San Francisco Baking Institute, Week 1, Day 3

Today’s class was very informative….and delicious.  We focused on pie dough, pate a choux dough for cream puffs & gougeres, coffee cake and brownies.  

I now know all the things that I have done wrong in the past that have contributed to my failed attempts at making flaky crust. Here are the lessons that we learned:

  • Lesson 1: Make sure you cut your butter (very cold butter) into the flour until it is in marble or walnut sized pieces.
  • Lesson 2: Add just enough water that the dough comes together (it’s okay to still see flour in the mixture).  Mix the water in GENTLY and DO NOT over-mix.  Over-mixing will cause shrinkage and toughening.
  • Lesson 3: Use the smear method. After the dough has come together, take small portions of the dough and flatten and smear these portions (example picture above).  We used a bowl scraper.  You basically are creating little sheets of dough.  These will become the crispy layers.
  • Lesson 4: Dough needs a rest.  After mixing, gather the dough in a ball and flatten slightly.  Then place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before rolling out.
  • Lesson 5: After rolling out the dough, place the dough in the refrigerator again to rest before baking.   If the dough begins getting soft as you are rolling, return the dough to the fridge for a few minutes.

I hope these tips help!  

Below is our coffee cake and our pate a choux dough.

Happy Baking everyone!

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