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Making Dough: Recipes and Ratios for Perfect Pastries Hardcover – November 10, 2015
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From the Publisher
Yield: 1 pound | Prep time: 2 hours | Bake time: varies
6 ounces bread flour
2 ounces cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
7 ounces (14 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold
¼ cup water
Mixing the Dough
There are two ways to mix pie dough: by hand or using a food processor.
1. Mix flours and salt in a large bowl. Chop butter into 1/2-inch chunks and add to flour mixture. Pinch or cut butter into flour using your fingers or a pastry cutter, breaking it into pieces about the size of large peas. If using your hands, work quickly to keep butter from melting.
2. Pour water into flour mixture. Mix dough with your hands or about 10 to 15 turns of a wooden spoon, until it just starts to come together. The dough will be very tough and should remain in a few large chunks.
3. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and push chunks together. Knead 4 to 5 times, just until it holds together. Flatten dough into a disk about 1 inch thick. Wrap tightly in parchment paper and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Food Processor Method
1. Pulse flours and salt in the bowl of a food processor 2 or 3 times to combine. Chop butter into 1/2-inch cubes and add to flour mixture. Pulse for 1 second about 8 times, until butter is in pieces about the size of large peas. Add water and pulse 3 to 4 times, until dough begins to come together. It may remain in a few large chunks.
2. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and push chunks together. Knead 4 to 5 times, until it holds its shape. Flatten dough into a disk about 1 inch thick. Wrap tightly in parchment paper and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
This pie dough uses a 3:1 ratio of bread flour to cake flour. The large amount of bread flour results in a relatively high protein content, which helps create a flakier, crisper crust. You may also use all bread flour or all all-purpose flour.
Because pie dough contains no chemical leavener, it stores well wrapped tightly in parchment paper. You can easily double, triple, or even quadruple this dough recipe and store enough for a month’s worth of pies. If you know the shape of the dough you plan to roll later, form it into that shape, about 1 inch thick, before storing to make rolling it later easier. Refrigerator: 4 days. Freezer: 4 months.
Qualities of Good Pie Dough
THE DOUGH: Pie dough should be fairly dry and tough to manipulate. You should see dots of butter throughout the dough. When rolling, the dough should hold together well and not tear or break.
THE PASTRY: Once baked, pie crust should be very flaky. Crust that isn’t in contact with filling should crumble and flake easily. Portions touching filling will be slightly less flaky but should still be dry and crisp.
Blueberry Mascarpone Hand Pies
Hand pies may be baking’s greatest contribution to society. What’s better than a pie you can take with you?
This recipe has a 1:1 ratio of dough to filling, making it perfect for people who like pie crust as much as filling.
Yield: 6 hand pies | Prep time: 30 minutes | Bake time: 25 minutes.
2 pounds prepared Pie Dough (double the recipe on page 50).
1½ pounds fresh blueberries, divided
1¼ cups water, divided
12 ounces granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 ounces (½ cup) cornstarch
6 ounces mascarpone
2 tablespoons lemon zest (from
1–2 large or 2–3 small lemons)
2 teaspoons salt
1 egg, beaten (egg wash)
1 ounce brown sugar
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400°F. Divide prepared pie dough into 6 (1/2-inch-thick) disks, wrap tightly in parchment paper, and refrigerate. Puree half the blueberries in a food processor or blender. Transfer to a large pot and add remaining whole berries, 1 cup of the water, sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat slightly to maintain a boil and cook uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until filling begins to thicken.
2. Mix the remaining 1/4 cup water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to blueberry mixture and stir. Return to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, for another 30 seconds, until thick. Let cool slightly, and then add mascarpone, lemon zest, and salt. Stir until well combined and set aside.
3. Place dough disks on a lightly floured surface and roll each into a circle about 6 inches in diameter. Return all but one to the refrigerator.
4. Spoon about 1/4 cup filling onto one half of the dough, leaving 1/2 inch bare around the edge. Fold the other half over filling and press edges together tightly to seal (see page 54 for edging options). Cut a few 1/2-inch slits in the top with a sharp knife to let steam escape during baking. Place hand pie on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet in the refrigerator. One at a time, repeat with the remaining 5 dough disks, adding to the baking sheet in the refrigerator as they are completed.
5. Brush unbaked pies with egg wash and top with brown sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Let cool on the pan slightly before transferring to a wire cooling rack, and let cool completely before serving.
Classic Cherry Hand Pies
Bring 1 pound pitted and halved fresh cherries, 1 cup water, 10 ounces granulated sugar, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice to a boil in a large pot. Reduce heat slightly to maintain a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Mix 2 ounces (1/2 cup) cornstarch and 1/4 cup water in a small bowl. Add to filling and stir. Return to a boil, cooking for another 30 seconds, until thick. Proceed with step 3 of recipe.
Chocolate Hazelnut Hand Pies
Mix 1 pound hazelnut chocolate spread, 1/2 cup freshly brewed hot coffee, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 6 ounces chopped roasted hazelnuts, and 2 tablespoons orange zest in a bowl. Proceed with step 3 of recipe.
Yield: 1 pound | Prep time: 20 minutes | Bake time: 12 minutes
6 ounces cake flour
2 ounces bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
Mixing the Dough
There are two ways to mix biscuit dough: by hand or using a food processor.
1. Mix flours, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl.
2. Chop butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Add to flour mixture.
3. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, pinch or cut butter into flour, breaking it into pieces about the size of coarse cornmeal. If using your hands, work quickly to prevent butter from melting.
4. Add milk and stir 10 to 20 times with a wooden spoon, until dough just begins to come together.
5. Place dough on a very lightly floured surface. Knead 4 to 5 times, until it just holds its shape. Take care not to knead the dough too much or add.
Food Processor Method
1. Pulse flours, salt, and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor to combine.
2. Chop butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Add to flour mixture. Pulse for 1 to 2 seconds 8 to 12 times, until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
3. Add milk and pulse 2 to 4 times, until dough begins to come together. It will form a few large chunks and many small ones.
4. Transfer dough chunks to a very lightly floured surface and push together. Knead 3 to 5 times, until dough just holds its shape. Take care not to knead the dough too much or add too much flour, which can make the biscuits tough.
Why Cake Flour?
The American South enjoys a growing season that is relatively long and free of harshly cold weather, so less hardy varieties of wheat can be grown there. The resulting flour has a lower protein content, which is responsible for the cakey biscuits associated with that region. The similarly low protein content in cake flour will consistently produce these classic soft biscuits.
How to Handle Leftover Dough
When using a cookie or biscuit cutter to cut out round biscuits, you’ll inevitably have leftover dough. Instead of kneading the leftover pieces together before rerolling the dough, stack them in layers and then roll the stack. Every time you knead or roll dough, it will become tougher. Stacking it helps delay the toughening.
Bake immediately, or store in an airtight container. Refrigerator: 2 days. Freezer: 1 month.
Qualities of Good Biscuit Dough
The Dough: Biscuit dough should be dry but easy to manipulate. You should also see small dots of butter throughout the dough.
The Pastry: Once baked, biscuits should be tender. The outside crust should be firm and crumble easily, and the crumb inside should be soft.
Throwing in some mix-ins—such as herbs or spices, lemon zest, a small pile of cheese, or a big pile of bacon—is a snap. Biscuit dough can handle it! So long as your add-ins are dry, they won’t affect the dough ratio.
Making Classic Butter Biscuits
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 425°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll prepared dough with a rolling pin until ¾ inch thick. Cut out 2½-inch disks with a cookie or biscuit cutter, or simply pull off small handfuls of dough for a more rustic look. Stack pieces of leftover dough, roll dough again, and cut out more disks. Repeat until all the dough is used. Place biscuits on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet spaced at least 1 inch apart. Brush tops with melted butter. Bake for 12 minutes, until tops are just golden. Let biscuits cool on the pan for 1 minute before transferring to a wire rack. Serve warm.
Bourbon-Maple Glazed Cheddar Bacon Biscuits
Bacon-cheddar biscuits are always a favorite! This version, inspired by a spur-of-the-moment idea from a friend, is one of the best I’ve ever tasted. The biscuits are savory and salty. The sauce is rich, earthy, and sweet. This combination is a perfect example of pastry dough used in a savory application.
This recipe has a 2:1:1 ratio of dough to mix-ins to sauce.
Yield: 6 biscuits | Prep time: 45 minutes | Bake time: 12 minutes
1 pound Biscuit Dough, prepared as at left
6 ounces uncooked bacon
1 cup maple syrup
1½ fluid ounces (3 tablespoons) bourbon
30 sprigs fresh thyme
2 ounces extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat a griddle to 375°F or heat a large flat skillet over medium heat. Cook bacon for about 25 to 30 minutes, flipping with tongs every 5 minutes, until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate. Once cool enough to handle, chop into fine pieces.
2. Meanwhile, bring maple syrup, bourbon, and thyme to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to maintain a slow boil and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, until liquid is reduced by a third. Set aside.
3. Prepare biscuit dough according to the instructions, adding chopped bacon and grated cheddar to the dry ingredients in step 1. Pull dough apart with your hands into 6 chunks and arrange them on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet.
4. Bake for about 12 minutes, until biscuits just begin to turn light golden. Remove thyme sprigs from infused syrup and discard. Brush biscuits with glaze while they are still warm and serve.
Variation - Dinner Biscuits
For simpler, fully savory biscuits, serve these without the glaze. Brush each with melted butter and top with a little extra cheese before baking.
“Russell van Kraayenburg’s Making Dough: Recipes and Ratios for Perfect Pastries would make a fine addition to any aspiring pastry chef’s recipe collection….Much thought and testing has gone into educating the reader about what makes for a great pastry dough, including the pairing of various flours and ingredients; the ratio of those blends; the requisite tools; the right way to measure; and sundry methods of mixing and working dough.”—Central Maine Today
“Russell van Kraayenburg, founder of the award-winning blog Chasing Delicious, has harnessed the formula for perfect pastry in Making Dough: Recipes and Ratios for Perfect Pastries.”—Fort Bend Lifestyles and Homes
“Thoroughly 'kitchen cook friendly', even the most novice of bakers will find the recipes comprising Making Dough to be easy to follow, especially after reading the opening chapter 'Getting Started' which includes What is Do?; Measuring; Ratios; Ingredients; Tools; Mixing Methods; Tips for Working with Dough; and Making it Your Own.”—Midwest Book Review
"Making Dough arms you with the skills you need for a lifetime of baking and, therefore, happiness. Truly, a gift that keeps on giving." –Whisk Kid
"Making Dough does a great job of breaking down dough, with ratios and diagrams to explain why different doughs act the way they do and how to make them successfully. This book is a welcome guide to make dough just a little less frustrating." –Dessert First
"It’s a cookbook that I think should be in any kitchen from beginners to bakers like me who have been at it for a while. I wish I had had a book like this when I first started playing with flour and butter." –Brokenteepee
"Russell’s book is a true testament to the science of baking. I would deem it a baking textbook, one that every ambitious baker should have on their shelf. There is a lot to learn, and Russell makes it easy to do so." –Living The Sweet Life
About the Author
Russell van Kraayenburg, author of Haute Dogs (Quirk, 2014) and blogger at Chasing Delicious, is a self-proclaimed food nerd and pastry lover. His work has been featured in Southern Living, Men’s Fitness, Redbook, TRADhome, Real Simple, and Houstonia magazines and on various websites including Lifehacker, Fast Co., Business Insider, The Kitchn, Live Originally, Quipsologies, Explore, and Fine Cooking. Russell is always looking for new and exciting ways to inspire food nerds and food-phobic individuals alike to pick up a whisk and spoon.
Top customer reviews
Each basic dough recipe is described in detail, with why and how and what to expect and hand drawn illustrations if there is a need for those so reader has the right idea of how to proceed. Then for every basic dough there is a section with recipes using this dough, some savory, some sweet. The variety is great, and there are suggestions for recipe variations, too. For each of the basic dough recipes, author suggest on how to make the dough by hand or using mixer of food processor, if it is possible. The recipes accompanied by photos, which I love.
The book is very well written, and is very informative.
This book focuses on pastry dough, the next step for someone like me: puff pastries, croissants, pains au chocolat, phyllo dough (!), danishes...I'm so excited. It doesn't cover pasta dough or bread dough. It breaks down the steps into an appropriate level of detail, explains the keys to success for the type of dough, and gives both a traditional ingredients list and a ratio for more advanced cooks. I use ratios a lot, so I know how helpful they can be. For example, with muffins, the quantity I can make depends on how many zucchinis I have (or whatever). One thing that jumped out at me is that the ingredients are listed in terms of weight, not volume, which is definitely a departure from the way most recipes are written. A kitchen scale will be vital to use these.
So how are the results? I tried an apple-pie recipe, because I know how to make apple pies and I wanted to make sure whatever result I got was not due simply to lack of experience. I followed the recipe exactly to make sure I was getting as close as possible to the results intended by the author. So, the pie ended up looking and tasting wonderful; definitely the best apple pie I've ever made. But there were some surprises. First, for some reason I ended up with waaaay too much apple filling, even though I weighed the apples as directed and used a 9" pie pan as directed. I also ended up with some extra pie dough (possibly I rolled it too thin?), though, so I just made a second pie with only a top crust in a smaller pan. I'm definitely not complaining, but it was mystifying. I was suspicious when I was peeling the apples: I used about 18 apples to get 6 lb for the filling. Still, it was cool to learn how to make a neat edge to the pie (never tried that before) and it really was delicious. Oh, and it did not take that long. The pie crust only took me a couple minutes (plus cooling time); max 10 minutes total mixing and rolling time. The filling took longer, about 30 min because of peeling the apples, but still not too daunting. So not EVERYTHING in here is going to be an all-day project.
So the upshot is that this is a serious book. Pretty much everything in here can be bought ready-made, but if you want to learn to make your own, this is what you want. Forget searching the Internet for this stuff; just get this book.
Living in New Orleans and eating beignets and Cafe DuMonde, I have to say I didn't find this recipe very authentic. Some of the recipes, like duck fat biscuits with tarragon gravy seem a little strange in what I consider a more basic book.The biscuit dough uses a combo of cake and bread dough, I guess because it's hard to get While Lily up North,
there is a brief introduction on ingredients and techniques, then there are illustrations of techniques for some recipes on the recipe page.