Puff Pastry, Flaky Pastry & Rough Puff Pastry


IMG_3581So you want a light crispy pastry with flaky lamination? You have a choice. 3 recipes with broadly identical ingredients – so what’s the difference and how do you choose?
I’ve captured all 3 recipes here but quite often you’ll only see reference to 2. ‘Flaky Pastry’ and ‘Puff Pastry’ are used interchangeable, and given the amount of effort and similarity in method I can see why but they are different. First we’ll look at the recipes. I’ve drawn some conclusions at the bottom…

Each recipe makes about 600g of pastry, using 300g plain white flour, a pinch of salt, 200g fat and a little cold water. The fat can be all butter for richness, or a mixture of butter and lard. The lard will make the pastry more crispy but doesn’t have the same impact on the flavour as butter does. Half and half is a good compromise.

You’ll notice a much higher proportion of fat to flour when compared with shortcrust pastry, which usually uses a 1: 2 ratio. If you wish you can increase the proportion of fat to flour, as much as 1:1 if you’re very brave but this makes the dough quite tough to work with and enhances the risks of the pastry going wrong.

Puff Pastry

Ingredients

  • 300g Plain Flour
  • pinch Salt
  • cold water
  • 200g Butter (can also be made with a mix of Lard & Butter)
  • 40g Melted Butter

Method

  • Add flour, salt into a bowl & mix
  • Make a well in the centre and add the melted butter and enough water to bring the mixture to a soft dough
  • Flatten, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes
  • Take the cold butter between 2 sheets of baking parchment & bash/roll out into a square, about 1.5cm thick. The butter needs to be similar consistency as the dough – if too soft return to the fridge
  • Roll out the pastry into a rectangle, a little more than twice as long as the butter
  • Place the butter in the centre, fold the edges of the pastry into the centre over the butter and seal the edges well so no butter is exposed
  • Roll the pastry out into a neat rectangle so it is 3 times longer than it is wide, keeping the edges straight and square
  • Fold the bottom 1/3rd up to the middle, then the top 1/3rd down. Brush off any surplus flour Rotate a quarter turn and repeat the roll & fold
  • Wrap & chill for 30 minutes
  • Repeat the previous 2 steps twice, so 6 turns in total
  • Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before use

Flaky Pastry

Ingredients

  • 300g Plain Flour
  • pinch Salt
  • cold water
  • 100g Butter, room temperature
  • 100g Lard, room temperature

Method

  • Add flour, salt & half of the fat into a bowl & mix
  • Rub the fat into the flour
  • Add enough water to bring the mixture to a soft dough
  • Roll out into a strip & using a palette knife spread 1/3rd of the remaining fat over the top 2/3rd of the surface
  • Fold the bottom (no fat) 1/3rd up to the middle, then the top 1/3rd down. Seal the edges & chill for 30 minutes
  • Repeat the previous 2 steps until all of the fat is used
  • Roll and fold an additional time (without adding any more fat)
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before use

Rough Puff Pastry

Ingredients

  • 300g Plain Flour
  • pinch Salt
  • cold water
  • 100g Butter, chilled & diced or frozen & grated
  • 100g Lard, chilled & diced or frozen & grated

Method

  • Add flour, salt & all fat into a bowl & mix
  • Do NOT rub the fat into the flour
  • Add enough water to bring the mixture to a stiff lumpy dough
  • Roll out into a strip and fold into 3 and give a quarter turn
  • Working quickly, repeat roll & fold step 3 more times
  • Ideally refrigerate for about 30 minutes before use

So which one should you choose?

You need to consider the following:

Total time from start to use (after final chill):

  • Puff Pastry – 2hrs 10 minutes
  • Flaky Pastry – 2 hrs 20 minutes
  • Rough Puff Pastry – 45 minutes

Amount of Effort:

  • Puff Pastry – High
  • Flaky Pastry – Medium
  • Rough Puff Pastry – Low

Amount of rise:

  • Puff Pastry – High
  • Flaky Pastry – Medium
  • Rough Puff Pastry – Medium

Risk of getting it wrong:

  • Puff Pastry – Medium/High
  • Flaky Pastry – Low/Medium
  • Rough Puff Pastry – Low

In the majority of cases the three types of pastry are interchangeable.  Life is just too short and Rough Puff gives an excellent result for the minimal amount of effort. The rise is great for most things – sausage rolls, pies, tarts, with some good, visible lamination. You can turn this around with a similar amount of effort as normal shortcrust so there’s little reason to look elsewhere.

However, if you want the most impressive rise, you’ll need to go down the full Puff route. Vol au vents, for example, just would’t reach the desired nights with rough puff.

So what about the flaky pastry? If it takes as long as full puff but does’t quite give the same rise, is it really an option? The key thing to consider here is the ‘risk’ element. Particularly if your temperatures are all wrong, it’s easy to lose your laminations in a full puff pastry and you’ll end up with no real rise at all. The flaky pastry adds fat layers incrementally into the dough with each roll and fold making it much less likely to fail.  That said, I didn’t find it to be any better than the rough-puff (in fact, slightly worse), so perhaps there’s a reason why you’ll usually only see reference to 2 laminated pastry recipes…

So there you have it, 3 laminated pastry recipes – take your choice!

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Angie says:

    Oh you are my Hero !!! I’ve only started baking this year although as a mom of 4 adult sons I cook alot. I have never tried any of the laminated doughs always thinking they were too difficult. Thank you Thank You Thank You 💜💖 you post has saved my kitchen disaster zone. I followed each to the letter and have perfect Puff ruff and flaky!! I do need help finding vegetarian versions that work, the vegetable oil blocks are Disgusting and Even freezing doesn’t keep it Cold enough for the pastry to work

    1. Pleased I could help!

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