Substitutions for choux pastry

Discussion in 'Pastry' started by -Daniel-, Feb 17, 2018.

  1. -Daniel-

    -Daniel- Well-Known Member

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    Hi all! I'm looking for suggestions about choux pastry, and so far I'm considering two recipes. I haven't decided on fillings or flavourings yet either

    Recipe 1

    Eggs, whole: 225g
    water (or milk): 225g
    shortening, all purpose: 85g
    Salt: 3g
    Bread flour: 125g

    - Can I replace the shortening with butter? (Lurpak)
    - Can I replace the bread flour with plain flour?

    Recipe 2
    butter, 50g
    Plain flour, 75g
    2 large eggs, beaten

    - But I'm worried it has no water or milk in it, which seems unusual?
     
    -Daniel-, Feb 17, 2018
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  2. -Daniel-

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Both recipes pose issues for a good pate a choux.

    Shortening has zero water in it. Butter has about 23% water. So the use of shortening in one and the absence of liquid in the other pose issues for rise and structure as water plays a major role in pate a choux. Butter is also very important for flavor given there are so few ingredients in the dough. Shortening will produce an extremely bland pastry.

    The type of flour you use is important as pate choux is the only pastry dough that requires a strong gluten network.

    Higher protein flour will better absorb the egg. So you can use a little bit less egg, yet still active great expansion and strength.

    The interior is open and hollow, so the shell must be strong enough to support it without collapsing. Pate a choux is essentially a gluten bubble. It’s strength is created by a double cook method and a strong flour.

    Water/milk and butter is boiled first; by adding the flour to the boiling hot liquid gelatinization is triggered. The gelatinization reinforces the gluten network to keep the walls from collapsing.

    But even with the double cooking method, if you do not use a strong flour, the pate a choux is at risk of collapsing.

    Liquid also gives the dough its rise. There is no chemical leavening, so it’s rise comes from mechanical leavening and steam created when the liquid evaporates during baking.

    Standard ratios are equal parts water and eggs; half as much flour & butter
    • High Protein Flour 1.0
    • Liquid 2.0
    • Butter 1.00
    • Eggs 2.0


    ======


    I prefer a richer dough. This is adapted from Chef Eddy Van Damme. I’ve incorporated some of my techniques into his. But use his ratios and baking temperature. It’s my favorite pate a choux. The recipe calls for either bread flour or a blend of bread and pastry flour. I prefer the blend.

    I learned to make pate a choux by hand. But now use the mixer as I’m convinced it better incorporates the egg into the dough. It’s also a more convenient and effective way to cool the dough before adding the egg.


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


    Pate a Choux


    Ratios:
    • Flour 1.0
    • Liquid 1.77
    • Butter .88
    • Eggs 1.55

    Yield depends on size of piping nozzle and shape. I get 18 - 3” eclairs or 24 puffs


    120g milk
    120g water
    3/4 tsp salt
    10g sugar
    120g butter
    67g bread flour
    67g pastry flour
    210g eggs loosely beaten

    Egg wash
    1 egg
    1 Tbsp water


    Equipment
    • Stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment
    • Parchment lined baking sheet
    • Wooden skewer or sharp knife to pierce pastry to release steam

    Note: I rest my dough 15 minutes after piping it. But this is optional.


    Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)

    INSTRUCTIONS

    In a saucepan bring to a boil the water, milk, sugar, salt and butter.


    Remove from heat and immediately add the sifted flour. Stir well until combined. Return to heat and stir until the dough releases from the sides and bottom.


    Dough temperature should be 195°F – 203°F (90°C – 95°C)


    Place the mixture into a mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium low speed for 1 full minute to cool the dough to 160°


    Gradually add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl often. After eggs are well incorporated examine the batter. It should be smooth and have a light sheen. It should be firm enough to hold it’s shape when piped.


    String test: press a bit of dough between thumb and forefinger. Dough should stretch about 1” to 2” when fingers are pulled apart. Add the a teaspoon more beater egg if dough breaks apart before stretching to 1”.

    NOTE: for gougere add cheese

    Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip. Pipe spacing dough 2” apart on parchment lined sheet pans. Fill up sheet as the steam produced as the dough bakes is important for the rise.


    Optional: Lightly bush with egg wash.


    Optional: Rest piped dough 15 minutes before baking. The rest allows the dough to form a skin which will help retain its shape during baking.


    Place in the oven at 350F (180C)


    Set timer for 15 minutes.


    When pastry is fully expanded, about 15 minutes, open the oven door fully for about 20 seconds to let the oven steam escape. Then close the door and continue baking.


    Bake until the products are crisp when pressed on the sides. About 35 minutes TOTALY for éclairs.

    I was taught to pierce the pastries with a sharp knife immediately after baking, then return to the oven for about 5 minutes. This allows for the interior steam to escape, keeping the shells crisper for longer. I still do this as a matter of habit. When making eclairs or gougere I use a wooden skewer to pierce the puff. For round shapes that I will fill, I use the tip of a paring knife to make a slit 1/3 from the top since I’m going to slice them open anyway.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Feb 17, 2018
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  3. -Daniel-

    -Daniel- Well-Known Member

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    Thank you so much for the suggestions, they're really helpful.

    How much protein should the flour have? I've checked and the "plain flour" I can get here has 10.67g per every 100
     
    -Daniel-, Feb 18, 2018
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  4. -Daniel-

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Hello Daniel, that protein level is lower than ideal. Protein of 11.5% or higher would be best.

    But certainly give the pate a choux a try with the plain flour if it’s what you have on hand. Just be aware that the puffs could collapse. I’ve used all purpose flour a couple of times with acceptable results. They were on the softer side. But even collapsed, they taste good.


    BTW, pate a choux is very versatile. The French Cruller and Mexican/Spanish Churro are both made with pate a choux.


    And the puffs adapted so well to savory. I love to add herbs and cheese to the dough, then stuff the puffs with crab salad, savory mousse, or whipped cheese and spinach filling. They really impress dinner guests.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Feb 18, 2018
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  5. -Daniel-

    -Daniel- Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to give it a go, I'll post my results here! Thanks for your help, I'll be using your recipe.

    I'm going to do a vanilla custard filling with a rapberry glaze on top.

    (I might try a more firm cream than a custard... I'd love to make them sandwich style with piped cream in the middle but I'm not sure yet...) Something like this... https://www.google.com.mx/search?q=...AUICigB&biw=1309&bih=730#imgrc=ObHJ5Ed-5T9TFM:
     
    -Daniel-, Feb 18, 2018
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  6. -Daniel-

    -Daniel- Well-Known Member

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    So they didn't rise at all and burnt underneath really quickly... are the eggs weighed with or without their shells on?

    I'm going to make a second batch and put them one rack higher on the oven.
     
    -Daniel-, Feb 18, 2018
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  7. -Daniel-

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    No I weigh the eggs out of the shell. I just made this recipe a few weeks ago. They turned out perfect. I used a blend of high protein flour and pastry flour.

    I’m wondering if it’s your oven size. You don’t have a full-size oven, correct? I’m wondering if the small space is affecting the rate of moisture evaporation. Also wondeting if the heating element being so close to the baking sheet is causing the bottoms to cook too fast, and changing the rate of gelatinization.

    When the moisture doesn’t evaporate properly it will definitely affect rise.



    Try this:

    You use a really good quality butter that has a lower water content. But you could try decreasing the butter by about 10% - 15%.

    Space the pipe dough out further. And put fewer on the tray.

    Do you have a second baking sheet? If so double up your baking sheets to create insulation on the bottom.

    Then do not open the oven door during baking. Just let everything bake until it’s done.

    And if you don’t mind, please keep me posted
     
    Norcalbaker59, Feb 18, 2018
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  8. -Daniel-

    -Daniel- Well-Known Member

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    Before I saw your post, I tried them again but this time added the eggs one at a time (previously I measured out 210g of eggs in one bowl and mixed them). It was 4 eggs in total, and when piping I noticed a huge difference in how they kept their shape.

    The other change I made is that I put them on the highest oven shelf too.

    The first bunch came out of the oven like this, I'm happy with them, but will definitely want a bit more practice.
     

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    -Daniel-, Feb 18, 2018
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  9. -Daniel-

    Apocalypso Well-Known Member

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    Replying so that I'm following this thread...
     
    Apocalypso, Feb 18, 2018
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  10. -Daniel-

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the eggs definitely have to be added in one at a time. The egg has to be well incorporated into the dough.

    Looking at the picture they don’t look to bad. The cracking is heat. General teaching states pate a choux should be baked hot. But more and more pastry chefs are finding high heat causes cracking. Over the Christmas holidays I baked both puffs and eclairs. It was the first time I ever reduced the heat to 350°F (180°C). And I was astonished to find I got almost no cracking. Out of two batches I had maybe 3 cracked éclairs and puffs.

    Looking at your work makes me want to get in the kitchen and bake. I haven’t been able to bake in a week or so. We have a water problem, So we cannot drink the water untill it’s resolved. Since I’m using bottled water for drinking and cooking, I’m conserving as much as possible.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Feb 18, 2018
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  11. -Daniel-

    -Daniel- Well-Known Member

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    So batch two tasted great! I want to keep practising, but the recipe worked a treat and I now know edxactly how each stage should look, and hopefully in a few months I'll be getting a better oven.

    I filled them TO THE BRIM with vanilla and almond custard, and covered them in a raspberry glaze. I'm really happy with how they've turned out, it's going to be hard not eating them all myself.

    I wrote about it on my new blog: https://www.bakingforgranted.com/blog/eclairs and here's some pics
     

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    -Daniel-, Feb 19, 2018
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  12. -Daniel-

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    @Daniel, ✋ they really look good! You’re right the feel of the dough tells you a lot. I remember the first time I ever made pate a choux. I was a nervous and so unsure when I felt that dough. It’s really not like any other dough in the cooking or the feel. So it’s an experience in and of itself.

    You achieved a good hollow center. That’s really the hardest part. The pastry color is good too. And your custard and glaze look yummy. I think you’ll nail this very soon. You’re very close.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Feb 19, 2018
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  13. -Daniel-

    Becky Well-Known Member

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    @-Daniel- they look delicious! Good work :) My mum was really good at making choux pastry but I've never attempted it myself, I must give it a go sometime.
     
    Becky, Feb 19, 2018
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