Culinary Institute of America Recipe
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Classic Puff Pastry

This traditional pastry is a key component in our Classic Napoleon.

Source: The Culinary Institute of America food enthusiast kitchens.
CIA's Classic Puff Pastry recipe



Makes 4 pounds

  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/3 cups cake flour
  • 1/3 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/3 cups cold water
  • 3 cups (6 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into large cubes


  1. Combine the bread and cake flours in a mixing bowl. Remove and reserve 1 cup of the flour mixture.
  2. Add the softened butter and the salt to the flours and mix on medium speed until the butter is evenly distributed, about 2 minutes. Lower the speed and add the cold water to the dough mixture (depending on the level of humidity and other factors, you may need to add additional water). Finish mixing on medium speed until smooth, 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place it on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper dusted with flour. Form the dough into a rectangle of uniform thickness. This is the “water dough.” Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the “fat dough.” Using the same mixing bowl, combine the cubed butter and the reserved 1 cup of flour mixture. Beat by hand or with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Avoid over-mixing; you do not want to incorporate any air into the mixture. Pat or roll this mixture between two pieces of parchment paper to make a rectangle that will cover two-thirds of the rectangle of water dough. Cover it with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or until it is the same consistency as the water dough.
  5. Once the fat dough is the same consistency as the water dough, place it on the right side of the water dough, leaving a ½- to 1-inch border around the three edges. Fold the left side of the water dough over and onto the fat dough, just as you would close a book. Lock in the butter by pressing the dough around the 3 open sides with the tips of your fingers. The fat dough is now locked into the water dough and ready for the first fold, which is a 3-fold (letter fold).
  6. Begin with the open end of the fold facing you. Roll the dough lengthwise into a rectangle. Fold the left third of the dough to the center. Fold the right side completely over the left side, as you would fold a letter. When the folds are complete, there should be 3 layers. Mark the dough with the number of turns, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Repeat the 3-fold procedure up to 5 more times, chilling the dough in between rolling and folding until it feels cool and firm, about 30 minutes.
  7. Cover and refrigerate until ready for use. Puff pastry can be frozen successfully. Let it thaw in the refrigerator before using.

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