To ensure success, you need to make sure that both the dough and butter are cold before you put them together – it’s even worth chilling the flour. Precision with the initial rolling out of the dough and butter is important, to ensure there are no bits of dough without butter in them. And chilling the pastry between each subsequent roll and fold allows the butter to harden so you can build up clean, even layers of dough and butter.
Makes 600g Prep 2 hours, plus overnight chilling twice
150g chilled strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
150g chilled plain flour
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
100ml cold water
250g chilled unsalted butter, preferably a good-quality Normandy butter
1. Put the flours, salt, eggs and water into a large bowl and gently mix to an even dough with your fingers. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it for 5-10 minutes until smooth. The dough should feel a little tight at this stage. Shape the dough into a ball and put it into a plastic bag in the fridge to chill overnight, or for at least 7 hours.
2. Flatten the butter into a rectangle, about 40 x 19cm, by battering it down with your rolling pin. (You may find this easier to do this if you sandwich the butter between 2 sheets of cling film). Return to the fridge for an hour to harden the butter again.
3. Roll out your dough to a rectangle, about 60 x 20cm wide. Put the butter on the dough so it covers the bottom two-thirds. Make sure that it is positioned neatly and covers almost to the edges.
4. Lift the exposed dough at the top and fold it down over half of the butter, then fold the butter-covered bottom half of the dough up over the top. You will now have a sandwich of two layers of butter and three of dough . Pinch the edges together to seal. Put it back in a plastic bag and chill for 1 hour.
5. Take the dough out of the bag and put it on a lightly floured surface with a short end towards you. Roll out to a rectangle as before, keeping the edges as even as possible. Fold the top quarter down and the bottom quarter up so they meet neatly in the centre. Then fold the dough in half along the centre line. This is called a book turn. Chill in the bag for 1 hour.
6. Take the dough out of the bag, put it on a lightly floured surface with the short end towards you and roll into a rectangle as before. This time, fold down one-third of the dough and then fold up the bottom third to make a neat square. This is called a single turn. Chill in the bag for another hour.
7. Bring your dough out again and do a single turn as previously. Chill in the bag overnight. Your dough is now ready to use.
Taken from Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake, published by Bloomsbury
Photograph © Peter Cassidy