With the fat on the outside, this “flipped out” version of puff pastry can actually be easier for bakers to use. Offer savory spinach feta turnovers to generate additional lunch sales.
Pastry chefs and bakers alike know puff pastry as the amazingly light, buttery and flaky dough used for sweet or savory applications, such as jalousie, pithiviers, chausson pommes, turnovers and napoleon slices. The concept is simple — hundreds of layers of dough and fat are created through the process of lamination. During baking, water content from the fat turns to steam and leavens the many layers of dough, creating an airy, light structure. The fat is then absorbed into the layers of dough and poaches them, leading to the crisp texture and an increased stability of the light structure.
Puff pastry can be made in several styles: classic, blitz (quick), Italian and inverted. Each of these doughs yield different results, yet they can all be used interchangeably. Of the selection of puff pastry, the inverted puff is most unique because the fat is on the outside of the dough. The use of inverted puff pastry has several advantages and is easy as long as a few key techniques are followed.
The ingredient selection of inverted puff pastry is identical to that of classic and blitz puff pastry. The détrempe, or base dough, contains bread flour, water, salt, butter and optionally, lemon juice and diastatic malt. The difference in the composition of the dough is based on the ratio of ingredients.
For inverted puff pastry, use a low protein (11 to 12 percent) bread flour for its balance of extensibility and elasticity. The short mixing time and low hydration (43 percent based on flour weight) result in minimal gluten development. Salt contributes flavor to the dough and also helps bind the water to the flour. Inverted puff pastry has more butter in the détrempe than classic puff pastry, which helps with extensibility and depth of flavor. The best puff pastry is made with only butter. Butter with a fat content of 80 percent will yield exceptional results. However, for a different flavor dimension, you can use European-style butter. Adding lemon juice or vinegar helps prevent oxidation and helps increase extensibility. Malt helps promote browning, however, substituting the same weight of sugar also produces browning.
Prepare the dough
Mixing the détrempe for inverted puff pastry is limited to good ingredient incorporation. All of the ingredients are mixed together on slow speed for three to four minutes using the dough hook. To prevent over-mixing the dough, the butter should be soft and pliable. A properly mixed détrempe is firm yet extensible and pliable. After mixing, form the dough into a square about 1 in. thick, and cover it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour and as long as overnight.
After the détrempe is mixed, prepare the beurrage, or roll-in fat. For inverted puff pastry, the beurrage is composed of butter and flour. The flour absorbs water from the butter and makes the fat more pliable and resistant to softening during lamination. To prepare the beurrage, simply mix the fat and flour until they are evenly blended. Once mixed, spread the beurrage to an even thickness on a thick plastic sheet or silicone baking mat to twice the size of the détrempe. Refrigerate until cold and ready to use.
In the case of inverted puff pastry, the détrempe is enclosed in the beurrage. The beurrage may need to be softened slightly in order to wrap it around the détrempe and ensure that it is extensible during sheeting. Wrapping the détrempe with the beurrage creates the paton. Use sufficient dusting flour during sheeting to prevent the paton from sticking. If the outside of the paton becomes too soft, chill it for a few minutes.
Complete the lamination
The timing of the first few folds of inverted puff pastry is important. Before beginning the lamination process, the paton must be at the proper temperature and texture. The butter in the beurrage needs to be cold, yet pliable. If it is too cold it will crack during lamination, and if it is too soft it will absorb into the dough and be difficult to roll out evenly. The process for lamination is the same as for classic puff pastry. Five to six single folds is standard, and two folds can be done back to back when using a dough sheeter. Like classic or blitz puff, refrigerate inverted puff between sets of folds.
Thirty minutes after the final fold, sheet the dough to about 2 mm thick to ensure thin layers of dough and fat. If the dough layers are too thick, the butter will not be able to fully penetrate them; the puff pastry will be tough and the butter may leak out during the bake. Once sheeted, relax the dough and cut as needed. If the dough becomes too soft, refrigerate the cut dough pieces until they are easier to handle. After make-up, it is important to refrigerate the pastry for at least thirty minutes before baking to avoid mis-shaped pieces.
Knowledge of the ingredients and the process makes inverted puff pastry easier to work with than classic puff and may provide better results. Inverted puff does not become as sticky or soft as classic puff pastry during the final sheeting and make-up. Additionally, inverted puff pastry shrinks less during baking and has better storage properties in the freezer. Considering these benefits, inverted puff pastry can aid in the production of all puff pastry items allowing for easier handling and make-up and improved inventory quality in the freezer. Having fresh baked puff pastries that are light, buttery, flaky and all natural has never been so easy and so good. This spinach feta turnover is a perfect example of an easy to produce inverted puff pastry.
Brian Wood is the founder of Baking and Pastry Solutions, a company focused on assisting baking and pastry operations with product development, employee training and more. To learn more, visit tourrier.com or email email@example.com. Brian would like to thank the San Francisco Baking Institute (SFBI) for the use of its facility for the photo shoot for this article. All photos are by Frank Wing.
For information on how to use honey in a variety of bakery formulas, visit the National Honey Board's website at www.honey.com.