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View Full Version : The Puff-Pastry Dough That Didn't Puff: a culinary mystery


Malleus, Incus, Stapes!
09-27-2009, 09:45 AM
On Friday, I tried making a deli roll. When I finished rolling the roll, I was suprised by how small and thin it looked.
"Don't worry", my mother said, "It will rise in the oven. That's why the dough is called 'puff-pastry'."
It didn't rise. It was very good, if I may say so myself, but it was still dense and small when it was done baking.
Now, it puffed up when my mother made the deli roll last week, so it must be something I did. But what?

I can think of a few things that might have gone wrong:

a) I rolled the roll jelly roll-style, like this (http://z.about.com/d/kosherfood/1/0/N/5/-/-/deliroll1.jpg), instead of as a bundle, the way my mom did, and the dough didn't have room to rise
b)I squished the puff out of the dough while spreading the thin layer of mustard with a spoon
c) Cooking hates me, just like plants do

Any thoughts?

araminty
09-27-2009, 11:59 AM
What temperature did you bake it at? You can't be delicate when it comes to puff pastry - it must hit the magic number, 400 degrees, for optimum puff.

Claire Beauchamp
09-27-2009, 01:31 PM
Puff pastry doesn't "rise" like yeast breads. It's layers and layers and layers of dough and butter. During baking the butter produces steam, which separates and puffs the layers.

As araminty said, oven temp is important. Also, puff pastry MUST be kept chilled so that the butter doesn't soften too much before baking. It really shouldn't be out of the fridge more than 10 minutes or so at a time. If you can't do what you need to do with it within that time, then chill between stages of preparation, a good 15 to 20 minutes between. Also, yes, overhandling can be a problem ... any pastry needs to be dealt with fairly gently, otherwise you get too much gluten development. If overhandling might be a problem, then again, allow it to rest between stages. I.e., roll it out then rest/chill, prepare, then rest/chill, bake.

Malleus, Incus, Stapes!
09-27-2009, 02:56 PM
Right, I should have put in some background.

Dough came straight from freezer, preshaped into a roll. I did have some trouble opening the dough layers.

It must be a different type of puff dough than Claire Beauchamp's type, because it sure wasn't dairy. (Probably the kosher type is made with a different type of fat).

The directions said (IIRC) 45 minutes at 350 degrees, and that's what I did exactly.

Claire Beauchamp
09-27-2009, 04:55 PM
Whether or not true cow dairy butter was used, the concept is the same.

Your OP says you rolled it, the second that it was already "in a roll" and frozen. So I'm having a hard time picturing what this product is or what you did with it. I've never seen a "deli roll" with puff pastry and can't picture what you describe as being "a bundle" so ... I got nothin'.

Dolores Reborn
09-27-2009, 05:01 PM
Did the package tell you to thaw it first? The puff pastry sheets I have used say "thaw for 40 minutes on the counter."

Pigs in Space
09-27-2009, 07:45 PM
Is there a website for this product so we can see what it is, and what a "bundle" is? I've used puff pastry, and I'm not picturing it either. I'm betting it wasn't lard based, so maybe it was shortening based?

It could be the temperature of the oven. Ovens can be off by 50 degrees F or more, and that would make a huge difference. The oven would need to be preheated thoroughly, too.

Malleus, Incus, Stapes!
09-28-2009, 08:01 PM
Whether or not true cow dairy butter was used, the concept is the same.

Your OP says you rolled it, the second that it was already "in a roll" and frozen. So I'm having a hard time picturing what this product is or what you did with it. I've never seen a "deli roll" with puff pastry and can't picture what you describe as being "a bundle" so ... I got nothin'.

It was this sort of frozen slab of dough, folded in layers. You're supposed to unfold and spread the dough until it's a large square or rectangle, then do whatever you want with it.

I don't know what brand it is; I'll have to go and check.

I don't think the problem is with the oven, because when my mom made it last week it puffed perfectly.

Ferret Herder
09-28-2009, 08:04 PM
My guess is that it's the stuff from Pepperidge Farm (http://www.puffpastry.com/).

Malleus, Incus, Stapes!
09-28-2009, 10:02 PM
Yeah, that's what it looked like.

Dolores Reborn
09-29-2009, 09:02 AM
Right, you have to let it thaw, then unfold it.

Mahna Mahna
09-29-2009, 12:27 PM
My WAG is that you rolled the roll too tight, which didn't leave enough room for puffage. Try rolling it up a little looser next time, or just skip the rolling and do a bundle like your mother did.

Oooor... if you're feeling really fancy, you can also do a braid (http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kd3PMaMt4j4). (Warning - video link w/ cheesy Muzak usually reserved for corporate training videos and torture of suspected Al Qaeda operatives)