The Temperature Mistake You're Making With Puff Pastry

Every fan of "The Great British Baking Show" knows how troublesome puff pastry can be, whether full puff or rough puff. According to Bakerpedia, puff pastry relies on layers, specifically super thin layers of dough interspersed with butter. When a puff pastry goes in the oven, the butter melts, releasing steam, which, if you've done it right, puffs up the layers of dough in the pastry. The result is heavenly: delicate, browned layers that create pastries like croissants.

How do you know puff pastry is time-consuming to make from scratch? You can buy it pre-made. Even Epicurious recommends using frozen puff pastry since it "delivers all the specialness of puff pastry without all the hours and elbow grease." But just because you're using frozen puff pastry doesn't mean your worries are over. Mishandling the dough can end up with a flop instead of flaky perfection. If you don't keep your puff pastry dough cool enough, frozen or from scratch, you risk losing your rise due to butter that melts and seeps out, rather than expanding those thin sheets of dough. And if that weren't difficult enough, the dough temperature before you bake it isn't your only temperature concern.

Make sure your oven is hot enough

Another common puff pastry faux-pas is setting the oven temperature too low. You might think that such a delicate pastry would need gentle heat; however, the opposite is true. What's the right oven temperature, then? The Kitchn recommends 400 F, pointing out that lower temperatures won't produce the steam necessary to puff the pastry. Bon App├ętit agrees with the 400-degree recommendation, adding that the high temperature will also help achieve the golden brown color so desirable in puff pastry.

Keeping a box of frozen puff pastry in your freezer gives you scores of recipe options that look much fancier and taste more delicious than you'd expect. You can thaw your puff pastry sheet and top it with a host of ingredients for a simple last-minute pizza. A wheel of brie and some fruit jam means you're ready to go for delectable cranberry brie bites featuring perfectly puffed pastry. Get that oven good and hot, and delicious apps couldn't be easier.