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Quick Puff Pastry

Here’s my earlier recipe for Classic Puff Pastry [1]. Every baker at some point in their life should master this recipe. Trust me, contrary to popular belief, it’s not difficult. It just takes patience, meaning you need to give the dough time to rest in the refrigerator. While it’s resting you can too, or go about doing whatever it is you like to do.

The recipe below comes together quicker than the classic version and works just fine, though it might not puff quite as high. But who’s going to measure? Use the best butter you can find and either recipe whether it’s the Classic or Quick version will give you superior results.

The recipe below is adapted from the one by Jacques Torres in his book Dessert Circus. His recipe is three pages in length. If you can get your hands on his book it is well worth the read not only for this recipe but there are many other gems in it. If you can’t find his book I encourage you to hunt/google for at least a couple of recipes to get other “takes” on making puff pastry. As they say, knowledge is power!

The recipe below makes about 2 1/2 pounds of dough

7 tablespoons (3.5 oz / 100 g) unsalted butter, melted, cooled to room temperature
4 cups (17.6 oz / 500 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons (0.6 oz / 15 g) kosher salt
Scant 1 cup (8 oz / 220g) cold water
1 1/4 cups + 1 ½ tablespoons (10 ¾ oz / 300 g) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, frozen

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the melted butter, flour, salt, and water. Using the paddle attachment stir the ingredients on the second speed and mix for about 1 minute. Stop the mixer when the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl.

Scatter the frozen butter cubes around the dough and mix on low speed just long enough to distribute the butter throughout the dough. This should take all of about 15 seconds. It’s important that you still see large pieces of butter throughout the dough.

Remove the dough from the mixer and quickly pat into an 8 x 10-inch rectangle about 1-inch thick. Make sure the butter is evenly distributed throughout the dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours. This resting time gives the gluten in the dough a chance to relax. It gives you time to relax too and to pat yourself on the back that you made it this far.

When ready to proceed remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap it, and place it on a lightly floured smooth counter. It’s important not to add too much flour though as it makes the dough tough.

Roll out the dough lengthwise into a 10 x 23-inch rectangle. You should still see the butter, though after rolling it will be smeared into the dough. (see picture below) Also, do your best keep the dough at an even thickness as you are rolling it out. If it starts to break or pull back, put it on a sheet pan and pop it back in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. This gives the gluten additional time to relax.

Once the dough is rolled out to the 10 x 23-inch rectangle, fold the two ends to meet in the middle, leaving them about an inch apart. Fold one side on top of the other. This is called a book fold. Rotate the dough so that the seam is on your right. This is fold number one.

Repeat the same process as you did above including what will now be the second book fold. (Make a note that you have completed 2 folds by making two slight indentations with your finger in the dough.) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator again for a minimum of one hour or up to 1 day.

Again, repeat the exact same process as you did above including what will now be the third and fourth book folds. Make a note in the dough that you have completed four book folds. Return to the refrigerator for at least another hour.

When ready to proceed, roll out the dough one more time and complete your fifth book fold. You now have 1024 layers of dough or what is called Mill-Feuille – a 1000 layer dough; give or take a few.

Cut the dough in half giving you about two 1 1/4 pounds of dough. Wrap each very well in plastic wrap and store for a day in the refrigerator or about two months in the freezer.