Making puff takes time and physical effort, but following Lorraine Pascale’s method will ensure light, crispy pastry.
Rub the flour, salt and the 40g/1½oz chilled butter together into a large bowl with your fingertips until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre of the mixture, pour in the water and mix this with the dry mixture in the bowl. Once the mixture is well combined, use your hands to form it into a ball, then wrap it in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 25 minutes.
Once cooled, unwrap the dough and score a large cross in the middle using a sharp knife. Lift all four corners from the middle of the cross, and then pull them up and out.
Place softened 210g/7½fl oz butter in the centre of the dough, then fold the corners of the cross back to the centre, covering the butter, so it is completely enclosed. (The corners should overlap in the centre so no butter is showing.)
To start the rolling and folding process, begin by rolling the pastry out away from you on a well-floured surface to a rectangle roughly 3 times as long as it is wide. Keep the corners square and edges straight by pressing a palette knife or ruler against them. Lift the dough occasionally to make sure it isn’t sticking; flour the work surface again if necessary and sprinkle with more flour as you go, dusting away any excess with a pastry brush. Take the short edge of the pastry nearest to you and fold it up a third, then fold the top edge down a third to give a rectangular block. Turn the dough 90 degrees.
Repeat the same process as above, making sure that the pastry doesn’t stick to the surface when rolling. You have now given the dough two rolls and folds. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Remove the dough from the fridge, unwrap and give it two more rolls and folds. Wrap and rest in the fridge for at least another 20 minutes. The block of puff pastry can at this point be kept in the fridge for a day or two, or frozen.
Remove from the fridge, unwrap and give the dough a final two rolls and folds, then roll it out to the size desired for your chosen recipe. Place on a baking tray, cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes before using.
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