Puff Pastry Recipe

You know, it occurred to me just this morning that I’ve never put one of these up, which makes me the a leading contender for the International Captain Obvious “Duh” Award when it’s bestowed in Copenhagen later this year. Lord, what a dimwit I am. Anyway, here’s one I like quite a bit:

For the dough (détrempe):

18 ounces all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2.5 ounces soft Euro-style (cultured) butter
8 ounces water
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

For the butter slab:

18 ounces cold Euro-stlye (cultured) butter
4 tablespoons flour

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle, combine the flour and salt and stir on low to combine. Add the butter and continue to stir until it’s evenly distributed, about a minute. Add the water and lemon juice and continue to mix until a dough begins to form. Switch to a dough hook and knead until the dough comes together, about 30 seconds. If there’s still some flour left in the bottom of the bowl, add water by the teaspoon until the dough just comes together. All this can all be done by hand in a bowl if you prefer.

Wrap the ball in plastic and refrigerate it for at least two hours. When ready to laminate the dough, proceed according to Laminating Dough tutorial under the Techniques menu. I find that for this recipe, turning the dough a total of six times — two turns then an hour’s rest in the fridge, two more turns then an hour’s rest in the fridge, and so on — is the best way to go. Be warned that this dough is stiffer and more difficult to roll than croissant or Danish dough. Use a very big pin.

This recipe makes just under three pounds of dough. It can be cut in half or scaled up to whatever degree you wish. It will keep well in the fridge since it contains no yeast, but if you’re planning to keep it for more than four or five days it’s best to wrap it well and freeze it, since the butter will tend to pick up odors and off flavors.

20 thoughts on “Puff Pastry Recipe”

  1. I wondered if this is true; I read it somewhere: Puff pastry circles will always bake into ovals. I haven’t made puff pastry but wondered. I know I’ve seen circles of baked pp, so how do they do it?

    1. Apricot, I sure love your name. I’ve never thought about that before, but I don’t think it’s true. The puff pastry circles you buy in stores generally puff up into reasonably perfect cylinders. I’ll have to give that some more thought. In the meantime try the recipe! 😉

  2. Hi Joe!

    I saw your Palmiers tutorial and wondering, oh my, I love this thing, and realy want to bake it… But I wasn’t confident enough, I’m afraid it won’t puff like yours. But your puff pastry recipe is just great, they work good, and my mom loves it. I’ve tried some other recipes before, but yours give better result… Thank you for sharing… It will be a keeper….^^


    1. Thanks to you, Midia, for writing in and telling me about it. I’m very, very glad it worked for you. Kudos to you for making your own laminated dough. Not many people have the courage to try it. Very well done!


      – Joe

  3. Hi Joe,

    Your recipes are great!
    Quick question, could you share some insight on why you mention using ” Euro-style (cultured) butter” vs ordinary butter sold in American stores.


    1. Hi Shivam!

      No problem at all. You can do a search for those terms and you’ll find plenty of posts about the subject. However in a nutshell cultured butter is more flavorful, since it’s made with milk that has been allowed to ferment slightly. That fermentation also gives it a pleasant little tang as a result of more acid. The fat content is generally higher and the water content lower, and that tends to be a help when puff pastry is baked since water causes the pastry layers to stick together.

      I hope that helps, Shivam. Let me know how it goes!

      – Joe

      1. Thank you. Yes that was me being lazy, I realized you have already written about this, in the ingredients section under butter.

        I will definitely let you know how it turns out. I currently have finished 3 turns, it’s looking good. 3 more to go!

          1. Picture: http://imgur.com/lPynUxw

            They were good, but it could have been better. The 6th turn was challenging.

            The pastry overall could be baked a little more, and a little thinner would have been ideal.

            However I enjoyed the flavor, and I have a lot of puff pastry on my hand now :). Thank you.

          2. They look very good for a first try, Shivam. Keep practicing!


            – Joe

          3. Thanks. Going to make some this weekend again, practicing for this holiday party that is coming up.
            Any advice on maintaining shape while rolling the dough?
            My biggest challenge was while rolling the dough it would extend by width, making it difficult to fold over time. Any advice would be appreciated.

          4. Hello Shivam!

            It takes some time to learn how to roll the dough well in both directions. I generally start rolling it the long way (wide), but then work on the height with a lot of short up-and-down strokes starting in the middle of the sheet and working outward toward the ends. It can be challenging to get it to roll evenly, so be patient with it. All I can say is the practice makes perfect!


            – Joe

  4. Hey Joe! You have the most thorough, well-thought out baking site on the Internet, bar none. Make that lemon bar none . I am building up my nerve to try your laminated Danish dough recipe for bear claws. (My husband has yet to find one here in SoCal that matched those discovered years ago from Schat’s Bakery in Bishop, CA). I have a fairly new oven and don’t know it’s temperature quirkiness, so have been trying out simple store-bought puff pastry to educate myself before I buy all those ingredients to make my own Danish dough. Ok. I followed the rolling out and temp/time instructions for Palmiers. They didn’t puff much and were VERY small. Nice crunch and tasted good, but not what I anticipated. I did chill the folded dough for 20 min, as directed before baking, and oven was well pre-heated to 400. Could the dough have been too cold? They were browning before the 6-8 min per side as well. So would you guess I should go “slow & low” with my particular oven?

    1. Hi Gigi!

      Very sorry for the late reply. Thanks so much for the very kind words about the blog. It’s been a lot of fun over the years.

      In regard to your question, a low oven tends not to work so well for puff pastry, and palmiers are generally pretty challenging with store bought pastry for reasons you’ve discovered. My advice: step up to some real home made laminated dough! Perhaps you’ve tried it by now. If not, get after it, and let me know if you have any questions!


      – Joe

  5. Love what you do Joe. I have always found that the hardest part to making puff pastry is to make sure the butter is not too soft and not too hard if you can get that right and learn how to roll properly with a rolling pin and not bang the pastry around I always seem to go right I have made it a few times and it always turns out difference and I find out that I am I banging around too much I run into problems in other words I have to learn to be gentle with the pastry

    1. Hey Weaver! And thank you!

      I’d agree that butter texture is probably the biggest challenge. Get that plastic-but-not-greasy consistency right and you’re pretty much home free. But smooth rolling does play a part, certainly. My suggestion: just keep practicing. Even so-so homemade pastry is an amazing thing!



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