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Making puff pastry from scratch?

What do you all think? Is it worth the time and effort? I've never done it and the only reason why I am interested is the pepperridge farm frozen brand that I buy is way too salty. I used them to make danishes and didn't feel as though it went with the cheese filling - almost like it needed to be sweeter. Also was concerned about the sodium...

Any thoughts?

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  1. It takes time but the effort is spread out over the whole time so it's not that much work. Have you tried Trader Joe's artisan puff pastry? The only ingredients are flour, butter, water and salt. I like it and it's quick. I don't like the Pepperidge Farm one either and if TJ's weren't available, I'd make it. I'm not sure about the sodium level in the TJ's version. My one complaint about TJ's is that i's on the sweet side if you're making something savory but for danish, it won't matter.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chowser

      I should add that Dufour probably makes the best frozen puff pastry but I have to go out of my way to get it and it costs a lot more than TJ's.

    2. If you like to bake, and you're good at baking, then go for it. If you like to visit the cake store for birthdays and cookies... buy the TJ's or deal with the Pepperridge Farm. ;-)

      1. Its a nice thing to be able to do, but takes a bit of practice.

        1. The Trader Joe's puff pastry, which I enthusiastically recommend, is 270mg sodium for a 55gm piece of pastry, which is roughly the amount of pastry in a Pepperidge Farm frozen turnover. I don't know how much sodium is in either the PF turnover or their frozen sheets of puff pastry. I dislike the butterless PF PP on several counts, including its lack of butter and the fact that no matter how carefully I follow the defrosting instructions, the sheets crack when unfolded. The TJ's box contains 2 individually-wrapped squares (each is what they consider 4 portions) which are much easier to work with.

          1. Like many challanging receipes, it is just series of do-able steps. The most important thing is to be carefull in rotating the dough before each rolliing. Mark the dough or the sheet pan you put it on each, so that you will get an even rise.

            1. Nothing is worth the time and effort if you don't enjoy it.
              I would rather cook than eat; literally. So making puff pastry is a joy.
              If you truly enjoy working with ingredients and the science of food preparation, I'd suggest making your own puff pastry.
              If you're just looking for something to get the job done, any quality puff pastry you'd care to purchase (personally, I wouldn't include Pepperidge Farms frozen pastry on that list) will work.

              1 Reply
              1. re: todao

                I have spent, literally, YEARS learning how to make puff pastry. Martha had a chef on named Francoise that said the butter should be the same consistency as the dough. It still takes a long time in terms of inactive hours, but a short time in terms of active time. It rolls like a dream.

                I am sure you could find it on her website --- can I give you my email if you can't since I have transferred it to my files?

                I also adapted it to my recipe for croissants which I rarely make, but it's so good and so easy.

                Someone let me know if it's ok to do this. The puff pastry is just fabulous --- done by weight so it's very accurate

              2. I've done it when I have the time. Sometimes it's better, sometimes not as good as PF frozen. Never tried Trader Joe's. To be honest, there is almost always a package of PF in the freezer in case I need it. I'd say they win out 9 times outta 10, just because of the time/effort (the stuffing inside is usually sweet enough to mask any salt in the pastry. Or..if I"m making a meat or chicken pie, I tend to use little salt anyway.

                1. The PF packages that I purchase are always made with margarine, is there an all butter version from PF? I despise that they use margarine, I will have to try the TJ brand.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: lnyc

                    Whole Foods Market carries the Dufour brand of puff pastry, which is made with all butter. AFAIK, there's no PF product made with all butter.

                  2. I would think for danishes you do not need the full-on puff pastry, but rather the demi-feuillette (spelling?) I have had great success with Julia Child's very detailed instruction in the second volume of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. If you are inspired I would also encourage you to use a good quality butter as you will really taste it.

                    1. I tried this quick method and was very impressed with the final product: http://www.cooksillustrated.com/image...
                      It doesn't take that long to make, puffs up nicely and fairly evenly, and has a good crispy texture.

                      1. I've done it on occasion (Julia Child's recipe is pretty foolproof) but generally don't consider it worth the time and mess.

                        1. I've done it and actually kind of like making it -- but as I don't use puff pastry that often, it's not something I do much. It's not a fast thing to make, but it's not hard, IMO. :)