What is Flaky Pastry?
Flaky pastry is a layered pastry dough similar to puff pastry but it contains less fat and fewer layers. Typical flaky pastry has a fat-to-flour ratio of 3:4 and is rolled and folded only four times. Traditionally, lard and butter were used in flaky pastry preparation.1
While flaky pastry is somewhat easier to process, it produces a lower volume after baking. Therefore, it is not a good substitute for traditional puff pastry applications such as vol-au-vents or bouchees but is more suited for pie crusts and turnovers.
How is flaky pastry made?
Traditional puff pastry requires a block of butter to be sandwiched between two layers of dough and is then sheeted out multiple times and folded over itself to create alternating layers of dough separated by layers of fat. While this results in a very light and delicate product, it is often time-consuming and labor-intensive.
A flaky pastry is best described as a dough sheet dotted with multiple spots of fat between laminations. This arrangement forms a dough with discontinuous fat layers which bake up into a crisp and flaky pastry structure. Some bakers argue that ‘blitz’ or ‘rough puff’ pastry, in essence, belong to the flaky pastry type.2 The difference being that blitz puff pastry incorporates a block of fat that is rolled and sheeted to create layers.
Although flaky pastry formation requires “turning” or “folding”, it is more of a hybrid between traditional pie dough and puff pastry, which requires a much shorter production time.
The process of making a flaky pastry involves “cutting” one quarter of the total fat into the flour such as a pie dough till it forms what resembles coarse meal. Proper incorporation of the fat, in this step, provides flour lubrication and restricts or at least delays its quick absorption of added water. Subsequent hydration and mixing result in a dough ready for lamination.
A typical flaky pastry formula:3
|Pastry flour / bread flour (or blends)
|Butter or shortening
Producing a high-quality flaky pastry requires the following steps:
- Ingredient scaling/metering
- Mix dry ingredients with one-fourth of the cold butter (cubed) on low speed till a meal-like dough is formed. Add liquids and mix till a rough...