Thursday, 4 January 2018

Gluten Free Puff Pastry at home

Be sure to check out this video for additional advice, and for visuals of how the dough should look at each stage.

Let me start by telling you, I resisted using a scale in my baking.  I didn't want to.  I bake more like a cook (often measuring by sight).  I can tell you, this recipe took me months and multiple trials to get it.  Weighing the ingredients was key to making it work.

Also, the suggestions regarding plastic wrap/waxed paper have saved me from accidentally over rolling or tearing the dough and having the butter "peek" out.  I have tried to make this recipe as user friendly as I possibly can.  These tips are to help you have the best chance at success in your own kitchen.  If you have other advice or suggestions, feel free to let me know.  Gluten Free Baking is not easy, but it is possible.

I have frozen this dough for a week, defrosted it in the fridge, then let it come to the appropriate temperature/texture on the counter top to roll it out and use it.  It worked wonderfully.  Again, when rolling it out, be sure to surround the dough.  When I'm rolling it out for use, I roll it out on parchment paper so I can transfer the finished product onto a cookie sheet or a baking stone.  
  • 1 pound gluten free flour (about 3 1/4 cups), plus more for dusting
    • Need to measure to ensure accuracy.  1lb=16oz=458 grams
    • Flour blend is:
      • 2/3 parts garfava flour
      • 1/3 part sorghum flour
      • 1 part constarch
      • 1 part tapioca starch
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces.  European style butters work great for this recipe – higher fat content. 
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Measure your flour into a separate container, and be sure to blend it well before beginning to weigh it.  

Weigh the flour accurately. For this recipe, you need to weigh your ingredients.  This is one recipe that can’t simply be measured in cups. 

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter smooth. Add 1/2 cup of the flour. This is okay to measure out with a half cup. Mix until smooth. Scrape this dough into a flat square about 1 inch thick, it should measure about 5 inches by 5 inches. Check out the video to see how to use the plastic wrap to help shape this butter square.  Wrap well in plastic, and chill for up to 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine remaining flour with the salt and put into the bowl of a mixer. While the mixer is running, gradually add the cream and mix until a rough, shaggy dough is formed; it should not be sticky (see video for visual example). Do not over mix. Roll the dough into a rectangle, about 12 by 7 inches, wrap in plastic, and chill, about 30 minutes. You want the butter and the dough to be the same consistency.  

Remove the flour dough from the refrigerator.  For rolling out my gluten free puff pastry, I use a piece of plastic wrap on the bottom, and a sheet of waxed paper on top.  Lightly dust the plastic wrap with flour, or lightly flower the dough, lay it on the plastic wrap. Do not flour the top side of the dough.   

Place the butter square at the bottom edge of the rectangle, and fold the flour dough over to completely encase the butter, sealing the edges by pinching them together and forming tight hospital corners at the edges (see video for visual of this step). Wrap well in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes. You want to be able to press about a quarter inch indentation into the dough.   
If it’s too hard or too soft it won’t work.  

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured piece of plastic wrap (I use a fresh one each time I roll out the dough), gently pound the dough all over in regular intervals with a rolling pin. Working in only one direction (lengthwise), gently roll the dough under a piece of waxed paper into a 20-by-9-inch rectangle, squaring corners with a bench scraper and your hands as you go. Be sure the dough is rolled on top of plastic wrap, and under waxed paper or plastic wrap throughout this process.  You will also want to lightly dust the dough with flour to keep it from sticking to the wax paper.  (See Suggestions for working with plastic wrap below).  Using a dry pastry brush, sweep off excess flour. With a short side facing you, using the plastic wrap to help fold the dough,  fold the rectangle in thirds like a business letter, aligning the edges carefully and keeping each edge square. Turn the dough a quarter-turn clockwise, so the flap opening faces right, like a book. You will need to turn the dough on the plastic wrap or this step.  Be sure to lightly flour the bottom of the dough before placing it back onto the plastic wrap.  

This completes the first turn. Pound across the dough, again in regular intervals, and roll out again to a 20-by-9-inch rectangle, rolling in the same lengthwise direction. Fold dough again into thirds. This completes the second turn. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour.

This image is of my dough, immediately following folding it into thirds.  It is hard to see in this image, but it is folded into thirds. There is no visual butter.  If you can see blotches of butter, the dough is not likely to turn out.  Keeping the dough and butter chilled is key to preventing the butter from peeking through the dough.  At this point, I need to remove the dough from the plastic wrap, lightly dust the bottom of the dough, and turn it 1/4 turn to roll it the next direction.  

Repeat the rolling, turning, and chilling process for a total of six turns; always start each turn with the opening of the dough to the right, and always make your trifold in the same manner, that is, by starting from either the top of the dough or the bottom each time. By the sixth and final turn, the dough should be very smooth, with no lumps of butter visible. Use as little flour as possible for the rolling, and brush off any excess before folding the dough. If the dough becomes too elastic or too warm to work with, return it to the refrigerator until firm.

Wrap the finished dough in plastic and refrigerate until ready to use, at least 2 hours after your final turn, or freeze for future use.

Suggestions for working with plastic wrap
Using a damp cloth, wipe the counter top so it is damp.  You can then stretch the plastic wrap onto this surface and press it down.  The plastic wrap will adhere to the counter top, so that it does not shift around while you roll dough on it.  When you fold and turn the dough, be sure to wipe the counter underneath the plastic wrap again if needed to help it adhere to the counter top.