Baking Basics

Pastry Basics

Making Pastry

  Mix flour and salt in basin, rub in fat.
  Using a knife to cut and stir, mix with cold water to form a stiff paste.

Turn dough onto floured board or worktop and roll out.
Roll out and use as required.

Three Basic Rules for Pastry Making

1. Keep pastry cool.
2. Handle pastry lightly
3. Bake pastry at correct oven temperature.

Cool hands, a cool pastry board or worktop and water as cold as possible help to produce the best results. Use the fingertips, as they are the coolest part of the hands.

Lift the flour well out of the bowl to incorporate as much air as possible when rubbing in the fat. Always mix with a round bladed knife.

Add water gradually, a little at a time, to achieve the correct consistency for each type of pastry. 

Avoid adding more flour after the water. In making pastry try to incorporate as much cold air as possible so that in baking this air expands and produces light pastry.

In Shortcrust this is done by rubbing in and light handling, and in Rough Puff and Flaky Pastry the air is incorporated by folding and rolling.

Dust rolling pin with flour and work lightly to prevent sticking. Roll out quickly, always rolling away from you and not from side to side. Turn the pastry, not the rolling pin.

Avoid stretching the pastry as this causes shrinkage in baking. Roll evenly and do not roll over the ends of the pastry.

Pies, tarts, pastries and turnovers should be brushed over with a suitable glaze before baking.

Always bake in a hot oven and for rich pastry a very hot oven.

Different Types of Pastry

The three basic rules and foregoing hints apply for the following types of pastry:

1. Shortcrust Pastry   2. Suet Pastry   3. Rough Puff Pastry   4. Flaky Pastry

Two additional types of pastry made by completely different methods:

5. Hot Water Crust Pastry   6. Choux Pastry

When to user Self Raising or Plain Flour

Suet - use Be-Ro Self Raising Flour

Shortcrust, Rough Puff, Flaky, Hot Water Crust, Choux - use Be-Ro Plain Flour

N.B. Plain flour is generally recommended for Shortcrust Pastry, but good results may be obtained by using self raising flour, which will produce a softer, more crumbly texture.