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Saturday, 27 September 2014

Homemade Gluten-Free Puff Pastry - made easy!

This recipe is easy AND requires little clean-up!  I'm quite pleased with the outcome of this puff pastry.  Will I still try to locate higher quality butter so it doesn't turn scaly in appearance during rolling? Yes. Will it likely make a difference in the end product? Yes. Does this recipe still work wonderfully despite this? Yes!  I've added a pinch of baking powder into the dough, and also used instant yeast.  Both seem to help facilitate the ease in which the dough reacts to the rise during baking.   According to the wonderful book "Baking by Hand" by the owners of the Salem, MA based bakery A&J King Artisan Bakers (SO not gluten-free, but absolutely wonderful - so if you can eat gluten, go there and eat some for me, please!) - they actually use a bit of quick yeast AND baking powder in their puff pastry dough, to give it a bit of extra rise.  I figure if they can do it, I can do it.  It definitely adds a bit of extra rise to the dough, while still maintaining the flakiness from all the folded layers.  Win-win! Good luck and enjoy!
A puff pastry danish topped with vanilla peach jam (from my friend Julie - Thanks Julie!). Yum!
A picture of the flakiness of the homemade puff pastry

Homemade Gluten-Free Puff Pastry!
Makes enough for ~12-20 pastries (size dependent)

In a large bowl, combine by hand:
1 cup sweet white rice flour
1/2 cup arrowroot starch
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
2 1/4 tsp instant/quick yeast
6 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

Mix in using a large spoon, just until thoroughly combined:
3/4 cup warm milk
1 egg, RT
1 egg yolk, RT
4 Tbsp coconut oil 

Roll out between two pieces of plastic wrap to ~10"x18"
On 2/3 of the dough, put thin slices of
~2/3 cup high quality butter, chilled & thinly sliced.

Fold the bare side of dough in on top of the middle of the dough.  Then fold in the other side on top of that.  You have what I will call "Letter 1".  Wrap your dough packet/letter in the 2 sheets of plastic wrap.  Put in the freezer for 15 minutes.

This begins your folding/chilling/rolling portion of your recipe.  You will fold and chill 4 times.  I like to think of this like follows:  You will make FOUR letters out of your dough.  A letter is when you fold the dough up in thirds, like you would fold a piece of paper or a letter into thirds to put it in the envelope.   I used the same two pieces of plastic wrap the entire time.

After 15 minutes, remove Letter 1 from the freezer.  Unwrap, and place on plastic wrap, as shown below. Roll out between two pieces of plastic wrap to create a rectangle of the same size as your initial rectangle. Be gentle and slow as you roll out the dough, giving the dough and butter time to stretch.  Fold in one side, then the other so you create "Letter 2".  Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze 15 minutes.
1. Letter ready to roll, 2. Rolled slowly to ~10"x18" size, 3. Folded over 1/3 to create a "Letter"

After 15 minutes, remove Letter 2 from the freezer.  Roll out between two pieces of plastic wrap.  Slowly and gently.  Fold in thirds to create "Letter 3".  Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, remove Letter 3 from the freezer.  Roll out between two pieces of plastic wrap. Slowly and gently. Fold in thirds to create "Letter 4".  Wrap in plastic wrap.

You now have TWO options:
1. Freeze Letter 4 20-25 minutes, then proceed to preparing your puff pastry danishes, or whatever else you were hoping to make.
2. Place Letter 4 in the refrigerator to use sometime in the next couple days.

To create danishes OR tarts from Letter 4, do the following:
Roll Letter 4 between plastic wrap - try to get a slightly larger and wider rectangle than previously.   Work slowly, giving the dough time to stretch along with the butter.  Fold the dough over on itself long-wise down the middle, giving a very long skinny rectangle.  Flatten a bit so the rectangle is even.  Using a pizza cutter, slice off pieces that are slightly smaller than the final danish you want to create.

Roll the small piece between two pieces of plastic wrap.  Using the plastic wrap, fold up the sides to create an edge to your pastry.  Place dough carefully on parchment paper (It should transfer to your hand and then to the parchment paper easily.  (Or you can flip it onto the parchment paper, and fold up the sides using the parchment paper. This is helpful if you're making a larger tart).  Fill with jam or your choice of filling.  You can use sweet or savory, but top lightly so the filling is not too heavy for the pastry dough.
If desired, you can sprinkle the edges with a bit of sugar before baking.
Danish ~6"x6" topped with vanilla peach jam and ready to bake.

Bake at 400F ~12-15 minutes.  Cook until a nice golden brown.  Remove from oven and place tray on cooling rack.  When danish/tarts are cooled enough, carefully transfer parchment paper to a cooling rack to avoid having too much moisture on the bottom of your tart.  Enjoy!
Fresh from the oven! 

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