The secret to good pastry making is five fold and the tips given here can be transferred to most pastry and bread recipes:
- Ensure that
ingredients are measured exactly, the smaller the amount made the greater
the disaster for smaller mistakes made.
- Always sieve
the flour at least three times, this is not to remove any lumps as commonly
thought, but to evenly distribute the gluten content. If it is not evenly
distributed then the pastry can shrink when cooked in the areas where there
is concentrated gluten content.
- Add a little
lemon juice - this encourages the gluten strands to relax and shorten.
- Work / handle
the pastry as lightly as possible. When rubbing in the butter in short pastries
use your fingertips only and lift them into the air, this allows air to get
into the pastry and make it lighter, more delicate.
- Each and every time the pastry is handled allow it to rest for at least an hour - after making, after rolling, etc. This allows the gluten strands to relax again, as each time you handle the pastry you stretch them out.