How to make pastry dough

What you do with dough can also speak volumes about your culture and nationality. From the flaky, delicate Turkish phyllo to the sturdy wrapper of Cornish pasties, different countries each have a unique and traditional relationship with pastry dough.

Flaky Dough

1. The flour and butter mixture becomes pasty (the butter is melting). Proceed as quickly as possible to moistening the dough. Since the dough is pasty, it will absorb much less liquid. Force the dough to accept at least three quarters of the liquid called for by gently stirring the liquid in with a fork. The dough will be excessively soft. Flour the outside of the dough generously (1 to 2 tablespoons flour), wrap and chill it.

2. There are large lumps of butter left in the dough after moistening. Flour a work surface and turn the dough out on it. Without flouring the dough, press it into a rectangle about 3/8 inch thick. This will flatten the lumps of butter somewhat. Fold the dough over on itself once, gently mold it into a disk, wrap and chill.

3. The dough is still very dry after moistening and being pressed together. Return the dry dough to the bowl and gently tear it into particles using two forks. Scatter drops of water on it and toss them in with a fork until the dough coheres better. Wrap and chill the dough.

Traditional Puff Pastry Recipe

2 parts flour (3 cups or 300 grams)
1 part ice water (1.5 cups or 0.7 liter
1 to 2 tsp (5-10 milliliters) lemon juice, if desired
1 part unsalted butter (1.5 cups) [149 grams], brought to room temperature but firm enough to roll flat

In a large bowl, mix the flour with water and lemon juice to form moist dough. Turn it onto a lightly floured board and form a square. On a separate work surface, use a rolling pin to flatten the butter into a rectangle with the same consistency and width of the dough, but half the length. Place the butter rectangle on the bottom half of dough and fold the top half of dough over it, pressing the dough edges together to seal air inside along with the butter. Roll the dough-butter rectangle to one-fourth of an inch (6.4 millimeters) thickness. Fold the dough in half from left side to right and refrigerate for one hour. Repeat five more times, alternating the direction of folds from left-to-right and top-to-bottom. Changing the direction of the fold helps ensure that the butter gets worked through all layers .

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