I made this puff pastry video to go along with the post about pastry doughs from a few days ago, but I think it also deserves a post of its own.
Puff pastry is one of those mythical doughs that most people think that they can't make. And all of them are wrong. Honest, it's not hard. The trickiest thing about it is probably making sure that your dough (before you start rolling the butter into it) isn't too wet or too dry.
Once you've got that down, you're set. You have your dough; you have your butter. You fold the dough around the butter and then you roll-fold-turn-chill-roll-fold-turn-chill, etc until you have a dough that consists of many many thin leaves of gluten-rich lean dough separated by many many thin layers of lovely buttery butter.
Work in a cool kitchen. This is not the dough to make on a whim in July when the AC has gone out. In that case, just bake some bread. Or drink a margarita. Make puff when it's cool both inside and out. This will help keep your butter from melting.
As an extra bonus, if you want to, you can pretend you're a blacksmith making Damascus steel. You don't have to, but it's pretty much the same principle. Although, try as I might, I can't get my puff to hold a sharp edge.
Enjoy, and stay tuned for Part II which will show you how to cut and shape croissants, as well as a few other fun items. Update: Find Part II here.
Have a lovely day!