Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Apart from bready croissants and Danish, most pastry doughs contain very little water, not nearly enough to gelate all the starch granules. Cooking therefore partly gelates the starch and dries the gluten network well, and produces a firm, crunchy or crisp texture and a golden brown exterior. Pastry crusts in particular are cooked at relatively high oven temperatures so that the dough heats through and sets quickly. Slow heating just melts the pastry dough’s fat, and the protein-starch network slumps before the starch gets hot enough to absorb water from the gluten and set the structure.