Baking basics…HR Puffin Stuff

Professional Chefs Food Network
Professional Chefs Food Network
Baking basics...HR Puffin Stuff

How to make puff pastry like a professional chef.

Todays blog will be a return to the basics. I’ve included a few video shorts and recipes on bread finishing and puff pastry preparation and production. If you work like our friend the “Swiss Chef”, you may want to consider a different line of work…lol. So, what exactly is a pastry chef? Unlike a Chef de Cuisine or executive chef, a pastry chef is a department chef, meaning he or she manages the pastry kitchen in a hotel, restaurant or retail operation. Some of the skills required are as follows;

  • Creating, testing and evaluating new pastry and dessert recipes
  • Keeping a budget for the pastry department
  • Buying fresh fruits and berries and ordering supplies from various vendors
  • Supervising chefs in training in the pastry kitchen
  • Discuss menu planning with the other chefs in the restaurant
  • Keeping the kitchen organized

In my opinion, as a pastry cook, I would say the last item is the most important. In addition you have to have a mind for math and science, as professional baking relies on formulas, measurement, time and temperature control, etc. Here is an introduction to puff pastry, the history, preparation and methodology,

Puff pastry seems to be related to the Greek phyllo, and is used in a similar manner to create layered pastries. Puff pastry appears to have evolved from thin sheets of dough spread with olive oil to laminated dough with layers of butter.

While traditionally ascribed to the French painter and cook Claude Lorrain who lived in the 17th century (the story goes that Lorrain was making a type of very buttery bread for his sick father, and the process of rolling the butter into the bread dough created a croissant-like finished product), the story is spurious. In fact, the origin of modern puff pastry appears to be Spanish, perhaps through Arab or Moorish influences: the first known recipe of modern puff pastry (using butter or lard) appears in the Spanish recipe book Libro del arte de cozina (Book on the art of cooking) written by Domingo Hernández de Maceras and published in 1607. Maceras, the head cook in one of the colleges of the University of Salamanca, already distinguished between filled puff pastry recipes and puff pastry tarts, and even mentions leavened preparations. Thus, puff pastry appears to have had widespread use in Spain by the beginning of the 17th century. The first French recipe of puff pastry was published in François Pierre La Varenne‘s “Pastissier françois” in 1653. If you want more information on the science, click here.

The image on the bottom right are called palmiers, a French sweet or savory cookie of sorts. The images before are in order from left to right and are as follows. Seed dough or detempe, encasing the butter, first through third double turn, and the finished dough, ready for use. I’ve made puff pastry by hand over a hundred times, and 100’s of kg’s using a laminating table. Not unlike a musician, you don’t learn guitar on an electric, you start with acoustic. Everything should be understood first by making something new by hand….technology comes later. This is one of the 12 essential skills of mastery in pastry. This category, we call laminated doughs, and included phyllo pastry, brioche, croissant and more. One category, many different techniques and skills to learn. Your welcome to join me in my free first year culinary and baking program online….if you are inclined, email me for details.





I hope you have enjoyed todays blog. I’ll be sharing more like this over the next few weeks, so stay tuned in! Year 2 of the “Advanced Culinary & Pastry Arts” is going live June 1’st, 2021. If you have been enjoying the first year program, you’re going to love second year. This is were we are really getting into the guts of the fine arts. This will be a fee based program following ministry guidelines for pastry cook, and cook certification. Up your game, and join us! Cheers, and happy baking!