Nailing the Perfect Pastry
Steps to the Perfect Pastry
Pastries can be tricky to bake. Get the ratio of ingredients wrong or knead the dough too hard, and your pastry can turn out hard, flat or flavorless. One of the ways to make sure your pastry turns out delicious? Use the right ingredients!
You’ll want to start with the correct type of flour. Avoid flour with too much gluten, since it can produce a tougher crust. Using a low-gluten, pastry flour (8.5-9.5% protein) will provide you with a tender crust that keeps its structure. If you don’t have pastry flour, all-purpose flour can work as well. Look for a flour that has 10-12% protein.
Next, you’ll want salt for flavor. Look for salt that has smaller crystals, such as table salt, since it dissolves easily, leading to a consistent flavor throughout the pastry.
Liquid is a necessary ingredient for moisturizing the flour so that it forms a cohesive dough. Water is traditionally preferred, but citrus-based liquids, such as orange juice, are also viable options that provide interesting flavor profiles.
Next, you’ll need fat. You might wonder what’s the function of fat in baking? It serves as a tenderizing ingredient that inhibits the development of gluten in the flour by forming a waterproof coating around the flour grains. The most common fats used are shortening, butter and lard, as they produce tender and flaky crusts. If you’re vegetarian, all-vegetable shortenings are an excellent option.
Many shortenings on the market today are made with soybean oil. Because soybean oil features a neutral flavor profile, it allows the ingredients’ flavors to truly stand out. Soy-based shortening helps to produce flaky pie crusts that brown evenly, and don’t break. It also produces flaky puff pastries that keep their height. And, when it’s time to top your baked good, soy-based shortenings make for a fluffy frosting.
So next time you’re baking pastries, make sure you have the proper ingredients on hand. Feeling inspired? Make one of these delicious pastry recipes featuring soy foods, then learn more about the benefits of using soy foods in baking at soyconnection.com.