Pastel de nata (Portugese Tarts)

Discussion in 'Pastry' started by Lee_C, May 8, 2019.

  1. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    I really wanted to have a go at making these but was intimidated by the thought of working with sticky, thin, fragile dough and the laminating process involved. But today, I made them! Having watched a couple of videos by Chef John of Food Wishes, who is one of my favourite youtube chefs mostly because he's hilarious, and Cupcake Gemma, I learned the various procedures involved with the pastry and the filling. I ended up using a similar recipe from someone else.

    I very nearly put it all in the bin with frustration ( glad I didn't) when I discovered my dough rolling technique leaves a lot to be desired. I was trying to maintain a square shape which I sort of did for the first rolling, but the next couple of rollings resembled a map of Africa. I think I should have rolled from middle to corner each time to keep the squared shape. So when trying to fold the sides in they weren't very neat and it started to get a bit messy. And you have to roll, laminate with butter, fold and turn, 3 times over.

    Anyway, I got there eventually. The dough scraper was essential as was a ton of flour to get it peeled off the work surface each time for folding, turning and the final roll up into a cylinder. The custard filling had a few steps involving a sugar syrup with cinnamon and lemon peel, and flour with milk, salt and egg yolks. The baking requires the highest temperature your oven will go to in order to get that characteristic dark coloured caramelisation on the custard, and probably to get the pastry texture nice and crispy. Mine goes to 270c/about 550f so it was hot enough. I believe in Portugal where they specialise in these, their ovens go much hotter!

    I'm so happy the way they turned out. Absolutely delicious and they came out looking as I wanted them to. Here's some photos and a video of my crunch test! :D

    20190507_150649.jpg 20190507_154242.jpg 20190507_190618.jpg 20190507_191958.jpg 20190507_204345.jpg 20190507_214451.jpg 20190507_222833.jpg 20190507_222746.jpg 20190507_222119.jpg

     
    Lee_C, May 8, 2019
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  2. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Wow, Those little tarts look absolutely amazing. I’ve never heard of them. What do they taste like? They look so good. That would definitely be a pastry that would go over big around here
     
    Norcalbaker59, May 8, 2019
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  3. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    Norcalbaker, I was hoping you'd see this. Judging by your avatar, I figure you're used to laminating layers of pastry. Your croissant is not something I've taken on myself, I think that would be quite tricky from what I've seen.

    But these Pastel de nata are basically egg custard tarts but oh so moreish, I really think you'd love them! :)

    Most commonly in the UK, and I think also in asia, egg custard tarts are made with a shortcrust pastry.

    But these portugese tarts are rather special and made with layers of crispy, flaky buttery puff pastry. I read somewhere that they are considered the 15th most delicious delicacy in the world.
    They're a national treasure of Lisbon in Portugal, originally invented by monks centuries ago, and it seems that people travel there often just to sample the best Pastel de nata in the world. The two most renowned places that make them are Pasteis de Belem and Manteigaria.

    You might enjoy these videos.





    The most famous place, Pasteis De Belem, there's always queues at their shop, and apparently they sell 22, 000 of them a day which is extraordinary!
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
    Lee_C, May 8, 2019
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  4. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    I definitely want to try to make these. Come fall when my house cools off (I don’t have air-conditioning, so can’t make puff pastry this time of year) I’m definitely going to make these. Not only do they sound delicious, but I really love the way they look Thank you for post about these pastel de nata.

    I wouldn’t necessarily do the puff pastry using his technique as it will not produce nice fine layers that are so loved in puff pastry. But I love the idea of the pastel de natas. And will definitely make them.
     
    Norcalbaker59, May 8, 2019
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  5. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    There’s a very easy way to get a puff pastry without the laminating process. It’s called the rough puff pastry technique. It’s used in bakeries all the time. And it will give you a far better result than the technique that chef John uses in his video.

    https://www.bonappetit.com/story/rough-puff-pastry-cheaters-guide
     
    Norcalbaker59, May 8, 2019
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    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, I've just read through that rough puff pastry guide a couple of times and I like it!

    It would certainly be easier rolling the dough to a long narrow rectangle each time rather than trying to shape large thin squares between laminations.

    And it looks much easier sprinkling frozen grated butter rather than waiting for butter to soften and spreading it.

    And the folding into thirds looks much easier too than when I tried to do it with super thin rolled out dough.

    So those are all good things!

    Now, presumably I would only use the same amount of ingredients as I used for my pastel de nadas rather than the amount of ingredients listed in that blog, and I also wouldn't be adding sugar and milk, as pasta de nata only needs the flour, salt and water, right?

    This rough puff pastry method of rolling, sprinkling butter, folding in thirds and repeating, is that still called laminating?

    And finally, once I arrive at the final step as described in the blog and I have my finished approximately 6" x 6" square, I presume I would then go ahead and roll it out to a big thin square which I can then tightly roll into a cylinder ready to be cut into sections for my individual pastries, and I would still see the cross section of 'tree' circles showing the individual layers?

    I do have one concern over this method though, in that it says the process should take 3 hours. But I think this is because of the time it takes to chill the dough in between the steps.

    The person whose recipe I used, he had a cookery lesson for these pastries while he was in Portugal, and he said the complete making and baking of the pastry and the filling was done within 2 hours, in fact, could be done in 90 minutes. He used a dough and butter technique which I didn't do. It was rolling the basic water, flour and salt dough mixture into an X or star shape, putting a slab of butter into the middle and folding the four corners into a parcel. Then rolling, folding and turning a couple of times in a similar way to the rough puff pastry.

    I like the rough puff pastry method better, but not sure I want to be doing it over 3 hours! :p
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
    Lee_C, May 9, 2019
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  7. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Oh, my apologies I see was not very clear. :oops: So so sorry.

    I was referring to how the butter was added to the dough, rather than the whole recipe.

    With rolling, folding and rest time in the refrigerator it should be about 1 1/2 hr. A rough puff pastry dough can be made in advance.

    In chef John’s video he soften the butter, then spread it on on dough. Soften butter will not produce a flaky pasty because warm butter fuses the dough layers to together.

    You can mix the dough in his recipe, but when you get to the point where he spreads the butter on the dough, stop.

    Instead of rolling the dough into a square, Roll it into the rectangle and place the butter on the dough in thirds just like it showed in the Bon Appétit article. Then roll it out fold it in thirds.

    Before you wrap or move the dough, note how it is positioned on the counter. When you roll the dough out after its chilled and rested you’re going to rotated 90° from the position that it is currently in. So you need to note it’s position.

    Wrap and chill 20 min.

    Turn 90° Roll into a rectangle, fold in thirds, then rest 15 minutes in the refrigerator.

    Turn 90° Roll, fold rest. Repeat one or two more times.

    That’s it it’s done. I normally rest my dough before I use it

    The only reason I picked the Bon Appétit article is the butter is placed top of the dough which most closely resembled what chef John does in his recipe with the warm butter. So I thought you would feel more comfortable using something that was similar to what he does in his recipe.

    The Bon Appétit method is not the traditional technique used for rough puff pastry. In a traditional rough puff pastry butter is actually cubed and add directly to the flour, Much like a traditional pie crust.

    The link below is the traditional technique for rough puff pastry. You could probably make a separate rough puff pastry, using a separate recipe, then use his pasteis be belem filling and assemble method.

    I love rough puff pastry. I use it for all tarts, pies, and hand pies. You are probably so tired of hearing me say, “I swear by it”... but I swear by it. Once you do it a few times it’s really pretty fast and it creates an impressive pastry. And to be honest I usually don’t do four turns. I do 2 or 3 turns. And since it freezes so well I always make extra I cut it into various shapes for hand pies and full-size pies, wrap them really well and freeze them.

    And this technique seems to work wonders on my gluten free pie crust. Gluten-free pie crust tends to look flat, more like a sugar cookie that a crust. But when I use the rough puff pastry technique I’m able to get some nice puffiness to my gluten-free crust.

    You know for a novice bakery Lee you’re better than the average beginner. Part of the reason you are so successful is that you take the time to read through and research recipes. People are so resistant to thoroughly reading through a recipe for some reason. Mistakes are made when people don’t have an understanding of what it is they are going to make, and the process they’re going to go through to make it.

    The other thing I noticed about you is that your work area is very neat. which is a sign you are organized—mise en place is critical to successful cooking and baking.

    You already have the two most important skills that are necessary for successful baking: commitment to understand the process, and organizing ingredients and work area. I would encourage you to try laminated dough. I don’t see any reason why you would not be successful.

    Regarding puff pastry being laminated dough. No not really.

    A laminated dough is a single piece of dough (détrempe) wrapped around a single piece of fat (beurrage). Or with an inverse puff pastry, the butter is mixed with a bit of flour to create a more pliable beurrage, then it’s wrapped around the detrempe. In both of these processes a series of rolling, folding and turns are made to create a specific number of layers: croissants 81 layers, danish 243; and puff pastry 729.

    Rough puff pastry does not have separate layers of dough and fat; the fat is cut direct into the flour. The layer are created in a sleight of hand use of folds and turns. While it does create layers you don’t get anywhere near the height or number of layer achieved with a laminated dough.


    =========

    This video doesn’t mention turning the dough 90° after every fold, but you should. I picked this recipe because it’s from the UK. The protein level in wheat flour varies significantly by country. So the ratios of flour to butter and water should work in this recipe. Just an aside, I prefer to dilute my salt in the water for better distribution.



    ============

    I make my pastry dough right on the countertop. Everything is going to end up on the countertop anyway. I toss the flour and butter together on the countertop. I didn’t make a well in the center and pour all the salt water in it. And then I mix it with my hands, and use a bench scraper to assist in the mixing. I don’t bother with any bowls.


    http://www.sophisticatedgourmet.com/2010/08/quick-puff-pastry/

    ============

    The pastry used here didn’t even have all the turns, and stilled turned out flaky. I usually only turn once or twice

    E1910B04-6A95-4D40-A60F-D76DA2ABFD19.jpeg

    This is my gluten-free pie crust. It looks good enough and taste good enough that I don’t even tell people that it’s gluten-free. Since it’s gluten-free it’s not gonna look as good as the wheat version, but for gluten-free it looks pretty decent.
    9A660F33-A956-41F0-AE74-B3174DFBCE4A.jpeg
     
    Norcalbaker59, May 9, 2019
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  8. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    Apologies, long post ahead!

    Norcalbaker, gosh, you have nothing to apologise for at all! :) Far from it, you're really educating me and I'm really grateful that you've shown me a great way to make rough puff pastry. I bought more butter this morning as I intend to follow the bon appetit method exactly, however long it takes.

    And because of the rough puff method that you've linked me to, I went and bought a bag of Granny Smith apples and cream because....I'm going to try making sugar coated triangular apple turnovers, and whipped cream and jam turnovers using my new puff pastry skill! :D And I fancy making cream horns so that would need some horn shaped metal moulds to wrap the pastry around.

    Your photos of your pasties and gluten free pie crust look nothing short of scrumptious! Looks like you've mastered the art of working with dough. That's how I hope my pastry ends up looking.

    It's very kind of you to compliment my worktop and ingredients organisation and efforts to understand various recipes, steps to create them and the science behind them. Yes I do like to try and prepare everything I need in advance and try to wash up tools as I go. There are times though when there's a ton of tools, plates, saucers, ingredients, etc, around me and it gets a bit messy. I don't photograph those things, lol.

    As far as success, hmm, well, I would say my success rate is only about 60 to 70%. For example, my lemon bars were not quite right, and I was premature on my lemon and blueberry loaf because it wasn't fully baked as I thought. But at least I've learnt how to correct those things for the next time.

    And even with the portugese tarts, though they taste very nice, I realise now that I have to go back to the drawing board on them for a few reasons. I went and bought a shop made pastel de nata yesterday to see what they're meant to be like. What I noticed was that it's not as deep as mine. Mine is the same depth as Chef Johns, but the real ones are shallower and look more refined. So instead of using my 3.5cm deep muffin tray again, I'm going to go and buy a shallower, say, 2cm, bun tin.

    Here is a size and general look comparison of the shop bought next to mine. Shop bought is about 2cm deep compared to mine which is over 3cm deep. Shop bought is the one on the right. Half eaten :D

    20190509_140053.jpg 20190509_140039.jpg



    The custard on the shop bought is really silky smooth and creamy and has a lovely glossy yellow. My custard is tasty but a little more firm and 'jellified' for want of a better word. Still creamy, but not as nice as the shop bought.

    So I'm not sure at this point what I would need to do to achieve a silkier, creamier texture and glossier look. I can only think that maybe more egg yolks. The recipe called for 3 yolks and one egg. I added an extra yolk to deepen the yellow, but maybe another 2 or 3 yolks might be the answer. And/or perhaps more flour. It's meant to be a thin runny custard which mine is when pouring into the pastry shells, but perhaps more flour and egg would cream it up better, I'm not sure.

    Very interesting what you said about not using soft butter. That is clearly a key point. Although I did get some flakiness, it was definitely not as separated and visible as the shop bought one. And when the ones I made had cooled down, the pastry became tough. Quite a hard initial bite/crunch into it and then the tearing of the pastry between my teeth should have been lighter and easier to break away like the shop bought one. I actually like the way mine are even with the tougher pastry but it's obviously not quite as soft as it should be.

    I'm putting this down to a few things. Firstly, I didn't do a particularly good job of the laminating process that I was following, and I think I over worked the dough, created too much gluten which I believe will make it tougher. Secondly, I think you hit the nail on the head about not using soft butter. That in itself may have contributed to the pastry not being delicate enough.

    Yes, at some point I will attempt laminated dough. I had watched a video a few weeks ago about making croissants and I thought, oh no, this is difficult! But I'll make some rough puff for now before I move onto that.

    That good housekeeping video you linked is useful. I had read that rough puff pastry is meant to be 3:4 ratio butter to flour, and in that video, the recipe is 6 oz butter to 8 oz flour which is 3:4. So is this a compulsory thing that it needs to always be that ratio or can I just use the amounts in the portugese tart recipe I used? Those amounts were 175g butter and 250g flour which I guess is almost 3:4.

    That video also says room temperature butter, but it should really be very cold butter, hence the grated frozen butter in the bon appetite article, right?

    Finally, regarding "Instead of rolling the dough into a square, Roll it into the rectangle and place the butter on the dough in thirds", yep, I'm going to do that.

    What I meant was that when the rectangle thirds are folded over each other, it becomes a square before being rolled into a rectangle again. But at the very end when I've done my final rolling and folding and have my rough puff pastry ready to use, I would need to roll the pastry out to a large ever so thin square which I'll then roll up into a tight cylinder like a slim swiss roll which I can then cut into equal sections that will become my individual tarts.

    As flour is so inexpensive, I'm going to spend a few minutes to practise my rolling skills before making my next proper dough and before wasting any butter. I'm literally just going to mix up some flour and water and roll a few times until I get the hang of keeping a good shape to the dough.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
    Lee_C, May 9, 2019
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  9. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    I’m going to get back to you a little bit later today. I’m out and about right now.

    But I just wanted to link you to a recipe and website that is probably a better source than chef John. These are professional chefs, so use professional standards. I’m not trying to be disrespectful towards chef John. But as you are learning it’s important that you understand the correct way to do things. Some of the chef John’s techniques are the incorrect; they are convenient, some work, some do not. Because baking is all science, when you are starting out it is important that you have a solid foundation, that your foundation is based on the proper way to do things. There’s nothing wrong with breaking the rules. But to break the rules you must first know the rules.

    https://www.meilleurduchef.com/en/recipe/pasteis-de-nata.html
     
    Norcalbaker59, May 9, 2019
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  10. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Norcalbaker, I totally get what you're saying. I love that saying "to break the rules you must first know the rules", so true!

    Thank you for the link to that recipe, I'm going to follow that to the letter. :)
     
    Lee_C, May 11, 2019
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  11. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry I didn’t have time yesterday to respond to your entire post I had a really busy day.

    Personally I think with your dedication and attention to detail that you could take on a laminated dough. While it is involved timewise, and it does take a little bit of practice and skill, it is actually pretty straightforward. What happens to often is everyone around us so intimidates us about the process that it undermines our confidence. But you’re very well organized. And it’s about organization. Following several steps and then repeating those steps four times or more depending on the type of puff pastry you want at the end.

    I’m not too surprised chef John’s pastry was tough and chewy. He started with a wet dough, then used warm butter on the dough, so the pastry could not turn out any other way but tough. It could be you overworked the dough as well, but his method already set the recipe up to fail. It was it your fault at all. His results may look good on the video, but i’m pretty sure with his method that his crust was chewy too.

    Regarding the ratio of fat to flour...it varies depending on the type of puff pastry you’re making. There’s a version that has 75% butter to flour. Another that has 50%.

    But another very important ratio is the water to flour. Too much water and the pastry will be tough (hello chef John!)

    The classic ratios for a 75% puff pastry in baker’s percentages are:

    Flour 1.00
    Fat .75
    Water .50
    Salt .02

    A typical batch is 500g of flour. Multiply the percentages of all the ingredients with the amount of the flour. I once made a half batch, but realized if I am going to the effort, what the heck I should make a full batch. And it freezes beautifully so you have it on hand for quick desserts.

    500 x .75 = 375
    Butter 375g

    500 x .50 = 250
    Water 250g

    500 x .02 = 10
    Salt 10g

    When you’re mixing the dough you just have to pay attention to how the flour is absorbing the water The typical ratio may be 50% but flour was a Living organism before it was milled into flour. Every crop is going to be a little bit different The rate of absorption will vary from crop to crop; from brand to brand. So generally you don’t add all the water. Add most of it mix the flour to see how it’s absorbing the water and then add the rest of the water accordingly.

    Regarding is shaping your pastry after you’ve done all your turns. Yes once your turns are all done do you want to rest your Dell to let the gluten relax, then you’re free to do whatever it is you want to do with the dough. Roll it and do whatever shape you want.

    When working with dough it’s important to watch how the dough responds with each pass of the rolling pin. Literally the moment you see the dough even slightly retract, stop rolling. That’s the gluten building up. Wrap it up and put it in the refrigerator and let it relax. It’s one of the hardest things in baking is learning all the different nuances of batters and doughs in all the different phases. Seeing signs of gluten development in a puff pastry can be obvious. But the telltale color and the way a pate a choux hangs from a paddle when it has enough egg is something that only comes with experience. So getting in the habit of watching and noting how your doughs/batters change is a good way to become a better baker.


    And by the way after you do puff pastry a couple of times it’s nothing then to transition over to a croissant the only difference between a puff pastry and a croissant is the addition of yeast and milk in croissant dough. But I will admit I was really intimidated by croissant. Mainly because everyone around me talked about how difficult they were. I made the stupid mistake of trying to make them the first time in the middle of July, in my house without air conditioning. As they proofed butter leaked all over the place and I thought I was a failure as a baker. But I kept at it—in the Fall when everything cools off And I made beautiful croissants. Maybe come late fall when things are nice and cool we both bake croissants.
     
    Norcalbaker59, May 11, 2019
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  12. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    Thanks so much NCB, more great information for me to sponge up! I would have replied earlier today but for a leaking washing machine overflow pipe that created a lovely big puddle on my floor, lol. I've just finished mopping up.

    Anyway, back to the subject. Yes, I think it makes a lot of sense to make a larger batch of pastry, particularly as I intend to make apple turnovers and maybe some savoury pastries. Can I take your 500g/75% ratio for my rough puff pastry, and how much pastry would that actually give me when I've put it all together? Like, if a recipe cake for 100g of puff pastry, would the 500g/75% amounts give me 500g of puff pastry, more, or less?

    And on the meilleurduchef recipe I'm going to follow, shall I just follow the amounts he listed for the reverse puff pastry before making a separate 500g flour/75% batch?

    I'm not quite clear on how to spot if the dough retracts, do you mean it would sort of spring back, or shrink? And does relaxing it reverse the gluten build up?

    I really appreciate your confidence in me which in turn gives me confidence. It's getting to be warm weather here in the UK now, so yes, I think it's a good idea to bake croissants towards autumn.
    I'm quite happy to attempt to take on a proper laminated dough :)

    I've got so many things I want to make now. Before I make more portugese tarts, I'm going to make a loaf of bread, a crusty white bloomer. :) I've made a wholemeal loaf before which came out great, but oh boy, that dough was so sticky to work with.
     
    Lee_C, May 12, 2019
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    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Oh dear, I hope the plumbing problem isn’t serious. It’s shocking how expensive plumbers are. And the last time I had to call a plumber he was rather forward. I think he thought I was interested in him because he certainly did not fit the stereotype for a plumber. He look like a model. And I mean he was so jaw droppingly handsome when I open the door I was so shocked blurted out, “You’re the plumber!” So I guess he mistook that to mean that I was interested in something more than getting my shower drain fixed. Of which I was not. Fortunately my ex husband came in from work and got him out of our house.


    Baker’s percentage apply the same no matter what you’re baking. The amount of dough or batter would be the total amount of all ingredients.


    If you use 500 g of flour you would then add in the weight of all of the other ingredients for a total puff pastry weight of about a kilo: 1135g.


    500g flour

    375g butter

    275g water

    10g salt

    ———

    1135 total puff pastry dough


    The reason 500g of flour is often used for a batch of puff pastry for the home baker is the ease to calculate 75% and 50% of 500; also the quantities of the other ingredients are whole numbers. Once you make it a couple of times you don’t even need to pull out a recipe card because the percentages are easy to memorize.


    The other advantages is making a kilo size mass of dough is small enough to handle, but not so small that it over heats too quickly from the handling. And a kilo is usually plenty enough pastry dough for most recipes.


    Just follow the recipe on the website. I suggested the inverse puff pastry dough because that one is considered the best version. It is favored by most pastry chefs, and especially the European pastry chefs. And if you can do that pastry dough you can do any pastry dough. The flour added to the beurrage helps keep it pliable. But because it’s wrapped on the outside rather than the inside, you just have to be more conscious about the temperature of everything.


    And just keep in mind that everyone started out a beginner. My first croissant (photo below) was

    beyond terrible. The second one, which is my avatar picture, was beautiful if I had been making puff pastry. I always say failure is my greatest teacher. I had to go back and analyze what I did the first two times that resulted in a dried out croissant the first time, and a typical puff pastry the second time. A couple of changes, and the third time I ended up with something that actually looked like a croissant. And since then my puff pastry looks like puff pastry, and my croissants look like croissants. So don’t be discouraged if things don’t go right the first few times. We all go through the learning process, and it’s ongoing


    ===============


    The wonderful thing about baker’s percentages is it enables you to easily scale recipes to your needs. At the same time you can calculate quantities of ingredients and budget for baking projects.


    For example if you wanted to make 2.5 kg of puff pastry dough.


    Flour 100%

    Fat 75%

    Water 50%

    Salt 2%


    Total 227% baker’s percentage


    2.5 kilos = 2500 g


    Just divide the amount of the dough weight you wish to make by the baker’s percentage


    2500g/227% = 11.01


    11.01 is the multiplier. Multiple the baker’s percentage each ingredient with 11 to create your recipe.


    Flour 100 x 11.01 = 1101g

    Fat 75 x 11 = 825.75g

    Water 50 x 11 = 550.50g

    Salt 2 x 11 = 22.02g


    The total dough weight would be just shy at 2.5 kilos at 2499.27g.


    So in less than five minutes a baker is able to write a recipe, look at the ingredients and immediately know how much flour and butter they need to purchase, and have a good idea of what it will cost to make 2.5 kg of puff pastry.


    Regarding signs of gluten development in dough...,Have you ever rolled out a pie dough and noticed it shrinks back as soon as you lift up the rolling pin? When you roll dough out it should not shrink back. If it shrinks back even a tiny bit, that’s an indication that too much gluten is beginning to develop. So you need to let the gluten relax. Just simply wrap up the dough and place it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.


    The rest periods in between the rolling, folding, and turns is to allow the gluten to relax. But sometimes in the rolling, We can get a little too aggressive and create too much gluten too soon and we need to let the dough relax.


    Rolling is a skill that takes some practice. Let the dough warm up a little bit before you begin to roll. Tap

    down on the dough gently with the rolling pin to spread it out some before you begin to roll.


    There’s a tendency to press down really hard, smash and push the dough rather than roll it out. I am so guilty of this. So some years ago I bought a rolling pen with ball bearings in the handles. I glides over at the dough and that encourages rolling rather than smashing and pushing. I start in the center and roll forward in one direction only. I do not use a back-and-forth motion. I rotate the dough after each roll to ensure it does not stick to my mat.

    My first attempt at croissants was beyond a failure. This was so ugly it hurt my eyes to look at it.:confused: My butter leaked out, so all was lost.
    3B12CF24-ABDE-428A-9F10-F1BC3AF7C83A.jpeg

    Second try would have been great if I had been making path pastry :oops: This one still remains a mystery to me. I still can’t figure out how it turned into puff pastry
    AC5CB193-869F-4651-97DD-18AD2122C778.jpeg


    Third time I finally got rid of the puffiness, and achieved some layering:D
    0A530DB1-D845-429A-AF2E-15659A9B522F.jpeg
     
    Norcalbaker59, May 13, 2019
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  14. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    Oh my, that is funny NCB, and lucky your ex came in! :D

    Well in the end, I fixed it fortunately, saved me having to get a plumber in. Was just a case of a large plastic nut and a couple of washers that had undone themselves and I had to screw back in place.

    I'm so grateful for the detail you've gone into regarding the formulas of how to know how much pastry will be made from adding the ingredients together, and how to know how much of ingredients I need to make a desired amount of pastry. Your explanations are always so clear and easy to follow. Often when I read things that people are teaching, I'm generally still left scratching my head, or, not fully clear on specifics, yet you go into such minutia of detail, (exactly what I like) it's easy to understand and 'get it'.
    But those formulas are really simple yet genius! They'll be so useful to me. Now I totally understand how to do it, it's simple arithmetic. Thank you so much for that.

    Thank you for elaborating on rolling and gluten development and relaxing the dough. I never realised rolling was a skill before I got into baking, nor to be honest kneading. I tended to think they're simple tasks... until I start doing them!
    I will try what you suggested, being a bit more gentle with the rolling, rolling forward only and rotating.

    I think both your 2nd and 3rd croissant attempts look great, even the first one looks good to me. But yes, that layering in the last one is impressive!
     
    Lee_C, May 13, 2019
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  15. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Lol, you are like my sisters and I. We try to fix things ourselves before calling out for service. We all have toolboxes. We all married men who don’t know the difference between a mallet, a claw, and a ball pein hammer. My ex once said he was embarrassed because the neighbor said all the guys in the neighborhood were dying to know how he managed to get his wife to do all the landscaping and maintenance on our house while he spent every weekend playing golf.

    I’m sure 99% of those who look at my posts roll their eyes because of the amount of detail I go into. I know some some think I am a snooty know it all.

    But I go into such detail because incorrect or vague information will not solve anyone’s baking problems. Baking is a very expensive endeavor whether you do it as a one off, or as a regular hobby. When someone spends $20 - $30 on ingredients, then spends two or three hours on a baking project and it totally fails, that’s a huge investment to make in money and time. So when someone asks a question asking for help, I go into as much detail as possible to help them solve their baking problem.

    Also when I started baking I was repeatedly told not to over develop gluten; not to over mix batter, not to over whip eggs, not to overdo this, not to overdo that. Yet for all of the warnings of what not to do, no one ever explained in detail how to perform these different tasks properly.

    Even in professional level classes they can overlook some fundamental techniques. If you’re learning to make pasta with a master chef, you will knead a lot of dough, but that isn’t the same dough handling technique you need for a 80% hydration bread dough.

    So through trial and error, and a lot of professional level cooking and pastry classes I’ve learned a lot of different techniques that work wonders. Over the years this body of knowledge has come together; and now most of it gets applied towards my baking projects. I try to explain things in order of sequence and as clearly as possible since technique entails multiple steps.

    I know too that my posts can be irritating to read because of the typos. I use the dictation/record function on my Iphone, rather than type out the text. The record function makes up some really strange words and syntax. I do try to correct all the mistakes. But the screen on my phone is so small it’s really difficult to find and correct all of the mistakes. So I do apologize for the wonky sentence structure.
     
    Norcalbaker59, May 13, 2019
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    Becky Well-Known Member

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    Those pastel de nata looks amazing!! :D I love them but I've never made them myself. I must give it a try sometime.
     
    Becky, May 15, 2019
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  17. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    Becky, they'll hopefully be much better when I've followed the recipe and method that Norcalbaker linked me to, but you should definitely try it as well, there's not much better in life than a puff pastry custard tart. :D

    Norcalbaker, clearly your range of skills from baking to DIY has meant your ex was let off the hook! :p Your posts aren't irritating in the slightest and that's a great way to post text by recording. Hmm, I'll see if I can do that on my android phone or laptop.

    Yes indeed, it is an expensive hobby. I need dough to knead dough! :D

    I also like to pay attention to minutia of detail and try and get it right first time if possible (that's not really happened yet) as I can't really afford to replace ingredients too much, particularly the regular base ingredients for most baking like butter, eggs, and fairly often ground almonds. White granulated sugar and flour is cheap enough though. I've been making my own caster sugar and powdered sugar by throwing granulated in a blender. Works pretty well.

    So I really appreciate that you always go the extra mile in your very clear explanations. :)
     
    Lee_C, May 15, 2019
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  18. Lee_C

    Becky Well-Known Member

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    Haha this is brilliant!! :D :D :D
     
    Becky, May 16, 2019
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    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    Hehe, I'm terrible Becky, any opportunity for a pun and I'm there. :p
     
    Lee_C, May 16, 2019
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    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Glad you enjoy the conversation. I know I never get tired of talking about baking, or baking. Or reading about baking. It’s kind of an obsession. :rolleyes:
     
    Norcalbaker59, May 16, 2019
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