Nothing compares to the flavor of rich puff pastry created from rolled layers of butter and dough, so crisp it shatters in your mouth. During baking, the butter melts in the oven and creates steam, separating the layers and making the dough extra-flaky. The addition of rum is a hallmark of Austro-Hungarian bakers.
You can substitute an equal weight of store-bought pastry for homemade but be sure it is made from butter, not shortening. Here are a few pointers:
- If the dough softens in a hot kitchen, refrigerate it until it is cool and firm enough to work with.
- For proper layering of butter and dough, they must be near the same cool temperature. The optimum temperature for the mixture is 60°F (thanks to Bernard Clayton, who identified the proper temperature in his New Complete Book of Breads). If too warm, the butter will soak into the dough; if too cold, it will break through. The 60°F butter temperature is easy to attain in a cool kitchen by working the butter in a bowl with your knuckles. Don’t use your palms too much as they are warmer and could melt the butter.
- If any butter does peek through the dough during rolling, generously sprinkle the offending spot with flour to seal it, then proceed.
- Keep the dough as evenly shaped as possible, stretching the corners as needed to keep them at right angles.
- Brush off excess flour from the top of the dough before rolling the layers; too much flour will toughen the pastry.
- Even when the recipe calls for a half-batch of dough, make the full recipe and freeze the remainder. It is difficult to make puff pastry with amounts smaller than recommended here.
- See the photos for Plunderteig, as many of the steps are the same for Butterteig.