull knife will seal the edges shut and inhibit the rise.
  • Bake Puff Pastry at a high temperature (i.e. 400 degrees Fahrenheit). The high heat will result in the most dramatic rise.
  • Save your scraps. You can re-roll these pieces. Even though rerooling Puff Pastry dough will destroy some of the lamination, it is still perfectly fine for certain products, like Cheese Straws.

Scraps of Puff Pastry Saved for Re-rolling
Cheese Straws Made with Puff Pastry Scraps




- The Recipe -




Laminated Dough - Puff Pastry:


Yield: 650g -  9"x13" sheet of dough

Ingredients:
  • All Purpose Flour: 240g (2 Cups)
  • Butter, soft ("Beurre en Pommade"): 35g
  • Salt: 6g (1 Tsp)
  • Sugar: 8g (2 Tsp)
  • Water, cold: 110g-140g (About 1/2 Cup)
  • Butter, cold: 225g (1 Cup / 2 Sticks)

Directions:

1. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the Flour, Salt, Sugar and butter until the ingredients are well combined.

2. While continuing to mix on slow speed, slowly add the cold Water. Continue adding the water until the ingredients just come together into a rough dough. The dough will likely not require all of the water.

3. Collect the dough and gently form it into a square measuring approximately 5" by 1" thick. This mass of dough is known as the "Detrempe". Wrap the Detrempe in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to rest for at least 30 minutes. 

Chef's Note: The resting period allows for the dough to become evenly hydrated and also relaxes the gluten structure, which is critical in making a tender dough. 

4. As the Detrempe rests, make the Butter layer for the Laminated Dough ("Beurrage"). Wrap the Butter in plastic wrap and beat it with a rolling pin to form a square that is roughly the same size as the Detrempe, but half as thick (approximately 5" by 1/2" thick).

5. When the Detrempe is done resting, remove it from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Place the Beurrage on top of the Detrempe, rotated 45 degrees (i.e. like a diamond). There will be four triangles of dough from the Detrempe showing from under the Beurrage. Gently roll out each of the triangles to form square flaps that are large enough to fold up and over the Beurrage. When you have rolled out all four flaps, the Detrempe will look like a cross.

6. Working one at a time, fold each flap up and over the Beurrage, completely sealing the Beurrage inside of the Detrempe. Make sure that the Beurrage is completely encased and that all of the seams are well sealed. The completely sealed package of dough is referred to as a Paton. 

Chef's Note: The Dough and Butter layers of the Paton should be the same consistency when working with the Dough. If at any time the Butter becomes too soft and appears to be melting, immediately place the Paton in the refrigerator to chill for 15-30 minutes. If the Butter layer melts, it will be absorbed into the Dough layer and the lamination will be lost. If the Butter is too hard, it will crack when the Dough is rolled and will become unevenly distributed between the layers.

7. Flip the Paton so that the seam side is facing down. Carefully roll the Paton into a rectangle approximately 8" wide by 15" long.

8. Once the Paton is rolled into a rectangle, make the first of six Letter Turns. Fold the Paton like a business letter, first folding the top third down over the middle third, and then folding the bottom third up over the entire Paton. The folded Paton should measure approximately 8" wide by 5" long. 

9. Rotate the Paton 90 degrees so that it now measures 5" wide by 8" long. Once again, roll out the dough to approximately 8" wide by 15" long and perform the second letter fold. After the second letter fold, wrap the Paton in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes so that the Butter can chill and so that the gluten can relax.

10. After 30 minutes, remove the Paton from the refrigerator and repeat the rolling and turns process two more times. After this, you will have completed four of the six Letter Turns. Return the Paton to the refrigerator for another 30 minutes.

11. After 30 minutes, perform the last two Letter Turns. When you have completed the sixth turn, wrap the Paton in plastic wrap and let is rest in the refrigerator for at least three hours.

12. After the final resting period, roll out the dough into a rectangle approximately 3/8th of an inch thick. This sheeted dough can then be cut to make any of a number of products.

Storage:

- Wrapped in plastic wrap, the dough can be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for a couple of months. 


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