Cookbook:Puff Pastry

Cookbook | Ingredients | Recipes | Pastry

Apple turnover, made with puff pastry

In baking, puff pastry (French: pâte feuilletée) is a light, flaky pastry made from dough of the same name. The dough, which is also called puff paste, consists of many layers of fat sandwiched between layers of dough.[1] Although Larousse Gastronomique,[2] and some other writers,[1] use the terms interchangeably, traditionally in English, the term puff pastry is distinguished from the term flaky pastry, in the way in which the shortening (fat) is folded into the dough.[3]

Croissants are sometimes formed from puff pastry. Puff pastry shells used to be filled with crab meat salad or chicken à la king at ladies' luncheons. An American fashion in the late 1970s was to bake a wedge of Brie in puff pastry and serve warm. Choux pastry, used to make cream puffs, is different, using eggs. Bourekas is also made out of puff pastry, filled with various ingredients. Sausage rolls and jambons are puff pastries commonly available from delis in Ireland.

There are several ways to make puff pastries below.

Notes on baking and storing puff pastryEdit

Puff pastry is cooked when the bottom of the item is browned and the pastry does not collapse into itself.

  • Use a very sharp knife to cut puff pastry. A blunt knife will crush the layers together and prevent the pastry from rising to full height.
  • Do not get egg wash or milk wash on the sides of the pastry. This will glue the layers together during baking and result in uneven lift.
  • Excess flour left on the item will burn easily in the oven. Dust it off with a soft pastry brush.
  • Always bake puff pastry in a very hot oven (220°C/425°F). A hot oven ensures the moisture in the dough turns into steam, which is what makes puff pastry rise.
  • Puff pastry should only be baked for a short time. 15 to 20 minutes usually suffices. This is dependent on the oven and recipe used.
  • Open the oven flue during baking to allow steam to escape and the pastry to dry, or failing that, open the oven door near the end of the baking.
  • When using puff pastry as a base, small holes can be cut into the pastry allowing airflow to reach the under side (sometimes referred to as puffin' holes).
  • Puff pastry can be refrigerated for a week, or frozen for three months. Stored puff pastry will have less lift than fresh pastry.

Variation IEdit



  1. Divide the butter into four equal pieces.
  2. Cut one butter piece into the flour with a knife.
  3. Mix in just enough water to make a dough.
  4. Roll the dough.
  5. Flake the dough with part of the butter.
  6. Flake until all the butter is in.
  7. Bake with a quick heat for 10 to 15 minutes.

Variation IIEdit



  1. Rub the butter into the flour.
  2. Mix in just enough water to get a stiff dough.
  3. Roll dough out about ⅛ inch thick.
  4. Arrange a layer of butter all over the dough. Sprinkle on a little flour, fold the dough up to enclose the butter, and roll it out again.
  5. Double and roll it with layers of butter three times. After each time layering the butter, refrigerate to keep the butter and dough cold and firm, at least 15 minutes up to a half hour.

Variation III – German methodEdit



  1. Mix flour, water and 50 g of the butter to make a dough. Knead well.
  2. Roll dough into a ball. Make a deep cut through the middle, and a second cut at a right angle again through the middle. Roll out the resulting four ends to about half the thickness of the base. It should now have the form of an equilateral cross.
  3. Cream butter until soft. Spread onto the middle part of the cross forming approximately a cube.
  4. Take each end of the "cross", lift it, and fold it on the top of the butter cube, literally wrapping it up like a gift. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Take dough and start rolling it out, always rolling in one direction, until about 10 cm long. During the whole process, use as little flour as possible, and gently remove excessive flour with a brush.
  6. Perform a so-called "simple tour": take one end of the dough and fold it two-thirds of the dough's length toward the other end. Now, take the other end and fold it the opposite way. You should now have three layers of dough.
  7. Roll the dough out again, moving the rolling pin along the folded sides (i.e. turn the dough 45 degrees).
  8. Repeat the folding and rolling process up to 5 times. The more often you do this, the more layers you will get, and the higher the dough will rise once baked.

Variation IV – Flaky PastryEdit

Flaky pastry is also known as "Quick Puff Pastry".



  1. Sift the flour into a bowl.
  2. Cut one portion of butter into the flour until it becomes crumbly.
  3. Add cold water, as needed, to make a dough.
  4. Lightly dust kneading board and rolling pin with flour. Roll dough until it is approximately 0.5 cm thick.
  5. Cut (smear) another portion of butter into the pastry. Fold pastry into quarters. Roll pastry back to a half a centimetre thickness. Repeat this step until there is no butter left.
  6. Draw a sheet of plastic food wrap large enough to cover one side of the flattened pastry. Invert the kneading board.
  7. Cover the other side with another sheet of plastic food wrap. Gently roll the pastry into a cylindrical shape.
  8. Store in refrigerator until needed for use. Keeps well for a week or 6 months in freezer.

Variation V – Filo Puff PastryEdit


  • 2 ⅓ cups plain (non-self-raising) flour
  • 450 g butter, diced
  • 550 g butter
  • Chilled water
  • Additional flour for dusting


  1. In a bowl, mix the first measure of flour and diced butter, until it becomes a fine crumb.
  2. Add to the crumb, a little at a time, ice cold water until it becomes a very stiff dough.
  3. Lightly dust the kneading board and rolling pin with flour.
  4. Roll the pastry dough to the thickness of parchment paper, or thinner if possible.
  5. Coat all of the visible dough with smears of butter. Sprinkle the pastry with a light dusting of flour, then fold in half.
  6. While coating the dough in butter, keep the rolling pin as cool as possible. Either place a tea towel over the rolling pin, then a cold pack on top, or place the rolling pin in the freezer if near by.
  7. Repeat steps 4 and 5 at least another two more times. At most, repeat another six times. Work as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  8. Draw a sheet of plastic food wrap large enough to cover one side of the flattened pastry. Invert the kneading board.
  9. Cover the other side with another sheet of plastic food wrap. Gently roll the pastry into a cylindrical shape.
  10. Store in refrigerator until needed for use. Keeps well for a maximum of one day.

Variation VI – Classic Puff PastryEdit


  • 2½ lbs (40 oz / 1125 g) bread flour
  • ½ oz (15 g) salt
  • 1½ lbs (24 oz / 675 g) cold water
  • 2½ lbs (40 oz / 1125 g) room temp butter
  • 4 oz (115 g) bread flour


  1. Mix the salt in with the larger portion of flour.
  2. Add the cold water to the flour and salt and work it into a dough.
  3. Knead about 80 times to make a soft dough and build some gluten.
  4. Flatten out the dough (allows quicker cooling) and refrigerate.
  5. Combine the room temperature butter and the smaller portion of flour and mix well. It will form a soft paste that is easy to spread.
  6. Take the chilled dough and roll it into a rectangle about ¼-½ inch thick.
  7. Leaving a one inch margin around the edge, spread the butter out over ⅔ of the dough.
  8. Fold the dough into thirds like you were folding a letter, starting with the portion of dough with no butter.
  9. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes to allow the dough to relax, and so the butter doesn't get displaced when rolling out again.
  10. Roll out the dough again to a large rectangle the same size as the first.
  11. Fold the dough so that the two short edges meet in the center and then fold the dough in half. This should give the dough four layers and is, as a result, called a four-fold.
  12. Refrigerate the dough again and then roll out and do another four-fold. Repeat this step two more times. You now have classical puff pastry dough to use as you see fit.

Notes, tips, and variationsEdit

  1. Always always always salt your dough. It's not enough to be noticeable but it will help bring out the flavors of the butter and dough and whatever you decide to put in the puff dough.
  2. The dough can be refrigerated for five to seven days. It will often take on a greyish tinge once it's getting old and it should then be thrown away.
  3. Freezing dough generally isn't a good idea, but for something like this it's manageable. The water crystals that form can destroy the gluten that was formed while kneading and rolling and can lead to an improper rise while baking. Be sure to let the dough thaw completely and get to room temperature before rolling out and using. If you roll it out too early the butter will form spotty chunks within the dough which can tear your dough and cause it to rise unevenly in the oven.
  4. Do not be afraid to add flour or water to your dough if you find it too sticky or dry. Location and humidity can alter the amount of moisture a dough needs to be just right.
  5. Extra bread flour was added to the butter to help absorb any excess moisture in your dough and product. It will also help prevent a soggy baked good.
  6. A little French terminology; the flour and butter mixture is called a Berrauge and the dough is called a Detremp.


  1. a b Gisslen, Wayne (2001) Professional Baking, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 0-471-34646-2
  2. Larousse Gastronomique (1938), (1961 English translation), Crown Publishers, New York
  3. The Concise Household Encyclopedia, (1933), Amalgamated Press, London