Rough Puff Pastry

Okay, I’ve been really costume-obsessed lately (that’s what happens when Costume College is looming!) but it’s time to get back to baking, my other love!

I enjoy all kinds of baking, but I do not have the best track record when it comes to homemade puff pastry. Far too often, it seems, I do something wrong and instead of puffing up my pastry with steam, the butter all runs out during baking and fries the bottom of the pastry, leaving me with a flat, oily cracker. So annoying! Is it any wonder that I usually turn to storebought puff pastry?

Still, it’s time that I conquer this– but I’ll do it in baby steps. Instead of doing traditional puff pastry, where you make a butter block and enfold it in dough before several rounds of turning, folding, and rolling, I’m going to try “rough puff.” There’s no butter block– instead, the butter is grated, making it easier to enfold in dough and roll out flat without worrying as much about the butter being pliable.

This recipe, unlike many others, doesn’t call for any resting time between turns. It’s very convenient to get it all done in one go, but I think a little resting would’ve made my dough easier to roll out for the last turn or so– it was a bit tough near the end, and I had to really put my weight into the rolling pin. But after the finished dough had time to rest, it rolled out beautifully, and the layers were fantastic!

And as you’ll see in my next recipe post, it baked up perfectly, with a lovely puff and nicely defined layers. Never again will I be nervous about puff pastry! (at least the rough puff kind)

Rough Puff Pastry (from The Flavor Bender)

9 oz. unsalted butter, grated and frozen

12 oz. flour (keep it in the freezer for a few hours before using)

6 oz. ice cold water (you may not use it all)

1/2 tsp. lemon juice or white vinegar

1 tsp. salt

1. Prepare all of your ingredients ahead of time, because you want to keep things as cold as possible.

2. Take 2 oz. of the grated, frozen butter and rub it into the cold flour with your fingers. Put the rest back into the freezer.

3. Combine the water and lemon juice, then add 4 oz. of the mixture to the flour and stir. Keep adding water a tablespoon at a time, kneading it in with your hands, until a firm (but not sticky) dough forms.

4. Turn out onto a floured board and knead until it comes together, then rest in the refrigerator 5-10 minutes.

5. After resting, roll out the dough into a long rectangle and sprinkle half of your remaining butter over 2/3 of the length. Fold the empty side over, then fold the last side over again. You will now have three layers of dough and two layers of butter.

6. Press the dough together and turn 90 degrees before repeating the process with the other half of your butter.

7. Repeat the rolling/folding process 3 more times (though there’s no added butter these times) for a total of 5 turns.

8. Wrap the finished dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until ready to use.

See all the layers of butter and dough in the cross-section? It looks great!

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