Puff pastry dough is traditionally given a bookfold (or four-fold) turn for a total of four times. It is refered to as a 4 x 4. Because no yeast or other leavening agent is used, puff pastry is dependent on the increased number of layers formed within the dough. One bookfold turn creates more layers than one letterfold turn. The more layers created, the greater the height in the final pastry. Puff pastry is also given a rest in between each turn.
Why resting the dough is necessary? After each turn, laminated doughs are placed in the refrigerator to rest. Resting accomplishes two goals. First, resting allows any gluten that has formed to relax. Second, during rolling and folding, heat is generated. Often, the fat warms up and becomes soft(especially when using butter). Resting the dough allows the fat time to firm up just enough before the next turn. The resting period can last anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour between turns. The fat should not be allowed to get too hard. Some chefs place the dough in the freezer to speed this process.
A combination of high-protein and low protein flours is the best compromised for making tender, yet resilent, pastry. The High protein content of bread flour gives a certain amount of 'give' or elasticity and added structure to the risen layers. They have enough strength so that as they puff up their ultrafine layers do not break. The gluten strands should have enough resiliency to stretch, yielding paper-thin layers.
A bookfold or four-fold turn requires the dough to be a longer length than does a letterfold or three-fold turn. The exact dimensions of the rectangle is not important, the only thing to keep in mind is, make sure the dough is not rolled too thin or the height of the baked pastry will be compromised.
Tips for successful Laminated Pastries
For the base dough
- Use a small amount of an acid asuch as lemon juice or vinegar to denature some of the protein in the flour, thereby relaxing the gluten just enough to allow better rolling out of the dough, reducing shrinkage.
- Avoid overworking the dough to prevent too much gluten from forming
For Folding and Layering
For Shaping and Baking
- Brush off any excess flour before cutting and shaping the dough
- Because puff pastry dough does not contain yeast, proofing is not necessary.
Puff Pastry Dough:
Makes approximately 2 pounds 8 ounces(1.13 kg)
8 fl oz/1 cup/240 ml cold water
1 tsp/6 g salt
1 tsp/5 ml lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
2 oz/4 tbsp/55g unsalted butter - melted
4 oz/1 cup/115 g cake clour
10 oz/2 cups/285g bread flour
1 lb/2 cups/455 g unsalted butter, softened slightly
2 oz/1/2 cup/60 g bread flour
Preparing the base dough - In the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment, blend the water, salt, lemon juice or vinegar, melted butter, cake flour, and enough of the bread flour to make a soft dough. Do not overmix.
Shape the dough into a rough rectangle, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill it for 30 minutes.
Preparing the butter to be enclosed - in the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment, blend the 1 lb(2 cups/455g) of butter and the bread flour until the mixture is approximately the consistency of the base dough .
Lay a long piece of plastic wrap on a work surface. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the butter mixture onto the center of the plastic. Cover with another piece of plastic and, using a rolling pin, gently hit and roll the butter to spread it into an 8 by 12 inch(20 x 30 cm) rectangle. Chill the butter until the base dough has been rolled out.
Enclosing the butter - roll out the chilled dough to a 12 x 18 inch(30 x 46 cm) rectangle, and place the butter on the dough so that it covers the bottom two thirds of the rectangle.
Fold the top third of the unbuttered dough down to the middle, partially covering the butter. Now fold the bottom buttered portion of the dough over the center to meet the other side, so that a rectangle forms. Press down slightly, making sure the edges of the dough meet. The butter is now enclosed.
Completing One Four-Fold Turn or Bookturn - rotate the dough 90 degrees so that when the dough is rolled out, the open ends become the short sides of the rectangle. Roll the dough to a 9 x 18 inch(23 x 46 cm) rectangle. Fold the top edge of the dough to the center and the bottom edge up to the center. The two edges should meet but not overlap. Now bring the two halves together as if you are closing a book. This is one compledted four-fold turn. Press one finger into the dough to show one turn is complete, wrap in plasti wrap, and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour. The plastic wrap can also be marked with a dot to reduce any confusion as to how many turns have been completed.
Repeat rolling, folding, and marking the number of turns three more times for a total of 4 four-fold or bookturns, chilling the dough in between each completed turn. After the final turn is complete, wrap the dough twice in plastic wrap and chill it overnight in the refrigerator.
TO MAKE CURRY PUFFS:
Prepare one recipe of puff pastry dough, using one half for this recipe and reserving the other half for another use.
Recipe for the filling is here
Preheat the oven to 400f(205 c).
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Using a serrated cookie cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible.
Brush the round with egg glaze making sure not to get the egg glaze to the edges.
Fill the glazed rounds with a little of the curry filling and fold the round into a half enclosing the filling. Press lightly at the edge to seal in the filling. Using a smaller size cutter and on the blunt edge, press down to seal the filling. Repeat this procedure for the rest of the pastry rounds.
Glaze the top of curry puffs with egg glaze making sure again not to glaze the edges.
Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown.
Recipe adapted from Gail Sokol - About Professional Baking The Essentials