The Chemistry Behind the Puff Pastry

The Chemistry Behind the Puff Pastry

Hello everyone, everything good?
Here the writer is Marcella Coser, collaborator of the site! In the last few days I was reflecting and I came to the conclusion that most processes depend on a good emulsion and it is not by chance that today’s subject has everything to do with it. Shall we have a very crunchy chat?
The topic revolves around a mass considered complex and, really, it requires some important care, but with a little patience, it is certain that the result will be good. Our topic today is puff pastry. It requires low temperatures during preparation, in the oven, things have to be very hot and with LOTS of butter.

The Chemistry Behind the Puff Pastry

Complete recipe

To start, the first point is the preparation of the emulsion. To do this, you must make a “hole” in the middle of the flour and salt where you will mix the ice water and butter.
NOTE: Here is a very quick explanation about sodium chloride: it acts on the quality of the formation of the gluten network, reinforcing the viscoelastic properties of the dough, and controlling the water activity. It was very short, see?
Maintaining low temperatures or at least a cooler environment is critical for butter not to liquefy. This will facilitate its handling and ensure that it will stay inside the dough and not dripping on it. Another important point is that this dough is not the type that needs to be kneaded, in fact, the intention is precisely not to develop too much gluten in this initial stage – it will form more when the folds are made.

The Chemistry Behind the Puff Pastry

Complete recipe

This is precisely why the dough goes to the refrigerator, so it rests, incorporates the ingredients (the butter cools), grows slowly and relaxes the gluten formed. The biggest secret is that all this butter, and not a little, reduces the gluten chains and encapsulates the flour particles to make them waterproof. As the gluten is found inside, there will be no risk of hydration during the incorporation of the liquids, so the dough will be crispy, especially after the oven – the stage in which the liquids are evaporated, giving the dough even more crispness.
The growth of puff pastry takes place in the oven and is called “mechanical growth”. There, the steam and air incorporated into the dough through butter and handling expand under the action of high temperatures, which causes the dough to grow and keep the layers well delineated and crunchy.
As the contact surface increases, more liquids are lost and the mass becomes even more dry.

The Chemistry Behind the Puff Pastry

Complete recipe

I hope you enjoyed the explanations and see you next time!
Hello,
Cella (Marcella Coser)

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