Puff pastry is made from layers and layers of butter and dough. It’s a laminated dough but unlike her brother croissant, it's not leavened with yeast. It puffs In the oven when the liquid creates steam in the dough and water evaporates, puffing the individual layers, turning it golden brown and crispy.
Getting to this end result takes a while. First, you make a “detrempe” a lean dough of just flour, water and salt. Then you wrap the dough around a block of cold butter. Give it a letter fold, roll it out, fold it up, and repeat. At the end of this whole process, you will have created all layers that make puff pastry "puff". I recommend two letter folds and two book folds.
You can prepare many recipes using Puff Pastry etc Palmiers, Crab Puffs, Cheese Straws, Breakfast Pastries, Apple Turnover, Pies and many more....
How To Make Puff Pastry
Makes 1 large sheet of puff pastry
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus for dusting
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup ice water
1 stick unsalted butter, 8 oz cold
Make the lean dough also known as détrempe in French.
Mix the flour with the salt in a stand mixer. Add salt and water. Knead until the dough comes together. Chill the dough. Shape it into a rectangle and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Prepare the butter block also known as beurrage in French.
Spread the butter on a plastic wrap and sprinkle with a teaspoon of flour. Using well floured hands press the dough into a 6 by 8 rectangle. Chill the butter.
Roll out the lean dough: Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out to a roughly 7 by 10 inch rectangle.Wrap the butter in the dough: Place the butter on top of the dough. Fold the corners of the dough over the butter so they meet in the middle. Pinch to seal.
First turn: Flour the work surface lightly and flip the butter package over so the seams are down. Roll it out to a rectangle roughly 12 inches long by 8 inches wide. Fold the top third over the bottom third, and the bottom over the top third, like a letterBook Fold.
Second turn: Rotate the folded dough so it looks like a book about to be opened. Roll it out again into a rectangle 12 inches by 10 inches. Fold it again. Chill for another hour.
Mark 2 divots in the edge of the dough to remind yourself that you've made two turns. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill completely. Do two more turns. Repeat rolling out and folding the dough two more times. The dough should feel much more smooth and pliable at this point. If you notice any butter popping up through the dough just pinch it together. Perform two final turns. Repeat rolling and folding the dough two more times for a total of four turns. Chill overnight.
Begin the oven preheating to 400°F. Roll out the puff pastry dough to ⅛ inches thick. Fill with your favorite filling. Bake for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 385°F and continue baking until crispy and golden-brown.
If you plan to freeze the dough, it's best to do so after 3 turns, thaw overnight in the fridge and then complete the final 1 turns before rolling out the dough and baking. If necessary, you can freeze the dough after all 4 turns, but the result might not be be as puffy and crisp.