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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

How to Make Puff Pastry Cooking View

So yeah, I prefer to make my own puff pastry.  I know, I know…this seems nutty.  But you already know about this side of me, so it can’t come as that much of a surprise.  I considered adding this tutorial to my Making the Basics series, but it seems kind of contradictory to call puff pastry basic.  Certainly, it isn’t a basic ingredient in the sense that canned tomatoes, frozen spinach, or beans are, but it is an item that is typically purchased pre-made and frozen.  If you’re anything like me, your first bite of the homemade stuff will be all you need to kiss the store-bought variety goodbye.  The glorious buttery, flaky delicate layers of dough are exactly what the packaged version should be but never seems to actually be, at least in my experience.  Puff pastry is definitely an indulgent treat to be enjoyed only sporadically, so when the time comes we should do it justice.  And I know I say it all the time but I promise, this is really much easier than you might imagine.

Here we go.  Puff pastry starts with butter…plenty of butter.  (See the recipe at the bottom of the post for all ingredient measurements.)  The butter should be cold…you’ll see why in a moment.

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade; pulse to combine.  Add in about a quarter of the butter cubes and process until the butter is in dime-sized pieces, about four 1-second pulses.  Add the remaining butter and process to coat the cubes with flour, about two 1-second pulses.

Transfer the mixture to a medium size mixing bowl.  Combine the ice water and lemon juice in a small bowl.  Add half of the liquid to the flour and butter mixture, and toss just until combined.  Keep adding the liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough will clump together with your hand.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface.  The dough will be dry and shaggy at this point.  Now we’re going to fraisage the dough.  I don’t know the literal definition of this word, so my mind has defined it as French massage…ha.  No really, the point is creating a marbled buttery dough that will be beautifully flaky once it is baked.  To fraisage the dough, brace the heel of one hand against the work surface and drag small portions of the dough forward in short, brisk strokes.  You may contract hand-becomes-claw disease during this process but don’t worry, it’s only temporary.

Gather the dough together into a rough mound, using a bench scraper if necessary.  Repeat the fraisage a second time.  (OMG!  The claw is getting worse!)  Press the dough into an 8- by 4-inch rectangle, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Place the dough onto a lightly floured large piece of parchment paper and roll into a 15- by 10-inch rectangle.  Fold the dough lengthwise into thirds.  Starting from the narrow end, loosely roll up the dough into a coil.  Press it to form a 6- by 5-inch rectangle.

Repeat the whole rolling and folding process once more.  As you can see, the point of all this is folding the dough over and over into many layers, which will create those nice flaky layers in the finished product.  Roll the dough out into a 15- by 10-inch rectangle.  (If at any point in the rolling and folding process the dough becomes too sticky or difficult to work with, transfer it to a baking sheet or cutting board, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until it becomes workable.)

Once you have that final rectangle, cut it in half.  See all those buttery layers?!  Each half will weigh approximately one pound, and will be nearly equal to the quantity in a pre-made package of puff pastry.  Wrap the blocks individually in plastic wrap and freeze for a later use.  I thaw mine in the fridge for a day before I plan to use it.  Then just roll out into whatever shape/thickness is specified in whatever recipe you are using.

Woohoo!  You just made puff pastry.  As if that weren’t enough all on its own, here are three of my very favorite things to do with it.

Flaky apple turnovers.  Make them immediately, thank me later.

Caramelized onion tart.  I have no words.

Baked brie with apple compote.  One of my favorite fall appetizers!

Puff Pastry
Yield: 2 (1 pound) blocks puff pastry dough

Ingredients

3 cups (15 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour
1½ tbsp. sugar
1½ tsp. salt
1½ cups (24 tbsp.) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
½ cup plus 1 tbsp. ice water
2 tsp. lemon juice

Cooking View

Directions

  • To make the puff pastry, combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade; pulse to combine.  Add in about a quarter of the butter cubes and process until the butter is in dime-sized pieces, about four 1-second pulses.  Add the remaining butter and process to coat the cubes with flour, about two 1-second pulses.  Transfer the mixture to a medium size mixing bowl.

  • Combine the ice water and lemon juice in a small bowl.  Add half of the liquid to the flour and butter mixture, and toss just until combined.  Keep adding the liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough will clump together with your hand.  Turn the dough out onto a work surface.  The dough will be dry and shaggy at this point.

  • To fraisage the dough, brace the heel of one hand against the work surface and drag small portions of the dough forward in short, brisk strokes.  Gather the dough together into a rough mound, using a bench scraper if necessary.  Repeat the fraisage a second time.  Press the dough into an 8- by 4-inch rectangle, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

  • Place the dough onto a lightly floured large piece of parchment paper and roll into a 15- by 10-inch rectangle.  Fold the dough lengthwise into thirds.  Starting from the narrow end, loosely roll up the dough into a coil.  Press it to form a 6- by 5-inch rectangle.

  • Repeat the entire rolling and folding process once more.  Roll the dough out into a 15- by 10-inch rectangle.  (If at any point in the rolling and folding process the dough becomes too sticky or difficult to work with, transfer it to a baking sheet or cutting board, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until it becomes workable.)  Fold lengthwise into thirds.  Starting from the narrow end, loosely roll up the dough into a coil.  Press it to form a 6- by 5-inch rectangle.  Cut in half to yield two 1-pound blocks of puff pastry dough.  Wrap in plastic wrap freeze until ready to use.  Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before use.

Source

  • Kristen

    You are right, we may think you have lost it :-) It looks amazing but the fraisage scares me. I once watched an old cooking show (Julia Child maybe, I can’t remember) where they beat croissant dough with a rolling pin repeatedly. I watched in awe thinking, I will just go buy my croissants, thank you :-) Maybe someday I will work up the energy for the effort!

  • Annie @ Annie’s Cooking Lab

    That looks much easier than I expected, can’t wait to give it a try!

  • Megan

    Hi Annie! I have been making my own puff pastry since you posted the recipe with the apple turnovers (which are also awesome!). You are right that it really is easy and so worth it. Thanks for posting this tutorial. :)

  • Ali Ebright

    I’m so impressed that you tried this! Looks amazing!

  • http://eenysuniverse.blogspot.com/ eeny

    wow, never saw anyone doing their own home made puff pastry. thought it would take hours and hours of rolling out and folding and of course a lot of elbow grease. this doesn’t sound that bad. might give it a try.

  • Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough

    YUM. I’ve always been a bit of a fraidy cat when it comes to making my own puff pastry, but your tutorial has convinced me that I could actually do it (plus I really need that caramelized onion tart in my life, like, stat) :)

  • Victoria T

    I have been wanting to make my own puff pastry since I saw Jacques Pepin do it on TV. Now I’ll have to try because you make it look so easy, can’t wait to make some.

  • Erica

    Thanks for the process pictures! Seeing a few snapshots of what things should look like at each step helps me envision making this. One question though – how long do you fraisage the dough at each step?

  • Laura

    I can’t wait to try this! Just a few days ago, I was trying to look up some recipes for making puff pastry and wasn’t too successful. Very happy you posted this.

  • Jessica L.

    oh my gosh lady, you are amazing! and I want those apple turnovers, asap.

  • annieseats

    It’s kind of hard to describe when each step is done. You just sort of know when it all has a similar consistency and has been worked over once, you start on the second cycle. With that, you do it just until you can shape it into the rectangle as described. I hope that clarifies it a little bit.

  • Rena

    do you think it would work with margarine?

  • annieseats

    I’m not sure it would be worth the effort with margarine. I’d say if you’re going to go, go all out :) You just can’t beat real butter.

  • Dani

    Can you cook with this right after it’s made or does it need to be refridgerated first?

  • Ann P.

    Oh, this is a new way of making puff pastry! I’ve never seen a method like this before, and this is also the first time I’ve heard of Fraisage. I learn something new every time I come here :)

  • Kelsey

    Homemade puff pastry is WAY better. Great tutorial, Annie, even if it involves a claw ;-)

  • annieseats

    Sorry, I should have mentioned that. After the last set of folds, you should chill it for at least 1 hour in the fridge before use.

  • http://twitter.com/Dinnersdishes Dinnersdishesdessert

    It actually looks doable, I had my doubts. But I am sure it is way better than the store bought, everything always is!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jennifer.oconnor.121 Jennifer O’Connor

    Annie-I’m going to do it! I make my own pie crust all the time. I can’t even remember the last time I purchased it. So, I think it is going to be the same for puff pastry after I make it the first time. Do you know if it will work fine if you double it?

  • annieseats

    Most of the time I would say sure, but this is one thing where I think it would be best not to double. If you do, because of the greater volume of dough, I think you run the risk of the butter getting too warm to behave appropriately through all the folding steps, etc.

  • Caroline L.

    You are amazing. And that is all I have to say. :)

  • http://www.simplysweetjustice.com/ Claire

    Hi Annie, thanks for sharing this! I love the DIY versions of things; they just taste so much better. Your blog continues to inspire me, and I am having so much fun with my cooking blog. There are some amazing food bloggers out there, like YOU!! I am enjoying getting to know more food bloggers, and it has been fun to develop friendships with fellow bloggers, too. Thank you so much!

  • Nitha

    I have always wanted to make puff pastry and am so glads to see this recipe. But one section of the recipe is a little confusing for me:
    To fraisage the dough, brace the heel of one hand against the work surface and drag small portions of the dough forward in short, brisk strokes. Gather the dough together into a rough mound, using a bench scraper if necessary. Repeat the fraisage a second time. Press the dough into an 8- by 4-inch rectangle, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.Place the dough onto a lightly floured large piece of parchment paper and roll into a 15- by 10-inch rectangle. Fold the dough lengthwise into thirds. Starting from the narrow end, loosely roll up the dough into a coil. Press it to form a 6- by 5-inch rectangle.
    So the dough needs to be pressed into an 8 by 4 inch rectangle, wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for an hour. then I need to take it out and roll it into a bigger rectangle? Yes? Sorry for asking such a silly question; I have never done this before :(

  • Arthur in the Garden!

    This looks fabulous!

  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

    Thanks for the step-by-step tutorial on making puff pastry. Oh my. Butter :D

  • Annie @Annie’s City Kitchen

    Ok, so the idea of making puff pastry seems a little intimidating but I can imagine that a recipe like this would also be comforting and even relaxing in a weird way. And you can’t go wrong with a Baking Illustrated recipe!

  • annieseats

    Yes, there is a chill between some of the steps. Hopefully looking through the pictures will help, since I illustrate each step there.

  • Tess

    You are AWESOME ! I’ve made my own puff pastry a million times before and it was never ever THIS EASY. God Bless You Annie ~~~~~~

  • http://www.facebook.com/kaitlyn.gonzalez.9 Kaitlyn Gonzalez

    Oh my goodness, this looks delicious! Love the step by step photos which make it so easy to understand and follow. Keep up the good work.

  • Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes

    Puff pastry was always daunting to me….i’m very impressed!

  • Sarah Bulmer

    I’ve made puff pastry with a block of butter before (not sure of the appropriate name for it) and it was amazing! This method looks much easier, though. I’ll have to try it next time I’m going all out, maybe for the holidays with the brie and apple compote. And the claw hand thing made me laugh! My 100 year old great-aunt made homemade everything her whole life, and she had permanent claw hands!!!

  • Emily

    Do you think it is worth it to buy high (or extra high) quality butter for puff pastry? I’ve made homemade puff before (although I’ve never been satisfied with the recipe — I’ll have to try yours!) but the butter flavor never came through as much as I liked. I’ve always salted the recipe but I’ve never bought the highest quality butter (I usually used Land O’lakes). I’m trying to weigh the costs of the butter with the quality of the dough. Thanks for the recipe — I now have a weekend project!

  • annieseats

    I’ve always just used my regular store brand and have been satisfied, so I can’t compare. Let me know what you think if you use fancier stuff :)

  • Deborah Andrews

    Hi Annie,

    It’s awesome that you’ve posted this as I’ve been thinking this past 2 weeks about making my own puff pastry. I’ve seen it done once before on television several years ago by a lady making spanekopita (one of my favorite dishes). This is a really great tutorial and I appreciate the work you put into it more than you know…. One of the questions in my mind was if I could use my food processor for this recipe and you answered it. Now to put aside time for making this fabulous recipe.

    Thanks!

    Debbie…(O:
    >

  • Ana Salazar

    Annie I’m going to have to try your method, since the traditional I’ve been always using is way too much of a hazzle to make the end result worth my while!

  • http://twitter.com/misterbreakfast Mr Breakfast (.com)

    I’m in love with your de Buyer pastry mat. I’ve got to get one. Great step-by-step pics. You make puff pastry look easy. Thanks!

  • http://stopdropandblog.com/ Jenna

    Thank you! We just started making a few recipes that require puff pastry — but I’ve also been working on getting away from frozen/refrigerated doughs. I thought I was stuck buying these from the store, and am elated I can get rid of that weird plastic flavor in these as well! YAY!

  • Alan Brown

    I am interested in making puff pastry for the first time but I do not have a food processor to do the first steps with so I would have to do it by hand or could I use my blender to do the prep work

  • Alan Brown

    I am really wanting to try and make puff pastry but I do not have a food processor to use so I would have to do all the mixing by hand. I found a good recipe to use puff pastry with so I might try your recipe and see how it works for me

  • Christine Polson

    Just wanted to get your thoughts on whether, or not it is critical to have the parchment paper under the dough on step 5, or can I just use my work surface? I made it yesterday and had some problems with the parchment paper sliding all over the place, which made it difficult to roll out. Or, any tips for keeping it in place? I can’t wait to try it tonight as the topping to my chicken pot pie!

  • annieseats

    You know, I think if you have a pastry mat you probably don’t need the parchment. Kind of kicking myself now for not realizing that sooner. Ha!

  • annieseats

    You could try using your blender, though I’m not sure it would do the job correctly. If you have a stand mixer, I think that would get close to the same results.

  • Alan Brown

    I hope to make the recipe soon and I will try using my mixer for the initial steps in preparing the dough.

  • Alan Brown

    Do you think that figs would not be an appropriate food to do in a blender. I tried some the other day and the motor started to smoke so I am hesitant to use the blender now for any other foods.

  • Alan Brown

    I have just started making the dough with just my hands to mix the butter into the flour and then put it in the fridge for one hour.

  • Alan Brown

    I have successfully rolled out the dough the required amount of times and it is nice and smooth with just a little bit of stickiness that I managed to keep under control with some flour to roll in to the dough.

  • annieseats

    I generally would not recommend the blender for things that don’t have a fair amount of liquid in them because that is what usually happens.

  • http://twitter.com/SmellsLkBrwnies Melissa Hogarty

    @annieseats:disqus I just made puff pastry for the first time thanks to you! And holy moly, was it amazing! Thanks for the great tutorial

  • http://twitter.com/Melnjeff43 Melissa Burks

    Have you ever tried this with whole wheat pastry flour?

  • annieseats

    No, I haven’t tried that.

  • ANN HALE

    I HAVE WATCHED 4 VIDEOS ON HOW TO MAKE THIS WONDERFUL PASTRY AND I THINK OF ALL OF DIFFERENT WAYS I WILL ATTEMPT TO TRY YOURS FIRST, I HOPE IT TURNS OUT AS GOOD.THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR COOKING ART AND TREATS WITH ALL OF US.

  • Angela

    I made this and it was unreal. I was always so intimidated by the idea and, thanks to you, I was able to make it and be reasonably confident about it. It was so delicious. Thank you so much!

  • annieseats

    Awesome! Glad you conquered your fears and were happy with the end result. Way to go!

  • Angela

    @alan_brown:disqus Growing up, I learned that, absent of having or using a pastry blender (a kitchen hand tool) or a food processor (which we had, but rarely used and never for baking), cutting butter into the flour with two butter knives works well and creates flaky pastry. It takes longer than a food processor or pastry blender (which was a luxury to us growing up), but it is easy and only requires 2 butter knives.

    Start with the butter already cubed as in the instructions above, and add them to the flour in a mixing bowl, (preferably something cold, like a metal bowl that’s been cooled in the fridge or freezer) coating the butter with flower, as you might have in the processor.

    Take the two knives, make an ‘X’ with the blades, place them in flour/butter, and draw them back toward you, pulling them through the flour and butter.

    Cross and draw the knives until the butter is the correct size that you need or the flour and butter are incorporated for the recipe.

    If the butter seems to be softening, take a break and refrigerate for 10-12 minutes.

    I hope this helps!