Cheese Puffs


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My Cheese Puffs came out flat. No puff. The recipe called for 1 cup water, 1 bar butter, half teaspoon salt, 4 eggs, 1 cup flour, then cheese and herb. I heated the batter and stirred. It did not thicken like it did in the pictures. Added 3 TBS flour, but that didn't help much. Flat puffs are not cute. Anyone know what I did wrong?
 
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The panade (dough of liquid, butter, flour and salt) must be cooked to 165°F - 175°F (74 to 79°C) on stovetop.

Use a flour with approximately 10.5% protein. Flour with low protein will not develop enough gluten; will not absorb the liquid.

Preferably use unsalted butter with 83% butterfat


This explains the method of cooking

 
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Thank you, that article was really helpful. I have sent away for a rapid read thermometer. I most likely didn't get the flour mixture hot enough. Once that comes, I will give it another try and let you know how the puffs turn out.

As for the special flour and butter, I don't think companies are required to list the protein and fat content so most don't. At least I have never found them on a package. I have access to regular white flour and a number of brands of European butters, so I think I am OK there. Hopefully it's the process where I failed and that should be taken care of with the thermometer. Thanks!
 
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Thank you, that article was really helpful. I have sent away for a rapid read thermometer. I most likely didn't get the flour mixture hot enough. Once that comes, I will give it another try and let you know how the puffs turn out.

As for the special flour and butter, I don't think companies are required to list the protein and fat content so most don't. At least I have never found them on a package. I have access to regular white flour and a number of brands of European butters, so I think I am OK there. Hopefully it's the process where I failed and that should be taken care of with the thermometer. Thanks!

What country are you located? I can give you some general information about flour if you are using flours from UK, France, Canada, or the US.
 
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I am in Panama. The regularly available flour is milled here, but the wheat brought in from somewhere else and I don't know where. Most likely from the most reasonable seller as that's how most things from fuel, drugs and food are brought in. It has performed well for a number of years. The butters are President, Lurpak, Anchor and other brands I can't remember off hand. There are locally made butters, one was particularly good, but that has vanished from the cases. Overall, we have a very good selection of foods available, especially produce.

I ordered the ThermoWorks Pop Thermometer. My husband came home with a barbecue unit that didn't fit the need. I'll let you know how things turn out once it arrives, I think about two weeks.

Thank you for taking the time to offer up help. I really appreciate your dedication.
 
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I am in Panama. The regularly available flour is milled here, but the wheat brought in from somewhere else and I don't know where. Most likely from the most reasonable seller as that's how most things from fuel, drugs and food are brought in. It has performed well for a number of years. The butters are President, Lurpak, Anchor and other brands I can't remember off hand. There are locally made butters, one was particularly good, but that has vanished from the cases. Overall, we have a very good selection of foods available, especially produce.

I ordered the ThermoWorks Pop Thermometer. My husband came home with a barbecue unit that didn't fit the need. I'll let you know how things turn out once it arrives, I think about two weeks.

Thank you for taking the time to offer up help. I really appreciate your dedication.

Panama’s main sources for wheat flour imports are Aruba, France, and EU.

Aruba does not cultivate wheat; rather they are a production (milling) industry. The import raw goods, mill into a finished product, then sale (export). Aruba mills wheat flour, wheat gluten, malt, inulin (a natural form of “sugar” that is a fraction as sweet as sugar), and various root vegetables and cereal grains.

Aruba’s main sources for a wheat imports are US and Netherlands.

Netherlands has very low protein wheat. Wheat from US and France meet the standard of 11%.

Milling methods and wheat blends in the final flour effect the protein and ash content.

If you are using an “all purpose” flour, there’s a good chance it’s within the 10.0% - 11.0% protein content range. That level protein flour should be fine.
 
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By your descriptions, I would guess wheat coming here would be from the US where lots of the imports come from as there are still strong ties between the countries. The bag says it's all purpose, and as it has done well with most everything else I have used it for, I don't think the flour is the problem. I think I can take credit for that.

I am totally impressed with your vast knowledge of wheat and its origins. We are lucky to have you on Baking Forum.
 
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By your descriptions, I would guess wheat coming here would be from the US where lots of the imports come from as there are still strong ties between the countries. The bag says it's all purpose, and as it has done well with most everything else I have used it for, I don't think the flour is the problem. I think I can take credit for that.

I am totally impressed with your vast knowledge of wheat and its origins. We are lucky to have you on Baking Forum.

Trust me even the most Experienced bakers still blotch things. I was working on a cookie formula last month that was a total flop. On paper everything should’ve worked; but after baking the cookie didn't spread well and the raisins gave them a horrible taste.


You’re using good butter; i’m pretty certain your wheat flower is a good quality. So it’s just a matter of perfecting your technique. Pate a choux is an unique dough in that it is twice cooked.

Cooking the dough on the stovetop is designed to:

  1. Trigger gluten
    • Flour has no gluten. There are two proteins, glutenin and gliadin that must bind with water in order for gluten to form. So until water and agitation happens, there is no gluten in flour.
  2. Trigger starch gelatinization
    • Dough needs to be at least 140°F (60°C) minimum
    • Dough should not exceed 194°F (90°C)
    • Desired Dough Temperature (DDT) temperature 160°F (70°C)
  3. Adds moisture
    • Required for gluten and starch gelatinization
    • Required for mechanical leavening
  4. Evaporate some water
    • Prepare dough to absorb egg
    • Too much water in dough
      • a) prevent the dough from absorbing the needed egg
      • b) cause the shells to crack and/or collapse
  5. Develop gluten
    • Mixing with paddle/wood spoon develops gluten
    • Beating to cool develops gluten
    • Beating in egg develops gluten
The other really unusual thing about pate a choux is it has a lot of gluten. Normally we want to minimize gluten it's only in bread and brioche doughs that we develop a lot of gluten. Yet, in this delicate pate a choux batter, we need to develop the gluten to aid mechanical leavening and build structure and strength.
 
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Your failed cookie recipe story made me smile. Thanks for sharing. I have dogs that happily eat any mistakes I make with smiles and wagging tails. Dogs always make me feel better when failure strikes.

It's interesting that there is needed moisture and also evaporation of moisture required. Sounds tricky. The thermometer will be a big help.

Do you think moving the batter to a stand mixer with paddle attachment would be better for beating it once it reached temperature? I did read a recipe that advised this. It would be lots easier than the wooden spoon thing. (I'm getting older and less energetic.)
 
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Your failed cookie recipe story made me smile. Thanks for sharing. I have dogs that happily eat any mistakes I make with smiles and wagging tails. Dogs always make me feel better when failure strikes.

It's interesting that there is needed moisture and also evaporation of moisture required. Sounds tricky. The thermometer will be a big help.

Do you think moving the batter to a stand mixer with paddle attachment would be better for beating it once it reached temperature? I did read a recipe that advised this. It would be lots easier than the wooden spoon thing. (I'm getting older and less energetic.)

Certainly the mixer is a godsend for convenience. And I use it.

But learning to make pate a choux by hand with a paddle is also key to advancing your skill and knowledge as a baker.

Pate a choux is about the feel of the dough. How much egg you add in any given batch will vary based on a number of factors: amount of moisture is left in the dough; age of the flour, as that effects it's absorption rate; relative humidity.

With many doughs, learning the look, feel and understand the dough is really important.

And it’s not just with doughs it’s with other aspects of baking. Pay attention to how the ingredients at each step develop: How does it look? What about the color and texture is changing?
How does it feel? Is it becoming lighter or heavier? Is it going from grainy to smooth? What is the texture you’re striving for? What is the temperature?

The process of mixing is chemistry. We mix in a certain order for a reason. So you need to pay attention to those chemical reactions in the mixing. The mixing is the first part of the chemical reaction.

keep in mind that temperature is like an ingredient. We add temperature in so many ways besides the oven. The temperature of ingredients; temperature through friction of mixing, whether it’s a mixer or by hand; temperature by placing the ingredients in the refrigerator or freezer; and temperature by placing the ingredients in the oven.

We constantly add temperature throughout the process. It’s really critical to monitor the temperature throughout the entire process because it really affects the chemical reactions of the ingredients.

The paddling does three things: it develops gluten; it removes temperature by cooling; and removes moisture by releasing steam. So the dough is going to change dramatically when it's paddled.

This is why learning to do it by hand is important.
 

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