How to Make Pastry

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Pastry_cTraditionally, pastry has been made from a combination of fat plain flour and water. You can also make an excellent shortcrust pastry from a mixture of plain and wholemeal flours, or a more substantial pastry from 100% wholemeal flour. The type of pastry depends on the proportion of fat to flour and that determines the amount of water to be added, the method of preparation and the temperature at which it is baked.

Whether the pastry is short or flaky depends on the handling of the gluten in the flour. If the gluten is properly controlled by the initial handling of the ingredients during preparation, the blown up and risen dough will have the correct texture for the type of pastry being made.

All-in-One Shortcrust Pastry

This pastry should rise to form a mass of tiny, short and crisp particles. Stork, water and some of the flour are mixed together with a fork to form an emulsion of water-in-fat which is stabilized by the flour. When the rest of the flour is added, the flour particles are surrounded by the water-in-fat emulsion, which prevents the joining together of the gluten. The pastry should be kneaded thoroughly into a smooth, silky ball. This does not develop the gluten because the water only comes in contact with a portion of the flour. Plain flour should be used for Shortcrust Pastry.

Cooking Shortcrust Pastry

A fairly hot oven (200°C, 400°F, Gas No. 6) is needed. The starch grains swell and burst as the pastry is heated and the fat is absorbed by the starch. As the heating continues the pastry sets and the structure is formed.

Rubbed-in Shortcrust Pastry, Biscuit Crust and Sweet Pastry

Like All-in-One Shortcrust, the pastry should rise to form a mass of tiny, short and crisp particles. The method though, is totally different The gluten in the flour is hardly developed. The Stork must be carefully rubbed-in so that most of the flour particles are coated with fat The fat acts as a protection, preventing the water coming into contact with the starch. Inevitably, some gluten will be developed which is necessary to hold the pastry together. If the mixture is unevenly rubbed-in and water comes in contact with a lot of the flour, the gluten develops into a continuous network. The resulting pastry is then hard and tough. This pastry should be handled as little and as lightly as possible to prevent toughening.

Plain, not self-raising, flour should be used for these pastries as a short texture is desirable without the aeration produced by the added raising agent. Any pastry made with a raising agent in the flour has a crumbly, more cake-like texture and this is

particularly pronounced when, as in Biscuit Crust, egg is included in the pastry.



Useful hints

Shortcrust Pastries

All-in-One & Rubbed-in Shortcrust Pastries

1. Pre-heat the oven so that the correct temperature is reached before the pastry goes into it.

2. Measure all ingredients accurately. Too much water makes a dough difficult to handle and roll out and the resulting pastry is tough and hard. Too little water makes a dough which is dry and crumbly and a pastry which has a pitted, cracked appearance when cooked.

3. Keep everything for pastry-making cool - ingredients, equipment and hands. (The only exception is All-in-One Shortcrust)

4. Handle and roll pastry lightly (except All-in-One Shortcrust which requires through kneading).

5. If using packet Stork, use at room temperature; if Stork Special Blend use straight from the refrigerator.

6. When rubbing Stork into flour, use fingertips only and lift the mixture as much as possible so that the cool air can reach it.

7. Roll out all pastry with quick, forward strokes taking care not to stretch it. If stretched, it shrinks away from the edges of the dish during baking, leaving a ragged uneven look.

8. For Sweet Pastry: dissolve sugar in water first; undissolved grains melt during baking causing brown spots on the baked pastry.

9. For Enriched Pastry; dissolve sugar as above and mix with egg yolk to ensure even distribution throughout the pastry.

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