Secrets to 1000 Feuille
Tuesday, September 13, 2011

We had a very informative theory class today. Our Chef went through all the detailed procedures of making mille-feuille (puff pastry), you literally create more than a 1000 layers of butter and dough after the rolling is completed.

Some basics. There are 2 main types of mille-feuille dough: regular and inverse (or reverse). The butter content is about 43% for the regular and 50% for the inverse. For this reason, the inverse tastes better and is preferred more by bakers. It’s also recommended to use special pastry butter (higher content of butterfat, more elastic) because there’s so much rolling involved.

The method for the 2 types of dough also differ slightly. The regular type begins by wrapping the butter inside the dough while the inverse wraps the dough inside the butter. The pictures show the steps for making regular mille-feuille dough. We will be making both types, but more of the inverse because it tastes better and it’s more buttery!

Ingredients: 400g flour, 300g butter, 8g salt, 200g water.

Step 1: Take a small amount of butter (15% of total), soften with a rolling pin, cut into small pieces, and sabler (rub between your hands) with the flour.

Step 2: Make a well in the flour mixture, add the water and salt into the centre and incorporate the flour with your fingers.

Step 3: Knead the dough slightly to form a ball. Cut the dough as shown in the picture. Cover and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. This is called the détrempe (dough), which is now completed.

Step 4: You know the détrempe is rested enough when you press the dough with your finger and it does not spring back. Now roll each quarter of the détrempe outwards into a large cross.

Step 5: Beurrage, to combine the butter into the dough. Soften the remaining amount of butter by hitting with a rolling pin and then, shape into a square. Place the butter into the centre of the détrempe and fold each 'leaf' of dough over so you get a package. Now you have 3 layers: dough, butter (centre), dough.

Step 6: Tourrage (rolling, folding, and turning). Begin the first simple turn by rolling the dough to 3 times it's length, and folding along its length in thirds just like in the picture. You will need to do 6 turns in total. Make sure that the part of dough that opens (like a book) is always on your right or left, not on top or bottom. Now you have 7 layers: dough (D), butter (B), D, B, D, B, D.

Step 7: Continue tourage. After the second turn, you will have 19 layers. After every 2 turns, you need to rest the dough for 30 minutes. After the third turn (55 layers), fourth (163 layers), fifth (587 layers), and finally the sixth (1459 layers)!

Let me repeat that again, 1459 layers of dough and butter! Can you taste the flakiness in your head? Now you can fridge the dough for 3-4 days or freeze for weeks. We used half our dough to make a rectangular apple tart which we will finish tomorrow.

Rolling and cutting puff pastry dough for apple tart. We rolled the dough into a long rectangle, docked the dough, trimmed the sides, cut 2cm off each length, and placed on top to make a border.

And that’s all there is to it. Are you still with me? Have I lost some readers? I promise to have some (more) colourful pictures tomorrow!


Well? Let me know what you think. Write me a comment below!