Home In Disarray

January 8, 2017

The greatest white sandwich bread

soft white sandwich bread
By

This is once again a Rose Levy Beranbaum recipe from The Bread Bible.  During the winter I often find myself baking a lot of bread.  In fact, I bake more bread than Craig and I are capable (or should attempt) of eating prior to it going bad.  Luckily I manage to have pretty good luck in freezing my loafs, and when we don’t have great sandwich bread to fall back on, I find myself disappointed and get down on myself for not just baking off a few loaves of bread every now and again to prevent us from eating something with 11ty different ingredients from the supermarket.  This bread also makes incredible hamburger buns if you decide to shape it into small rounds.  This recipe has a permanent bookmark on it.

preferment

This bread requires a preferment.  That is a small batch of saltless dough that is usually pretty low on flour that spends time allowing the yeast and other microbes in the flour to start developing flavor and interesting.  These are especially important in hearth style breads, but almost all breads can benefit from a little bit of preferment.  Depending on the culture that the style is from, the preferments will have different names.  Italian breads have a biga, French breads have pate fermentee, and American style recipes just have a preferment or a sponge.

knead

Since I only ever use my stand mixer to make bread, my instructions call for the use of the mixer.  If you prefer to make this by hand, please do so, but consider that hand kneading tends to take longer than using a mixer. I also urge you to cook by weight.  This makes bread baking so much easier. And note that instant or bread machine yeast is not the same thing as active dry (which is less fervent than instant)

rise

Basic Soft White Sandwich Loaf – Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum

Makes 2 small loaves or 1 large loaf

Preferment Ingredients:

  • 2.25 C + 2 T unbleached all purpose flour (341 grams)
  • 1.75 C room temp water (405 grams)
  • 2 T + 1 tsp honey (45 grams)
  • .75 tsp instant (bread machine) yeast (2.4 grams)

Instructions

  • Make your sponge – In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the ingredients for your preferment
  • Whisk (either by hand or using your mixer) for 2 minutes to incorporate air and ensure that the mixture is smooth.  It’ll be thin like a pancake batter.
  • Mix your dry ingredients in another bowl and gently spoon over the top of the preferment, completely covering it. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside and allow to set out for at least 2 hours at room temp (or up to 24  hours in the refrigerator).  If the preferment bubbles through the flour blanket during this time, it’s fine.

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2.25 C unbleached all purpose flour (311 grams)
  • .25 C dry milk (40 grams)
  • .75 tsp instant yeast (2.4 grams)

Add-Ins:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter (113 grams)
  • 2.25 tsp salt (15 grams)

Instructions:

  • Add the butter to the bowl and mix with the dough hook on low speed (#2 on a Kitchenaid mixer) for 1 minute, or until it has formed a rough dough.  Scrape down the sides and cover.  Let rest for 20 minutes
  • After 20 minutes has elapsed, sprinkle on the salt and use the dough hook to knead the dough on #4 speed (medium low) for 7 minutes.  Watch your mixer! Mine likes to “walk” during kneading like this and has almost made it off the counter a couple of times.
  • The dough will be sticky and messy and will only start to pull away from the bowl in the last minute or so of kneading.  If it hasn’t become smooth and shiny, allow to beat for up to 3 more minutes. If it is not stiff, add in a little extra flour a teaspoon at a time, if it is too stiff, mist it with a little water.

Let the Dough Rise

  • Scrape the dough into a 4 quart container or bowl (I like using narrow tall containers as it’s easier to gauge exactly how much dough you have) that has been lightly oiled with cooking spray or oil.  Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap.  Mark or mentally note where double the volume will be.  If the container isn’t marked already, I like using a dry erase marker.
  • Allow the dough to rise until doubled.  In my cold house, I set up a heating pad and set my containers on it, covering them with a towel to hold in the heat.  This usually takes a couple of hours in my house.
  • Turn the dough out onto an floured counter and gently pat/stretch it out to form a rough rectangle.  Try to maintain as much air in the dough as possible. Fold the dough into thirds(like a letter), turn 90 degrees, stretch/pat it out again, and then fold it over again.  This step will help keep you from getting too many big weird holes in your loaf of bread.   Place your dough back into the oiled container and create a new mark at double the height.  It should take up more space this time, there’s air in the dough now.
  • Once your dough has hit your “doubled” mark, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter.  If you are making 2 smallish loaves (this is the size of my old timey pyrex loaf pan), cut it in half, if you are making a big loaf, don’t cut it in half (my large loaf pan is pictured).  Press/stretch the dough into a large rectangle, dimple it to pop any large bubbles, and fold it into thirds again (just once this time). Now roll the dough tightly starting on a short side.  Pull all of the “unfinished” edges in and pinch them together to ensure you have a tight skin.  Place your loaf(loaves?) into a ungreased loaf pan(s?)
  • Spray some cooking spray onto plastic wrap and cover your dough with it.  Allow the dough to rise, once again, until roughly double it’s size.
  • Once the dough has been set aside to rise, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  If you have a baking stone or steel, make sure it’s in there.  Preheat the oven at least an hour in advance.  Place an empty sheet pan or cast iron skillet on the floor of then oven (if you don’t have an exposed element – if you do, put one oven rack at the bottom position and put your pan on that).
  • When the bread is ready to go, grab a handful of ice cubes and put them in a container. Remove the plastic wrap gently and use a razor or very sharp knife and a confident hand to make a deep slice down the center of the loaf.
  • Gently place your bread in the oven and dump your ice cubes into the preheated empty pan and close the door.  Keep the door closed.  The steam that this ice will generate will allow your bread to rise before the crust sets, and gelatinize the starch on the outside, generating a more robust crust.
  • Bake for at least 50 minutes, turning after 30.  A skewer inserted in the middle will come out clean, or an instant read thermometer will read 205-210 degrees.  One large loaf may take up to 20 additional minutes.
  • When the bread is cooked through, remove it from the oven and immediately turn it out of the pan onto a wire rack to cool.
  • As good as it smells, do not cut into the bread until it has completely cooled, otherwise you’ll smush it and it’ll be gross.
  • This makes phenomenal sandwiches, grilled cheese, toast, or anything you’d use something like wonderbread for but you know, you want it to be good.  With my big loaf pan, the slices only fit in my toaster sideways, but maybe you have a toaster that isn’t 12 years old and tiny.

shape

toast

Posted in: Baking, Food
February 15, 2016

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

orange creamsicle cupcakes
By

This recipe is originally from the now neglected Not So Humble Pie. It has been heavily modified and dolled up to suit my increasingly picky tastes but is quite good.  The secret to this recipe is the orange bakery emulsion.  It gives you a strong and bright orange flavor that doesn’t bake out the way that an alcohol based extract does.

 

orange creamsicle cupcakes

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes 

Companion Recipes – Orange Curd & Creamsicle Mousseline Buttercream

Makes 23 (I know, right?)

Ingredients:

  • 200g AP flour
  • 200g sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1/4 c (58g) neutral oil (I like safflower oil for cakes)
  • 1/4 c (58g, 1/2 stick) softened butter
  • 1/4 c (60g) sour cream
  • 1/3 c (100g) orange juice concentrate
  • 90g (3 large) egg whites
  • 2.5 tsp orange bakery emulsion
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 10 drops orange food coloring (I used Americolor Orange)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Sift together your flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  • Combine your oil and butter in your stand mixer.  Beat on medium low with your paddle attachment.  It will never smooth out.  Don’t sweat it.
  • Add your sour cream and orange juice concentrate and beat on medium for a few minutes.
  • In a separate bowl, combine your egg whites, orange emulsion, vanilla, and food coloring.  Mix thoroughly.
  • With your mixer running on low, add your flour mixture to the sour cream-oil mixture and allow to combine loosely.  Scrape the sides of the mixer bowl and beater.  Slowly add the egg white mixture and mix thoroughly.  Taste the batter and adjust your flavorings to suit your tastes.
  • Add mixture to 23 cupcake liners, filling them about 1/3-1/2 full.
  • Bake cupcakes for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick stuck in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
  • Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  • Once very cool (wait at least an hour), use a melon baller to remove a half-sphere from the center and fill the divot with orange curd.  I like to pipe it in using a ziplock bag.
  • Top with a thick swirl of Creamsicle Mousseline Buttercream.
  • Impress the heck out of your friends, family, and coworkers.
Posted in: Baking, Food
February 15, 2016

Orange Creamsicle Mousseline Buttercream

orange creamsicle cupcakes
By

This is based off of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Mousseline Buttercream.  Simply put, it is the greatest base buttercream recipe.  Period.  It is just so stinkin’ delicious.  The texture is light for a European style buttercream, it takes hardly any time to throw together, and it’s not too sweet.  It retains a glossy appearance and since it doesn’t contain powdered sugar, it doesn’t dry out or get crusty, making it a perfect option for sitting out all day. The only caveat is that it needs to be consumed at room temp.  If eaten out of the fridge, the texture resembles that of cold butter, and it is utterly unappetizing. You’ve been warned.  The dual color technique looks super complicated, but I promise, it is super easy.  It’s even way less messy than using a piping bag like normal.  FWIW, if you want to look up some youtube videos, the technique is called icing plugs.  Go ahead and do some watching.  I’ll wait.

orange creamsicle buttercream

Orange Creamsicle Mousseline Buttercream

Makes enough to ice at least 36 cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1lb (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60g water)
  • 5 large egg whites (150g)
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 vanilla beans, cut in half and seeds scraped out
  • 1 tsp orange bakery emulsion
  • 1/4 c orange juice concentrate
  • orange and yellow food coloring

Instructions:

  • Ensure that your butter is room temp.  If it’s super soft, that’ll spell disaster.  If it’s cold, your frosting will suck.
  • Combine your sugar and water in a small pan.  Either a tiny skillet or a small saucepan.  Whatever.  The mixture just needs to be deep enough to stick a probe thermometer into and get a reliable reading. Start cooking over medium heat on the stove.
  • Separate your eggs.  You need to be sure that no yolks get mixed in with the whites.  Add your cream of thttp://www.homeindisarray.com/wp-admin/edit.phpartar.  Using your whisk attachment, beat the whites until they reach medium peaks (somewhere between soft and stiff).
  • Using your probe thermometer, cook the sugar syrup until it reaches 248 degrees F.
  • As soon as the syrup reaches 248, with the mixer running on low, drizzle the syrup mixture in slowly, aiming for the sweet spot between the bowl and the whisk.  If you hit the beater, it’ll fling it everywhere.  If you hit the bowl, it’ll stick to the sides of the bowl and not get incorporated into the whites.
  • Raise the speed to medium-high and beat until the whites get extra fluffy.  Allow to beat at that speed for a couple of minutes.  Lower the speed to low (you just need to keep it moving) and bring the temp down below 90F, ideally closer to 70.
  • When the temp has dropped sufficiently, start adding your butter in, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Initially, the mixture will deflate a little and thin out.  At around stick 3, it’ll look like it’s starting to curdle.  Have no fear.  This is normal and it’ll come out better on the other side.  Increase the speed, allow to beat a little longer between butter additions, but continue adding the butter.  Somewhere in the middle of stick 4, the texture will start to shape up.
  • After all of the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium high and whip for 1-3 minutes.
  • Divide the mixture and set half of it aside.  Add your vanilla caviar and mix until thoroughly combined.  Set a large sheet of plastic wrap out and spread the vanilla flavored buttercream out in a thick line.  Roll it up, and twist the ends.
  • Add your unflavored buttercream back to your mixer bowl and add your orange bakery emulsion and orange juice concentrate in.  Beat to combine.  Add your food coloring, a drop at a time, allowing to mix thoroughly with each addition.  You are going for a pale orange tone. Taste the frosting and add/adjust as your taste dictates.
  • Follow the same procedure to make a plug out of your orange frosting.
  • The the thin ends of both plugs and pull them through the end of a piping bag fitted with an interchangeable tip.  Snip the ends off even with the end of the bag, and fit a large star tip, I like a 1M to it.
  • Using a round swirl pattern, pipe the frosting on top of your cupcakes.  They’ll look like a professional baked them.

orange creamsicle buttercream

Posted in: Baking, Food
February 15, 2016

Simple Orange Curd Sous Vide

Sous vide orange curd
By

I learned last minute that we would be celebrating a coworker’s birthday the next day.  I just started at a new company a month and a half ago, so I am still in the phase where I’m doing my best to show them how incredible I am.  Since this particular coworker eats satsumas and oranges all the time, I knew that my creamsicle cupcake recipe would do the trick.  Unfortunately, I made it experimentally and didn’t do that thing where I actually noted down what I did, so to figure out what happened last time, I had to find old posts that I had made on chowhound to see if I had described how I made it.  You see, orange curd is more difficult than you might expect.  The acid in lemon juice is what is responsible for the thickening in lemon curd, and since I wouldn’t be using lemon juice, I had to come up with ways to thicken it.  Gelatin is an option, but for something piped, getting a creamy consistency is a toughy.  I used my super thick lemon curd recipe, doubled the egg yolks, and used orange juice concentrate.  It came out thinnish, but useable as a cupcake filling.  Usually when I’m baking cakes/cupcakes, I premake my cake and my fillings, then make the frosting the day of and go from there.  I didn’t have the luxury of time, so I decided to go for it and cook the curd sous vide! I would call it a success, and I’m not sure that I’d make lemon curd on the stovetop again!

orange curd

Sous Vide Orange Curd

Makes about 3.5 cups, or enough to fill at least 48 cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice from concentrate
  • (optional) strips of zest from one orange, all traces of pith removed
  • (optional) 2-3 drops Americolor orange food coloring

Instructions (Sous Vide):

  • Preheat your water bath to 167 degrees F.
  • Melt your butter and combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Pour into a zip top gallon size freezer bag
  • Place bag in water bath at 167 and cook for 1 hour.
  • Remove from bath.  If you added zest, remove.
  • Pour curd liquid into a blender and blend for maybe a minute.  The color of the curd will change as a little air is incorporated and it re-emulsifies.
  • To quick-cool, put into a clean ziplock bag and allow to lie flat somewhere to dump heat.  I used my granite counters. Then place bag(still flat) in the fridge to chill – about 45 minutes.
  • To normal-cool, pour into a jar, allow to cool a bit on the counter, and then refrigerate until set, usually 4-6 hours.

Instructions (Stovetop):

  • In a heatproof, nonreactive bowl (I like using glass for this), combine everything but the butter and give it a quick whisk, trying not to incorporate too much air.
  • Place bowl over a pan with a small amount of simmering water, creating a double boiler.  Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens, usually when the temp hits the mid 160s.
  • Remove bowl from heat, remove your zest if used, and add your butter, cut up into 8-10 pieces.  Stir until all of the butter is melted.
  • Refrigerate curd overnight, and use to fill cupcakes, normal cakes, have on top of scones, or ice cream.  Basically anything where you’d use lemon curd.

 

Posted in: Baking, Food, Sous Vide
December 15, 2015

Monte Cristo Sandwich Inspired Palmiers

Monte Cristo Palmiers
By

A friend was having a birthday brunch/football game gathering over the weekend. It was a combination of fancy brunch and football game.  That’s a potentially tough line to walk.  You don’t want something that’s too fussy or fancy, but you also don’t want to do something that doesn’t honor the birthday girl and brunch aspect of the event, like a 7 layer dip.  Also, I love tiny food. And I had some homemade puff pastry thawing in the fridge.  In my searching, I found a recommendation for monte cristo sandwiches, and decided to run with the idea, making a monte cristo inspired palmier, which is essentially just a puff pastry “rollup” that’s sliced thinly and then baked.  And these are seriously a breeze to make.

monte cristo palmiers assembly

Monte Cristo Palmiers (makes 24)

Ingredients

  • 1 package puff pastry (or 1/2 recipe Nick Malgieri Puff Pastry), defrosted
  • 2-3 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 3-6 tablespoons raspberry jam
  • 3 slices prosciutto, chopped up into small pieces
  • 3-4 oz shredded gouda, swiss, or fontina cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • On a floured counter top, roll out your puff pastry  into an approximately 9×13″ (or larger) rectangle
  • Spread mustard, then jam on puff pastry
  • Sprinkle prosciutto pieces somewhat evenly on puff pastry
  • Sprinkle cheese over everything else
  • Roll dough up, lengthwise, in from both long edges, meeting in the middle.  Try to keep your roll tight.
  • Place on a sheet pan or cutting board and put into the refrigerator or freezer for 20-30 minutes to firm up a bit (warm puff pastry is painfully frustrating to work with)
  • Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper and slice the log into 24 somewhat even slices, aiming for about 3/8″ thick.
  • Place 12 slices per sheet pan.  If they’ve flattened out at all, re-form them a little to even them up a bit.
  • Return to refrigerator/freezer for 10-40 minutes.  Alternately, these can be frozen at this point, and baked from frozen, adding a few extra minutes of baking time.
  • Place one pan in the middle rack of your preheated oven.  Set a timer for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, rotate pan, and set a time for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, check to see if puff pastry has begun browning.  If it has, remove from oven. If you’re not satisfied, bake longer, checking in 2 minute increments.
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes on the pan, then remove from paper using a spatula.  Store at room temp for up to 2 days.

monte cristo palmiers cutting

????????????????????????????????????

Posted in: Baking, Food
December 9, 2015

Matcha Spritz Cookies!

Matcha Spritz Cookies
By

I am in full-on holiday food hoarding mode.  This usually manifests in me taking  a few days off work in mid-December and burning myself out on baking for the remainder of the winter.  This year has been an interesting shift.  I have been hoarding appetizers.  You know those things that you buy at Trader Joes and like to have around in case you have guests over?  Well I’m making them from scratch!  So far I have mushroom strudel and black pepper-parmesan-rosemary crackers, prepared and ready to bake off at a moment’s notice. But I had my cookie press out for the cheesy crackers, and the good folks at Midori Spring sent me a tin of their fancy ceremonial grade matcha powder, and I have been dying to try baking with matcha, so I got crazy and made some festive Midori Spring Matcha Spritz Cookies.  If you haven’t had Spritz cookies before, they are little cookies that are shaped when the dough is pressed out of a cookie press through different shaped plates that will give you fun shaped dough without the fuss of rolling and cookie cutters.

????????????????????????????????????

ingredients

creaming butter and sugar

Matcha (Green Tea Powder) Spritz Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks – 8 oz) butter (at room temp)
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups  (304 g) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp (1 g) iodized table salt
  • 2 T (10 g) Midori Spring Matcha Powder

Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 375F.
  • Cream butter and sugar together using paddle attachment of your stand mixer (I like to use setting #4-5.  Cream for at least 2 minutes, scraping the bowl after 1 minute.
  • Add egg and continue to cream for an additional 2 minutes.  You butter mixture will be fluffy and whitish.
  • With the mixer on low, add your vanilla and almond extracts and mix thoroughly.
  • Sift together your flour, salt, and matcha.  With the mixer on low, slowly add your flour mixture.  Mix just enough to combine.  Once all of the flour has been incorporated, stop the mixer, scrape down the bowl and paddle, and mix again, for no more than 30 seconds.
  • Prep your cookie press with whatever plate you want.  I loved the look of the christmas tree, so I went with that.  Add dough to press and ratchet it down until dough starts coming out and air bubbles have been compressed out.
  • Press your cookies out onto an ungreased baking sheet or a sheet of parchment paper, leaving 1-2″ between cookies.  You may find that they don’t stick sufficiently to parchment.  It can be frustrating, which is why a baking sheet is easier.  If you are planning on freezing unbaked cookies, press them onto parchment and place the parchment (on a pan) into your freezer.  When they are solid, you can either pop them off the parchment and place in a freezer bag, or you can fold it up and stick the entire thing into a bag, then just unfold and place on a pan when ready to bake.
  • To bake, place cookies on a baking sheet into your oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating pan after 6 minutes if your oven has hot spots like mine does. Frozen dough may take an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool.
  • Cookies can be kept in an airtight container for 3-4 days, but the vibrance fades after a day or so, and they aren’t as crispy.  They can be returned to a hot oven for 1-2 minutes to “recrisp” prior to serving.

Matcha Spritz Cookies Matcha Spritz Cookies

Full disclosure – I was given this matcha powder in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All opinions and statements above are my own.

Posted in: Baking, Food
September 14, 2015

Nick Malgieri Puff Pastry

puff pastry setup and wreckage
By

Time to stop talking about chickens, and start talking about pastry.  Puff pastry is a pretty magnificent creation.  If you’re not familiar with puff pastry, it is a ton of super thin sheets of dough separated by a ton of super thin sheets of butter.  When rolled out, sliced, and baked, the butter begins to steam, separating the layers of dough and crisping them up.  This is totally incredible.  Unfortunately, most puff pastry purchased at the grocery store is made with a combination of butter and palm oil, or straight-up palm oil.  It doesn’t taste as good.  All-butter puff pastry can be acquired, but a tiny bit costs like $13, and frankly, if it’s something that I can make myself in bulk and save 90%, I’m gonna go that route.  Last time I made puff pastry for croissants, I went through it so quickly that I deeply regretted not having made more.  As the weather has finally begun cooling down in the Seattle area, I have started putting stuff up for winter – starting with several pounds of puff pastry.  Photos indicate a quadruple batch, although you may find that making each batch separately is an easier proposition.  I certainly did.

puff pastry dough

butter prep for puff pastry

Adapted from Nick Malgieri Puff Pastry

Ingredients:

Dough

  • 2.5 cups unbleached AP flour – about 12.5 oz
  • .75 cup cake flour – about 3 oz
  • 1 stick butter, 4 oz, cold
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp very cold water

Butter

  • .25 cup unbleached AP flour, about 1.25 oz
  • 1 sticks butter – 1lb, cold

Instructions:

Mix the dough

  • Place the flours in a 3 quart bowl and whisk thoroughly to combine evenly and break up lumps.
  • Slice butter into thin pieces and add to bowl
  • Rub the butter in by hand, squeezing and breaking up each piece.  The mixture should look homogeneous with no visible chunks of butter remaining
  • Stir the salt into the cold water to dissolve, make a well in the flour mixture and add the butter.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape across the bottom of the bowl and through the center of the dough.  Turn and continue scraping until a ropy dough is formed.  Don’t apply any pressure to the dough with the spatula
  • If the dough seems dry, add more cold water a tablespoon at a time.  Don’t worry if it is a little dry.  Cover the bowl and set it aside (in the fridge if you have room) while you prepare the butter.

Prep the butter

  • Place your .25 cup flour on your work surface and roll the sticks of butter in it.  If you have a wooden rolling pin and don’t mind hammering directly on your counter use that.  If you have granite counters and a marble rolling pin, maybe take some precautions.  I used a large plastic cutting board and a metal meat mallet and it worked fine.
  • Pound each stick of butter with your mallet until flattish.  Stack, coat in flour, and pound together.  Fold, coat in flour, pound again.  Continue pounding and folding until the butter has become malleable and the flour has all been incorporated.  Shape into a square approximately 1 inch thick.

Form your dough package

  • Flour your work surface and pour your dough out onto it.  Form into a rough square(about an inch thick) and don’t be concerned that it’s not holding together smoothly. Turn dough 45 degrees and roll each of the corners out into thin flaps.
  • Place the butter square on the dough so that the corners of the butter are evenly between flaps.  Fold the flaps over without stretching and make sure that no butter is exposed.  This may mean that you need to pinch together little bits.  Do it.

Roll it, Roll it good

  • Flour the work surface and the dough and begin rolling out.  For me, the most effective way is making a few horizontal taps along the surface of the dough to kind of hammer it flat with the rolling pin, then rolling.
  • Make sure that the dough remains floured and does not stick to the surface.  Roll the dough into a long rectangle about 3/9-1/4″ thick.  Try to keep the corners square.

Fold the dough

  • Fold both ends of the dough in towards the center, then fold the dough in half.
  • Turn the dough 90 degrees and begin to roll out again.
  • Once you’ve reached 3/8-1/4″ thick again, repeat the folding process again
  • Roll once more time, fold, and set the dough aside, preferably on a baking sheet that you have made room in your refrigerator for.  If you’re making more than one batch, complete the remaining batches through this step.  I usually make all of my dough, all of my butter, then go from dough package through refrigerator ready with each batch separately.

Chill your dough, lather, rinse, repeat

  • Place your dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour and a half.
  • Remove from refrigerator and complete 2 more roll-and-fold scenarios
  • Chill it again for at least an hour and a half, and then roll and fold twice more.
  • Roll to about 1/2″ thick and cut off and set aside any unsightly ends (there is a use for these).  Cut each rectangle into 2 pieces (I separate mine with parchment) and place into gallon sized freezer bags or foodsaver bags (I prefer foodsavers, but they’re totally not necessary.)
  • Chill the dough in the refrigerator stored completely flat. If vacuum sealing, freeze before sealing so that the dough doesn’t deform under vacuum. Label, freeze solid until ready to use

Use the dough

  • To use, remove dough from freezer and set on a flat surface in the refrigerator for a few days (you know how long it takes things to defrost in your fridge).  Roll out, and use in any recipe calling for puff pastry.  If cutting, use a sharp knife.

puff pastry assembly

 

rolling puff pastry

 

To use the trimmed-off ends of the puff pastry, line them up and roll them out together.  Sprinkle with some sugar, spread with nutella, or anything else that you can think of that isn’t too bulky (maybe parmesan cheese and pesto or sun dried tomatoes?).  Roll up into a log.  Chill thoroughly (I actually like to freeze the log for 20 minutes or so) and slice into pinwheels.  Place on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet and bake at 400F for 20 minutes, or until the palmiers have puffed a little, the edges are browned, and the center looks cooked.

Posted in: Baking, Cooking, Food