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From: Bryanna (NewVeggies.vegsource.com)
Subject:         Re: Puff Pastry Help
Date: November 27, 2008 at 6:46 am PST

In Reply to: Puff Pastry Help posted by VeganFish on November 27, 2008 at 5:40 am:

Okay, I am not an expert at puff pastry, but, in my
experience the puff pastry will become soggy on the
bottom and not crisp up if a.) allowed to rest too
long, or b.) there is too much moisture on the
bottom. I've read that you can put a layer of
bread between the puff pastry and the savory
filling. Perhaps try some fairly dry bread
stuffing under the roast? And wrap with cold
pastry just before baking.

Also, make sure everything in the filling is cold!! wrapping over warm food will make the pastry sticky
and soggy.

Some chefs advise not using a bottom layer with
meat, just tucking the top layer under the roast
around the edges. Do not stretch the dough, or it
may pull back when baked.

Below is some expert advice. I will write again if
I find out more.

Here is some novel advice from an article by Leah
A. Zildes, Food Editor of "In The Loop", referring
to a puff pastry wrap as a "coffin". It might be
worth a try!

"A layer of phyllo dough wraps the filling before
it goes into the pastry coffin. `It keeps the puff
pastry from getting soggy,' Neuman says. `I refer
to the phyllo as a shroud.' "

Here is some advice from Wikipedia:

Puff pastry is cooked when the bottom of the item
is browned and the pastry does not collapse into
itself.

* Use a very sharp knife to cut puff pastry. A
blunt knife will crush the layers together and
prevent the pastry from rising to full height.
* Do not get egg wash or milk wash on the SIDES
of the pastry. This will glue the layers together
during baking and result in uneven lift.
* Excess flour left on the item will burn
easily in the oven. Dust it off with a soft pastry
brush.
* Always bake puff pastry in a very hot oven
(220°C/425°F). A hot oven ensures the moisture in
the dough turns into steam, which is what makes
puff pastry rise. (NOTE: you may have to turn in
down after the initial rise, if it's browning too
much. BCG)
* Open the oven flue during baking to allow
steam to escape and the pastry to dry, or failing
that, open the oven door near the end of the
baking. (NOTE: Convection works well for puff
pastry. BCG)
* When using puff pastry as a base, small holes
can be cut into the pastry allowing airflow to
reach the under side (sometimes referred to as
puffin' holes).

Here is some advice from baking911:

Before rolling puff pastry, quick-chill your
rolling surface with self-sealing bags full of ice.
During rolling, never force the dough. If you have
to, stop rolling, wrap dough in plastic and place
in refrigerator for about 20 minutes. Repeat the
process until the dough "relaxes".

BAKING: A convection oven works best enabling them
to rise to their fullest.

Avoid non-stick and black-bottomed sheets before
baking Puff pastry. During baking, the Puff pastry
cannot hold its shape while rising when baked on a
nonstick pan (this happens especially when baked in
a nonconventional gas oven such as a convection
oven.) It does not provide the necessary traction.
A black-bottomed baking sheet conducts the heat too
fast, burning the bottoms of the pastries.

Glaze with a little milk (soy-- BCG)
before baking so it gets a golden brown color.
Unbaked pastries may be baked from the
frozen or thawed state. To defrost, it can be
removed from the freezer and placed in a
refrigerator to thaw, where it will keep in a
useable state for up to 2 days. When it is brought
back to room temperature, it should be used as soon
as possible.
Puff pastry dough should always be baked
in a preheated oven and can be baked in both a
conventional or convection oven. (Reduce baking
temperature by 50°F for a convection oven.) The
pastry is initially put in a really hot oven to
give it an initial puff and then after time, the
temperature is reduced. Most smaller items (2 -
3oz) bake for 20-25 minutes in a 380° - 400°F oven;
larger items (strudels ) at a lower temperature of
360° -370°F for 45 - 55 minutes to reduce the
possibility of collapsing after cooling.
All puff pastries should be baked until
golden brown. The pastry should have distinct
layers inside and crumble easily when touched.
With high moisture fillings, the dough may remain
slightly unbaked next to the filling. This is
normal.
When baked, the Puff pastry should be dry
and crisp.

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