Puff Pastry

Puff Pastry

You need good butter, two days, a rolling pin and some muscle to make this. Yes, You Can!

Makes about 3 pounds of puff pastry

3 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
1 T plus 1 t salt
2 ounces cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 to 1 1/4 cups ice water

1 pound unsalted butter, best quality, ideally in a solid one-pound block.

METHOD - Day 1
Prep butter
Remove butter from fridge and cut lengthwise into two slabs. Line up the slabs on a large sheet of plastic wrap and form into a square, pressing the edges together as close as you can smush them. It should look like this:

Wrap with plastic wrap, leaving some room for the butter to stretch into. Then take a rolling pin and beat the heck out of the butter package, really solidifying the butter into one thin square, about 1/2-inch tall and about. You can use the pin to roll the butter out, too.

When you've got to about 7x7 and about 1/2-inch tall, retire it to the fridge overnite, wrapping it in an extra piece of plastico if the first piece ripped anywhere.

Make the détrempe
Fill a 2-cup liquid measuring cup with ice and water. Reserve.

Combine flour and salt in a mixer using the paddle attachment.

Add the 2 ounces of cold, cubed butter and mix until the butter has disappeared into the flour. With mixer running at a low speed, slowly add 1 cup of the ice water. If you need to add more water to make the dough come together do so, but go slowly. The moisture content of flour can differ. Sometimes you will need more water and sometimes you won't. The idea is just to watch the bottom of the bowl and add water VERY SLOWLY, adding just until it comes together in a large clump or two. The détrempe should be soft but not sticky. If it is a little sticky, don't worry. It will absorb some moisture overnite and you can always work more flour into it on Day 2.

Bring the détrempe into a looose, lumpy ball and place on a piece of plastic wrap. Using a large knife or bench scraper, cut a # into the dough, like this:

Then, wrap the détrempe well in plastic and retire it to the fridge overnite.