Homemade Puff Pastry
Puff Pastry is just something that you buy in your local supermarket, right ? Wrong
If you want to make homemade sausage rolls, vol-au-ven, croissants or just a simple pie-lid, then you need to know how to make your own puff pastry. And this is probably easier than you might think.
I am not going to lie to you, this pastry is going to take some time and commitment and even some TLC to get it right but I have been making this syuff for years and this tried and tested method works perfectly every time.
So let me give you the ingredients and then we can look at the best practice to get this pastry together.
- 500 g plain flour
- 250 ml of cold milk
- 150 g of butter (diced)
- 100 g of butter for rolling
- 1/2 tsp salt
That is it , just 5 ingredients and you can make your own perfect , light and fluffy puff pastry at home.
It is important to remember that this pastry is a true labour of love and the more time you put into it the better results you will get. There are a lot of puff pastry recipes out there that get all complicated and confusing, but I like to keep it simple. So the first think to remember when making puff pastry is that the cold is your friend, keep everything cold & if it starts to get too warm, chill it in the fridge.
With puff pastry it is important to remember that the butter is what gives this pastry its layers and it is important that you dont over work the butter into the pastry as you might with normal shortcrust.
So lets get this pastry started, firstly you are going to need to get the 500 g of plain flour and the salt into a glass mixing bowl. I always like to combine this with a fork.
Dice the butter and add it to the flour and salt. Work the butter with your fingers , be sure not to over work this all you need is a very rough breadcrumb mix, so leave medium size pieces of butter through out the mix.
This is important as it will add to the layers of the finished puff pastry.
It is always a good idea to chill this at the end of every stage, so if you like you can put this in the fridge for 10 minutes. (Told you it was a labour of love).
We are going to use milk in this recipe, but you can use water if you like. Make sure the milk is cold from the fridge when you add it to the Flour & Butter. Once the cold milk is in you can combine it with a fork until you get a rough dough. get your hands in and work it for a while so that it forms into a loose pastry. At this stage you can tip it out onto a floured surface and continue to combine it into a tight pastry dough.
Wrap the pastry up in cling film and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.
While the pastry is cooling down you need to get the rest of the butter rolled out into a thin sheet. To do this you are going to need some silicon paper or you can use grease proof paper if you don't have any. Get an A3 size pice of paper and fold it in half to an A4 size. Put the butter in between the paper and roll it with a rolling pin so that the butter fills out the paper and forms a thin sheet. Put this in the fridge to cool down.
Once the pastry and the butter are cold it is time to start rolling and folding the dough. Roll out the dough into a rectangle that is twice as long as it is wide then after removing half of the silicon paper from the slab of butter turn the butter out onto one half of the rolled pastry.
Using your hand rub the butter trough the paper so that is sticks to the pastry, you will need to rub it quite hard, then peel off the backing paper.
Fold the pastry over the butter then fold again, this is roll #1.
Refrigerate again for 10 minutes.
So this is where the waiting begins, I like to get on with other stuff at this stage there is little point in just waiting for that pastry to chill, after all this is going to take some time. If you are going to use this pastry for a pie then now would be a great time to get that pie filling made up.
You need to repeat the rolling process a minimum of 6 times, but up to 15 - 20 times. The more time you invest at this stage the better result you will get.I guess the key to this is starting it early in the day.
Keep rolling the pastry into a rectangle twice as long as it is wide, fold the ends into the centre then fold in half , wrap it up and refrigerate.
I can hear you screaming at the screen ,' Life is too short.' And you know you are probably right. After all you can buy a block of this stuff for a pound in most supermarkets, and if I am honest I do just that. But from time to time I like to remind myself how satisfying it is to have made your own, and it always tastes better.
By the end of this process you will be left with a fat block of light buttery pastry that you can cut in half , wrap in clingfilm and freeze for a few months if you like.
When you cut it in half you should be able to see all of the light layers you have created. You will be surprised at how much pastry this recipe makes so what I normally do is cut this block in half , wrap it in cling film and freeze it. It Should keep for a few months in the freezer, but I seriously doubt it will last that long.