Puff Pastry Dough Recipe

Step by step instructions to
make your own delicious flaky puff pastry

This classic puff pastry dough recipe is NOT hard. The pastry is flaky with many layers and it seems to melt in your mouth.

Look how beautiful those layers look in this fresh apricot tart. The recipe for this is the same as apple tart.

Puff pastry is time-consuming rather than difficult.

The dough has to be rolled out every couple of hours. But the actual rolling time is not much at all. It really is just the waiting in between rolling.

I have a baking day every couple of weeks and I make several loaves of bread (which I slice and freeze). Between waiting for batches of bread to rise, I make this puff pastry dough recipe. If I don't need to use it, I freeze it so that I have it ready.

Home-made puff pastry is leagues ahead of bought puff pastry, in my opinion. Commercial puff pastry dough is not usually made with butter and can be quite heavy in comparison.

I use this classic puff pastry dough recipe at afternoon
tea time to make vanilla slices, apple tarts.

You can substitute rough puff pastry if you prefer. It rises almost as much, tastes wonderful and is far quicker to make. But I actually really like the process of making classic puff pastry dough. I find it really satisfying.

Also, there's no doubt that it does rise considerably more than rough puff pastry, making it lighter and more flaky.

Puff Pastry Dough Recipe

Time: 5 1/2 hours including resting time
Level: Intermediate
Makes 2 1/4 kg of dough

500g (3 cups) plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
200ml ice cold water
50g (1/4 cup) melted butter
400g (1 3/4 cups) very cold butter

Vanilla slice

Make the detrempe dough.

  • Weigh out the flour and put in a large bowl.

  • Add the other ingredients except the butter.
  • Use your hands to gently bring the ingredients together into a dough. Knead it 5 or 6 times to make it come together properly. Wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for 2 hours. At this stage, the dough is known as a detrempe (moistened dough) as it has very little fat in it.
Detrempe dough
  • Weigh the butter out at this time and leave in the fridge.

Add butter to the dough.

  • Lightly flour a smooth surface and roll out the detrempe gently to about 2.5cm (1 inch) thick.
Rolling detrempe dough
  • Roll out four flaps from this ball. The centre of the shape will be thicker than the flaps.
Rolling detrempe dough for butter
  • Bash the butter several times with a rolling pin to make it roughly the same size as the centre of the pastry.
Adding butter to detrempe dough
  • Fold the four flaps over to completely encase the butter. Make sure that the butter is completely enclosed.
Wrapping butter in detrempe dough

Roll the pastry for several turns.

  • Roll the pastry away from you to make a rectangular shape about 60x20cm. 60cm is about the depth of your work top. Only roll the pastry in one direction.
Rolling puff pastry
  • Fold one third of the pastry to the middle and then fold in the other end to make three layers. This is called the first turn.
Folding puff pastry
  • Turn the pastry round a quarter and roll into a rectangle again. Repeat the folding procedure and this is the second turn. Wrap in cling film and return to the fridge.
Rolling folded puff pastry
  • Repeat 8) and 9), which will be the third and fourth turns. Mark the pastry with your finger tip or the end of the rolling pin to leave four dents so that you remember where you are (fourth turn). Wrap and return to the fridge.
Marking puff pastry dough
  • Repeat 8) and 9), which will be the fifth and sixth turns.* The pastry is now ready to use.

You can freeze the pastry or it will keep in the fridge for about three days.

*I tend to use this puff pastry dough recipe for making apple tarts or vanilla slices, or the occasional pie topping. You really only need one third of a quantity for any of these things if you're baking for four-six people.

In this case, I take the pastry to the fifth turn and roll it out. Instead of folding it, I then cut it into thirds.

Now roll each piece out to about 20cm x 30cm and fold this into thirds. The pastry is now ready for either freezing or using.

Don't roll the puff pastry trimmings into a ball.

You will lose all your carefully rolled out layers. Unless you're making tarts which don't need all the layers.

Collect all the pieces and pile them on top of each other to maintain the layers. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes and then roll out, fold over as before and then use.

One third of this recipe makes many different things.

One third of this recipe will make 6 apple tarts with enough pastry left over to make a batch of 12 jam tarts.

Or one third of this recipe will make about 24 vanilla slices. Or you could make 4 apple tarts and probably 8 vanilla slices. Or two apple tarts, 12 vanilla slices and some jam tarts.....

If you were Pleased with the Puff Pastry Dough Recipe, you might be positively Chuffed with Choux Pastry!