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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    So before I get to make more portugese tarts where I'll use the meilleurduchef recipe, (and I'm very much looking forward to that!) today I've made a start on some rough puff pastry for making some apple turnovers.

    I actually ended up using the Paul Hollywood cheat puff pastry. I guess only because I was able to watch a video of him demonstrating. It specifies 300g flour, a pinch of salt (I used half a teaspoon), 50g cold butter, 120g frozen grated butter and 4 to 6 tablespoons of chilled water. Although after adding water slowly I needed a bit more to bind it completely without overdoing and making it too sticky so I ended up using 8 tablespoons. Probably wasn't as shaggy as it could be but it seems ok. I also squeezed some lemon juice in.
    I don't know how buttery the taste will be as this uses less than 0.75% of fat to flour, but hmm, we'll see I guess.

    After freezing my butter and grating it last night, I put it back in the freezer as 2 separate lots of 60g. But then realised it would all stick together in one big clump and defeat the object of the gratings! I then remembered the bon appetit method said to toss it with flour to stop it sticking so I removed it from the freezer before it set hard and added flour just in time. The gratings turned into something more resembling small pebbles.

    Anyway, I'm really enjoying it so far. I combined the flour and 50 g butter with my fingers until it was kind of like breadcrumbs, then added the salt and water until it formed a dough, and no mixing machines involved!

    Then kneaded it for probably only a minute, then did my first roll. I didn't measure it, I just rolled until it was about a 1/4 inch thick and I used a coaster which is just under 1/4 inch to gauge it by. I used my dough scraper around the sides to try and keep the rectangular shape, it was a bit easier than I expected. And brushed off any flour. Then I put half my frozen butter over the top two thirds of the dough and folded each end over each other. This is the way Hollywood does it but actually, I wish I'd done it the bon appetit way as it would have stopped pieces of frozen butter falling out the sides, lol.

    So that was my first turn. Then I rolled it again into a rectangle and did the same with the other half of frozen butter and folded it again. I was going to do my second turn and rolling, but I felt it was getting a bit soft so I wrapped it and put it in the fridge to harden up. So now I think I need to do another couple of turns. I think I'll need to just seal the ends to stop butter oozing out when I roll it :) What do you think Norcalbaker, am I doing it kind of right? :p

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    Last edited: May 30, 2019
    Lee_C, May 30, 2019
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  2. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    Here's an update on my puff pastry. I'll be doing the meilleurduchef method next time as it will definitely be better than this, but I had reasonable results with the rough puff method and just wanted to try it.

    I ended up with about 6 turns before it was smooth enough, wrapped and chilled it and sliced a portion for preparing apple turnovers.

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    I peeled, cored and chopped 3 granny smiths and over medium heat for 10 minutes I cooked them with a little water, cinnamon and brown sugar and then let it cool. I rolled and cut squares from my sliced portion of dough, eggwashed around the edges, put a little bit of the apple filling on, folded, crimped, eggwashed the surface, sliced a couple of airholes and baked for 18 minutes.

    Now, they were tasty but the pastry wasn't very soft or flaky, it was quite hard and dense almost like something between puff pastry and a pie crust. This was disappointing. Filling is great though, tender and sweet enough. It's not that the Paul Hollywood method was not good, it was down to my lack of technique and experience.

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    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
    Lee_C, Jun 5, 2019
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  3. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    Today I cut another portion of my chilled dough which has been in the fridge for a few days and decided to make some cheese and tomato slices. This was much better! Dead easy to make. Just roll the dough thin, cut into any shapes, egg wash them and throw grated cheese and sliced tomato on and bake for about 20 minutes at about 190c. :)

    I think the important thing is not to let eggwash touch the sides, it stops the layers from separating. These were delicious, much flakier with more separated layers and softer than my turnovers. Overall, 6 out of 10.

    Now that I've had a little experience, I know I can do this better. A different method, working quicker and more efficiently with rolling the butter and dough, chilling more often before it gets too soft, making sure to always brush excess flour off, making sure eggwash never touches the sides, and are trimmed properly. I think also it needs much more butter, plus some vinegar which I understand increases the puffing.

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    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
    Lee_C, Jun 5, 2019
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  4. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    I head home tomorrow...I do want to chat with you about this puff pastry.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jun 6, 2019
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  5. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    I look forward to what you have to say. :)
     
    Lee_C, Jun 6, 2019
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    Becky Well-Known Member

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    That all looks wonderful @Lee_C! You've made me feel quite hungry! :D
     
    Becky, Jun 7, 2019
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  7. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Hey @Lee_C,

    First I wanted to say you’re work looks fantastic! Your rolling and shaping really show skill. You earned your Iron Whisk!!

    The issues you encountered with tough dough have more to do with Paul Hollywood’s recipe than your work. His ratios are off. It is impossible to make a dough with 300g flour and 4 to 6 tablespoons of water! Six tablespoons of water might come to 60 ml depending on the shape of the spoon. So that would only be 20% hydration. 60 ml of water in 300g of flour is a very dry dough. You end up overworking it to bring it together. So of course it’s tough. It was a faulty recipe. I don’t know how Paul Hollywood could create such a bad recipe. He is an outstanding baker. I have one of his bread books.

    The baker’s percentages for a puff pastry should be like

    • 100% flour
    • 1.5% salt
    • 100% unsalted butter
    • 50% water

    This is Gordon Ramsay‘s recipe for rough puff pastry (also a link to his recipe)

    250 g strong Flour
    1 teaspoon fine sea salt
    250 g unsalted butter
    About 150 ml water

    His recipe has 60% hydration, but it also calls for strong flour. The flour in the UK is also different than the US in that all flour in the UK is unbleached. So it will absorb more water. So you can see that Paul Hollywood is way off the mark with his 4 - 6 Tablespoons of water.

    https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2403/roughpuff-pastry-


    For technique I would suggest the Fine Cooking method since it uses a double book fold. The double book fold brings both ends to the middle, which creates an additional layer each time. So you still create all those layers without having to handle the dough as much.

    She uses a pastry cutter to cut the butter in. But you don’t need a pastry cutter.

    1. Cut the butter into 1” cubes.

    2. Toss the cubes into the flour to coat.

    3. Pinch the cubes flat into the butter

    4. Stir in the water

    5. Follow rest of the steps in the video


    https://www.finecooking.com/article/how-to-make-rough-puff-pastry-dough


    I would definitely use Gordon Ramsay’s recipe with the strong flour Since you’re in the UK. But just as a point of reference I am listing her recipe. As you can see the baker’s percentages are similar to Gordon Ramsay’s recipe, and very different from Paul Hollywood’s recipe.

    12 oz flour
    3/4 salt
    12 oz unsalted butter
    6 oz water
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jun 7, 2019
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  8. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Becky! They were quite tasty and it wasn't even with a particularly good pastry :D




    Norcalbaker, great to see you back! And thank you very much for the praise! I must say, it's satisfying going from a lumpy slab of dough and butter to a smooth one. I did my best to try and keep the edges straight using my blue dough scraper. I love that tool, it's very useful. I kept moving the dough around to stop it sticking. There were several moments during the early stages of rolling where the underside was sticking a bit because little bits of butter had seeped through onto the bench from rolling. This is what made me think that I might have compromised the final results.


    Thanks for explaining the Paul Hollywood ratios. Yes, clearly it's not a very good recipe! At least that explains why my pastry wasn't very soft and flaky. Not only a lack of hydration, but not enough butter either.

    Thank you, I'm going to use that Gordon Ramsey recipe you linked. I wonder if you could clarify something for me. In his recipe it's 1:1 flour to butter. Earlier you mentioned there are baker's percentages for puff pastry of 75% and also 50% butter to flour. So that means there are three different puff pastry percentages that can be used, 50%, 75% and 100%. Is that correct? How would I normally choose which percentage to go for, does it come down to how buttery I want it?

    I notice Ramsey uses room temperature butter and the fine cooking recipe uses cold.
    Wouldn't cold normally be better or does it not really matter that much? Presumably it should be at a temperature that isn't too warm but pliable enough to roll without tearing the dough?


    Yes, I do like the double book turns because as you said, it creates more layers. So I'll follow her method. In the meilleurduchef method for the portugese tarts, it says to leave a 2cm gap between the top and bottom end that has been folded, before folding it in half for the completed double book turn. In the fine cooking method, she doesn't mention a gap, so would you know if there's any particular importance on this gap?

    The fine cooking recipe and the meilleurduchef recipe uses all purpose flour, and GR uses strong white flour. Should I always use strong flour or only for his recipe?

    Finally, I mostly followed Joy of Baking recipe for making the turnovers. She started the video by saying you need 225g of puff pastry which will make half a dozen turnovers, with each turnover square measuring 4.5". She had presumably cut the 225g from a larger block. Earlier, I had watched her make a 670g block in another video when she demonstrated her own 'blitz' puff pastry.

    But I don't know how she was able to specifically cut 225g of the pastry. When I cut mine I sort of eyeballed it but I was short as I ended up cutting only about 175g which meant I couldn't make 6 turnovers, at least, not the size in her recipe.

    So my question is, when I have a large block of puff pastry ready to be used and need to cut an exact amount for a recipe, how would I do that without cutting less than I need or without cutting too much and wasting it?

    One other thing I noticed. I ended up with 617g of pastry, but earlier when I weighed it I think I had something like 570g. So I can only think that the extra weight must have been excess flour as I continued to do turns (more turns that I needed to it seems), which of course is not good. I did brush away flour as I went but perhaps not enough.



     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
    Lee_C, Jun 9, 2019
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  9. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    It was nice to spend some time with my family. My son lives out of state, so we only get to see each other once a year or so.


    Regarding butter temperature...

    Fine Cooking is correct—COLD butter should be used. When the butter is cut, and worked into the dough, it will heat up very fast. If you start with warm butter it will melt into the flour and it will fuse the dough together.


    Regarding the ratios...

    With traditional puff pastry, a separate dough is made, then wrapped around a block of butter. Through a series of folds and turns, the butter is rolled into paper thin layers between the dough.

    With rough puff pastry large pieces of butter are cut into and embedded in the dough, then the dough is fold like traditional puff pastry to create the layers. More butter is needed since the butter is embedded in chunks, rather than rolled out into a paper thin layer inside the dough.

    You don’t actually have to go 1:1 in rough puff; I use 1:.85, which is close to my pie crust at 1:.70. My pie crust has enough butter AND water to create a flaky crust, so if I book folded it, I could make rough puff pastry even though it’s not 1:1 butter.


    Paul Hollywood’s recipe calls for 57% butter, which is extremely low even for a pie crust. Couple that with the extremely low hydration of 20% and there’s no way that recipe can produce decent puff pastry.


    Regarding what % to choose in traditional puff pastry...


    75% is a traditional puff pastry. Now I’m not taking about rough puff pastry—rough puff pastry is different.


    Regarding 2 cm gap on the double book fold...

    The edges of the top and bottom are brought to center, then the entire piece is folded in half. If the edges are touching each other, once everything is folded, the outside center will bulge where the top and bottom edges touched. If you leave a little bit of a gap you won’t have that bulge since everything isn’t crammed into the center.


    Regarding the type of flour...


    GR has it right with the strong flour; but use the Fine Cooking method and definitely use cold butter.


    The French would use Type 55 for puff pastry. The French Type 55 flour has a protein level of about 11%.


    The all purpose flours in the US range from 10% - 11.7% protein depending on brand.


    The two flours I use the most are not labeled “all purpose” since they are not retail brands, but fall within that category. They have 10.5% and 11.5% protein.


    According to National Association of British and Irish Flour Millers (NABIM) the flours in the UK and Ireland (I assume from the domestic wheat) have the 11.5% protein in white bread flour and 9% protein in plain flour. What NABIM lists as a white bread flour I assume is marketed as strong flour.


    So UK plain flour is a closer equivalent to the US 8% protein cake/pastry flour in than the US 10% - 11.7% all purpose flour. Canadian all purpose flours have even higher protein content than US flours.


    The UK 11.5% white bread flour is the closest to the French Type 55 flour, so strong flour would be more suited to puff pastry than plain flour.


    http://www.nabim.org.uk/flour-and-milling/nutrition



    Regarding dividing dough...


    There is no way to accurately divide dough. You have to make an educated guess based on the mass and what you need.


    Shape the dough into a square or rectangle. I avoid circular shapes.


    Weight it.

    Measure it.


    Then based on the weight, measurements, and the amount of dough you need, you decide how to divide it.


    Using your pastry as an example. You need to 225g. Your dough weighed 617g.


    225g / 617g = .36


    So you need at 1/3 of the dough mass.


    So I would shape it into a rectangle during the folding process. Then when I was ready to use it, I would measure it; then cut off slightly more than 1/3.


    It’s better to take a bit more than to take less, especially if you are baking for a a meal or event.


    When dividing a bread dough such as rolls, I wouldn’t simple turn the dough out the tub. The tub I use I is rectangular shape. So I Use my metal bench scraper to cut lengthwise strips. Then I cut a piece of that strip and weight it. Once I get a piece of dough that is the right weight that becomes my gauge to cut the rest of the dough.


    Scrapes are an inevitable. I know a baker who saves her pie dough scrapes in the freezer. When she has a bag full she rolls them out, fills them with various flavored sugars, Rolls them up and bakes them. She puts them out at parties and nobody was there scraps.



    Regarding Increased weight of dough...


    Yes that’s a significant increase in weight. When you make a dough with adequate hydration, you will not have to work the dough much, so you will not be using much flour. So you should not have the same issue you had with the Hollywood recipe.



    This is my 70% butter pie crust. I fold my dough in thirds a couple of times the process of making it. If I used the rough puff pastry double book fold technique on this dough even at 70% butter I’d have a somewhat decent puff pastry. So you don’t actually have to go 1:1 on puff pastry. But, you do need a heck of a lot more butter than Hollywood’s recipe—and water. This crust has 30% hydration, I made this crust just a couple weeks ago. I always use between 28% to 30% hydration.
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    Norcalbaker59, Jun 9, 2019
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  10. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    I'm really pleased you got to spend some quality time with your son and family, it must be amazing to meet up after a year of not seeing each other. :)

    I don't actually have many questions this time, you've answered everything so brilliantly! :cool:
    I have some strong white bread flour here so I'll use that for all my puff pastry including when I make the portugese tarts.


    I think one of the issues with me dividing my dough was that although it looked like a flat evenly distributed square by the time I'd wrapped it and chilled it, I probably should have rolled it a little just to even it out before dividing. Because I think there was a little more weight on one side than the other.

    Regarding scraps, can I bundle my scraps together into a ball and re-roll, but I guess they wouldn't puff up into layers? Maybe I would need to pile scraps on top of each other and then roll flat to keep some layering?

    And your 70% butter pie crust looks outstanding, Norcalbaker! So many layers, lovely golden colour, and is that a blackcurrant or maybe a blueberry filling? Looks delicious. :)
     
    Lee_C, Jun 9, 2019
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  11. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    We had a family event, so there was a lot going on during the week. There was family I hadn't seen in a while as well, so it was kind of like a mini family reunion. My son and his family are now off to Mexico for their summer vacation.

    It’s probably better to lay the scrapes flat. Given it’s a rough puff pastry with the butter embedded into the dough you could probably get away with it re-rolling it once.

    Thank you for the compliment on my crust. I was testing a 10.5% protein flour. I find the flour too soft for some applications. I thought it was too soft for my biscottis. So in pie crust I just always mixed it with a 11.5% protein flour without trying it on its own. But I recently found out that the Mill recommends this flour for baguettes.

    So I wanted to see how the 10.5% would work on it’s own for pie crust. It turned out pretty nice. I’m going test it again this week with a 28% hydration. The filling in that hand pie is blueberry. I’ll test it again this week with a Granny Smith apple.

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    Norcalbaker59, Jun 9, 2019
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  12. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely scrumptious looking! It looks moist, crispy and a lovely flaky crumb :) Should be very nice when you try it with apple. Will you be cooking the apple with some cinnamon and brown sugar?
     
    Lee_C, Jun 11, 2019
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    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    I use a mix of brown and white sugar with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Oh, a bit of lemon juice as well. We’re in the middle of a heat wave, I have no air conditioning, so I won’t be doing any baking until the place cools down.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jun 11, 2019
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    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    Oh very nice. You just reminded me, I have a bottle of mixed spice with cinnamon, ginger, coriander seed, nutmeg, clove, and pimento. I used some with my Welsh cakes.

    I've no idea what pimento really tastes like to be honest, though I think I've had pimento stuffed olives before.

    I forgot I had this mixed spice bottle and could have used it with my apple. Instead I just used a separate bottle I have of ground sweet cinnamon, I believe it's called 'Cassia'. I'll have to add some lemon juice next time, good tip.:)

    We've had some decent weather here recently bit now it's just typical british rain! :D
     
    Lee_C, Jun 12, 2019
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    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    That spice blend sounds very interesting. It sounds like a spice that would be used in a Moroccan or Iranian dish.

    I haven’t had pimentos in years. They used to be commonly stuffed in olives. I recently cleaned out my spice cabinet, I couldn’t believe how many unopened jars of chili type spices I threw out. I couldn’t believe I purchased so many of them. I don’t know what I was thinking when I purchase them.

    I’m off to by brother’s house to help my SIL care for my niece while my brother is in Mexico. It’ll be nice to be in an air-conditioned house:cool:
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jun 12, 2019
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    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    Yes it's too easy collecting food and ingredients that don't get used and have to be thrown, happens to me quite regularly!

    Have a nice time at your brother's house. I'm just waiting for something I baked today to cool down for a few minutes before I get to turn it out and reveal if it was a success or fail. First time I've ever made it, so fingers crossed it'll turn out ok. I'm not sure if it goes in the desserts or cake forum but I'll be looking forward to showing it to you. :)
     
    Lee_C, Jun 12, 2019
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    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, it will be nice to see my niece. Do post on your latest baking adventure!
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jun 12, 2019
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    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    I've just posted my latest adventure in the showcase thread, and it's... a success! :cool:
     
    Lee_C, Jun 12, 2019
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    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    Well Norcalbaker, I've made the puff pastry for pastel de nata using that meilleurduchef recipe. It was pretty difficult! Only because rolling butter on the outside of the dough I found harder to do than the normal way. The temperature in the kitchen was softening the butter quite rapidly so I couldn't do too much between chilling it.

    I initially put the butter between two sheets of parchment and rolled it flat and then chilled it. And I also rolled the butter and dough together between parchment for just the first double turn and then chilled it. It was a bit messy and patchy.

    Anyway, eventually it got a little easier but the final product still looks a bit patchy, i.e, the colour of the dough is not completely homogenous, you can see light patches of yellow amongst white dough. The only way to work with the butter was to throw flour onto it to stop it sticking, But of course I didn't want to add too much flour and I did make sure I brushed the excess away between turns. The meilleur recipe totals 428g of puff pastry. I've weighed my final dough and ended up with 445g. So, maybe not too bad? I was meant to do two double turns and a single turn. I ended up doing three double turns and was going to finish with a single but left it at that. I guess that's ok if it gives me more layers.

    I then rolled it into a very thin sort of square and then rolled it up into a long sausage shape ready to be cut into small portions for the individual tarts. The recipe says cut 1cm pieces. The problem is I must have rolled out the square too big because after rolling it up, it was quite long but quite a narrow diameter cylinder. It needed to be shorter but wider diameter. So a 1cm piece doesn't give enough dough to properly fill each muffin tin cavity. I think about 2cm pieces will compensate and work better.

    So I believe I finished making it on Tuesday and I've had the dough sausage wrapped in clingfilm and in the fridge since then. Tomorrow or sunday I'm hoping to make the custard and bake these. I'm wondering if the dough will be ok and puff up as intended because from what I've read, it's only meant to be refridgerated up to about 3 days?
     
    Lee_C, Jun 22, 2019
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    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Congratulations! I’m very proud to hear you gave it a go. The inverse puff pastry is probably one of the most difficult pastries in all of baking. But I did not want to discourage you from trying to make it, so I didn’t mention that in our discussions. When we talk too much about the difficulties in handling certain pastry or dough, we have a tendency to undermine our own confidence before we even try. Certainly deterred me from trying laminated dough.

    Everything is doable with practice. If we don’t try something, we will never learn to do it. Will it be perfect the first try, no. But each time you get better.

    The finished weight of your pastry is excellent. It means you did not add a lot of flour during the rolling. Great work.

    That’s okay if it looks a little patchy. This is your first time making the dough. You’re just getting the feel of it. What’s really important is you made a lot of observations. Go back and read through the description of what you wrote back to me. That’s really a sign of a baker who is learning. You paid attention to how the dough initially responded when you were rolling it out. You paid attention to how it began to develop. How it looked as you rolled it and made the turns. You kept track of the turns according to the recipe and the actual turns you made. The weight of the ingredients compared to the weight of the finished dough. Even if that pastry turns out tough and chewy and flat as a pancake you have accomplished a lot. You accomplished a lot because you went through the experience and you took note of everything that was happening.

    Now the next step is get yourself a binder. Write the recipe down. And make notes about what worked and what did not.

    The next time you make inverse puff pastry you read your binder notes before you start. And that will help guide you through the process for a better result.

    You are doing great! Course I still want to see the results from this bake!!
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jun 23, 2019
    #40
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