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At What Temperature Do You Bake Puff Pastry?

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Though restaurants and bakeries may feature delicacies from highly-trained chefs, nothing beats the taste of a home-cooked meal or dessert. Making recipes by hand may be frustrating at times, but the satisfaction of enjoying food that you made from scratch with family and friends is priceless.

As you improve your skills through home cooking, you'll begin to take on more and more complex dishes. One of the most difficult and satisfying desserts to master is puff pastry or Pâte à ChouxThis delicious but complex dessert requires culinary precision from start to finish.

what temperature do i bake puff pastry at

A Brief History of Pate a Choux

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In Catherine de' Medici's court, a chef by the name of Pantanelli invented puff pastry in 1540 and originally used it to make cakes. As it evolved, the dough became more commonly used to make popelins, which were small cakes shaped like breasts. Then, in the 18th Century, a patissier named Avice used it to create choux buns, permanently establishing the name Pâte à Choux. Throughout the late 18th and early 19th Centuries, patissiers like Antoine Careme perfected Pâte à Choux.

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How to Bake Choux Pastry

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The versatile Pâte à Choux is used in a wide variety of pastries, combining culinary staples, a pinch of fundamental knowledge, and attention to detail to create one of the most delicious and famous pastries on Earth.

  • Making the Dough

The exact composition will vary based on the recipe you use, but most will begin by sifting flour and salt into a large bowl. Then, add water and/or butter as directed, mix, and let chill for at least 20 minutes.

  • Kneading and Rolling

The kneading process will depend on your recipe, but in general, you will need to roll your dough out onto a sheet, add butter, seal the edges, fold, and roll it, chilling at intervals as needed.

  • Baking and Finishing Touches

You should always cook Pâte à Choux at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Preheat your oven, and cut your dough into the size that you need. Your baking time will depend on the size of your confections, but you want your pastries to be a perfect golden brown.

At this point in the process, you can start customizing your dessert. You can fill your pastries with everything from jam to egg custard, and you can even make whole cakes from this versatile substance. 

Tips and Tricks

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Mastering Pâte à Choux can be a difficult task, but you can easily craft delicate desserts to wow your friends with a few fundamental techniques. Be sure to follow instructions from a tried-and-true cookbook since exact ingredients and technique may vary. 

If you're a patisserie amateur, you may want to consider taking a cooking class to master fundamental skills. A class specializing in patisserie will help you master basic techniques like sifting and kneading, enabling you to craft the perfect Pâte à Choux.

For more information, please refer to the following pages:

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  1. Can you open the oven when baking puff pastry?

Puff pastry—or choux—has a reputation for being incredibly difficult to bake, and even the most skilled pastry chefs can struggle to make the perfect puff pastry dough. Making puff pastry entails a lengthy and tedious process, so once you complete your dough, you should take care to ensure that you do not make common mistakes while baking it.

One of the most common mistakes when baking puff pastry is opening the oven before the pastry is completely cooked. When you place a puff pastry in the oven, the water in the dough turns to steam, forcing the layers in the dough apart. Then, once the pastry has puffed up, the fat in the dough cooks each layer, giving the puff pastry its signature flaky texture. However, if you open the oven during this process, the pastry will deflate and become flat. You should therefore avoid opening the oven when baking puff pastry.

  1. How do you know when pastry is cooked?

One of the most difficult parts of baking a pastry is determining when your dish is fully cooked. In some cases, you may be able to tell simply when your baked goods become golden brown, but for many pastries, it’s not so simple, which is why every skilled pastry chef knows other telltale signs to determine when a pastry needs to come out of the oven. Cakes, for instance, will feel firm in the center when they are fully baked, and they will also be more matte in color. For cookies and brownies, you should pay attention to the edges, which will feel firm and appear browned when cooked. Custard-based pies can be a bit more difficult since they often bake after being removed from the oven. In general, you want the texture to be solid, but you should still be able to create a smooth, firm ripple when you move the pie. Therefore, when you cook a pastry, you should be familiar with how to tell if it is fully baked so that you remove it from the oven at the proper time.

  1. What’s the difference between store-bought and homemade puff pastry?

Although store-bought and homemade puff pastry are mostly interchangeable, there are a few key differences between them. On one hand, making homemade puff pastry is far more labor-intensive than using store-bought. Butter must be carefully folded into the puff pastry dough, and the dough must be kept at a certain temperature to ensure that the dough does not absorb too much butter. Store-bought puff pastry dough is far easier to work with, and some can even be healthier and less calorie-dense than homemade puff pastry. On the other hand, homemade puff pastry dough is often cheaper to make than store-bought, and if done correctly, homemade puff pastry can be spectacularly delicious. Delicacies like Saint-Honore cake, for instance, are nearly always made with homemade puff pastry dough. Overall, making your own homemade puff pastry can be a worthwhile endeavor if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, but unless you’re a skilled baker, you may want to stick to buying frozen puff pastry at the store.

  1. How to bake frozen puff pastry?

Because making puff pastry from scratch can be very time- and labor-intensive, many people opt to use frozen puff pastry to make baking easier. When you buy your frozen puff pastry from the store, you should try to find dough that is made entirely with butter, not shortening or another substitute, since all-butter puff pastry dough is typically the best-tasting. When you wish to use the dough, you’ll begin by defrosting it completely before using it. Puff pastry dough is extremely tender, so if it is not completely thawed, it may break when you try to manipulate it. From there, you can manipulate your puff pastry into your baked good of choice by rolling it out carefully, dusting it in flour, and rolling and cutting it into the shape of your choice. Then, you will bake the puff pastry at 425°F until it puffs up and starts to brown, and you will then continue to bake it at 375°F until it is fully baked. Finally, you will allow the puff pastry to cool before you serve it.

  1. What are some salty puff pastry french specialties?

Puff pastry is usually associated with sweet foods, but in French baking, it is also used for salty and savory goods. Palmiers, for instance, are made of rolled puff pastry dough, and they are often quite salty. Cheese lovers will enjoy gougères, which are made of puff pastry mixed with cheeses such as gruyere or comte. Torsades are essentially puff pastry twists, and they can be made to taste either sweet or salty. Puff pastry can also be used as a carbohydrate in a more savory appetizer, such as vol au vent. Vol au Vent is a puff pastry shell that can be filled with various mixtures to create a delectable small bite. Likewise, tartelettes are made of puff pastry crusts filled with a variety of foods that range from fruit to chicken. Bouchees are another version of puff pastry crust that can be used in a variety of dishes. Overall, puff pastry is a versatile dough that can be used in both sweet and salty foods.

  1. What is the temperature of the butter in homemade puff pastry?

Making puff pastry is a delicate process, so you must ensure that your ingredients accurately meet the specifications of the recipe that you use. Puff pastry involves plenty of butter, which must remain cold throughout the dough-making process. To make puff pastry, you wrap a cold layer of dough made from flour and water around a block of cold butter and proceed to roll it out. The butter must remain cold so that it will not melt into the dough before reaching the oven, where the liquid in the dough and the butter will evaporate quickly to create flaky layers of dough. However, although your butter must be cold, it must also be somewhat softened and pliable since butter that is too hard will tear the dough. Generally, you should thinly slice your butter before you place it onto the dough, and you may use the rolling pin to pound the butter and make it easier to manipulate.

  1. What is puff pastry dough most commonly used for?

Puff pastry is a versatile dough that can be used in a variety of dishes. For centuries, chefs have utilized this ingredient in a wide range of recipes that include both decadent desserts and savory treats. Traditionally, puff pastry has been used in a variety of desserts that range from simple cream puffs to stunning Saint-Honore cakes, which feature layers upon layers of puff pastry. In any given French patisserie, you’ll find plenty of pastries made from puff pastry dough, and it can also be used to make croissants. However, this dough can also be used in a variety of more savory recipes. Puff pastry is commonly used to make small ‘cups’ for hors d’oeuvres, and it is also used to make baked brie and beef wellington. You can also substitute puff pastry for traditional crust in quiches and tarts. Puff pastry is thus commonly used in many recipes, and seasoned chefs often use it to put a unique twist on traditional dishes.

  1. How do you make puff pastry dough from scratch?

Puff pastry dough is notoriously difficult to make since the process for creating it is tedious and highly specific. In fact, the only simple part about this recipe is the ingredients – flour, salt, butter, and water. To begin, you should mix the flour and salt, and you can then add the butter and cut it into the dough using knives or a pastry blender. Next, you should add water and stir it into the dough. Then, on a cutting board, you should form it into a square and roll it out into a rectangle. You will then fold the dough over and rotate it at least six times. By this point, your dough should be fully mixed, and you can chill it overnight. Once the dough is chilled, you can roll it out with flour to create the puff pastry treat that you desire, but you should be mindful to not overwork the dough.

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More About Our Baguettes Classes

Getting a bit technical during our Baguette Class in Paris

The French baguette, actually probably better known as the Parisian baguette has beome a true symbol of French popular gastronomy. A true icon of French life even - look around and you will see the Parisians strolling back home with their baguettes under their arm. But if you are French why would you learn how to do this? You can buy a baguette at any corner of Paris for about one Euro a piece.  But in our Baguette Class in Paris  you will learn how do this from scratch. It is somewhat technical, but also full of tips and tricks. But when you leave, it will have not secret left for you. From the original mix to the famous "scarification" through adding water to your oven through baking, you will see and do it all.

Learning more during your Baguette class in Paris: Croque Monsieur Bread and Brioche

This class is like all our other baking or cooking classes: totally hands-on. So you get to practice from beginning to end - and to taste at the end. But not only will you learn how to make Baguette, but you will also learn to make two more types of bread: the French Croque Monsieur bread. The basis for the classic French bistrot appetizer. And in your Baguette class in Paris you will also learn how to make your own Brioche. Probably the most indulgent bread you will find in France - if not the lightest ...

And you might learn some history during your Baguette Class in Paris

While you will learn the techniques to create - and get to taste - three classic types of French breads, you will also learn some of the stories on the origin of the baguette. Just beware it is still being quite hotly debated. What is for sure though is that the Baguette is absolutely part of today Parisian's life. A classic you will be able to take back home with you.

More About Our Wine and Cheese Lunch in Paris

Cheese and Wine in Paris

The pleasures we can derive from French cuisine can seem endless.  However two of the best known and loved French gastronomic heroes are French cheese and wine. Whether we talk about a Brie which actually comes from very close to Paris, to a creamy Camembert from Normandy, or a Comté from the Alps, French cheese has a delight for all palates. And of course, French wines are even better known whether from Bordeaux great wines or Burgundy sophisticated whites – all of which enthral wine lovers.  Well, at our course on cheese and wine in Paris you will come to appreciate that although each is delicious on its own, properly matched cheese and wine together can make the experience of each even more enjoyable and an absolute delight.

How to pair French cheese and wine

Because not all pairings are actually what people expect, at Le Foodist we have decided to call these experiences 'Daring Pairings'. Maybe because we like to step out of the ordinary to challenge our taste buds, but really all we try to do is give you the perfect match fo cheese and wine in Paris.  So not only will you learn how to select the best wine to go with your cheese, but you will also learn what are the big cheese families in France – there are actually only five, and this is one of the keys to great pairing. In discovering all these pairings of cheese with wine you will be convinced that indeed two things together can be better than the sum of their parts.

It is important to have fun with pairing cheese and wine in Paris

Beyond the tastings though, we have found that the best way to help our clients remember and re-use their experience is to vary the way to approach both wine and cheese.  That is why during our courses on cheese and wine in Paris we share sensory games and many an anecdote to bring the produce to life in your mind as well as on your palate. Overall we will feature four excellent wines, one Champagne and demonstrate to you how best each combines with cheese, letting your taste guide you along with our teaching.

Understanding cheese and wine pairing while in Paris

While for many top Parisian wine stores and restaurant wine lists can be confusing and even intimidating, we believe that after our lunch learning how to pair cheese and wine in Paris, you will feel much more comfortable navigating all of those.  And we sincerely hope your knowledge will help you unlock a door to a whole new world of enjoyment of French wine and cheese pairing.  At every step of the way our sommelier will also share unique tips and tricks to understand wines better and how culture and wine are so related in France; hopefully enriching your own experience as well.

And they do not have to do with what you will find in those markets. They have to do with when you can go shopping there. Open Air markets are only open in the morning. Typically from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm. And they are not open every day. As a matter of fact for the vast majority they are open either open every other day (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday or Wednesday, Friday, Sunday), or sometimes only twice a week. 

This is the case of the Bastille Market (Metro Bastille and Metro Bréguet Sabin )which is open only on Thursday and Sunday morning. We like to send people there because it is a very big market with over one hundred vendors. And it has a nice stand of Crêperie in the middle. Here you get a video of a lady preparing a crêpe there; and you can get that crêpe for only 3 Euros!
There is only one Open Air market open every day of the week, it is called Marché Aligre (Metro Ledru Rollin or Metro Faidherbe Chaligny) which happens on the eponymous street. It is an interesting market because you find all kinds of quality in that market – the good, the bad and the ugly. There is also a nice covered market in the middle of it called Marché Beauveau – sometimes called Marché Beauveau Aligre. On the contrary, Covered Markets are open every day, and not just in the morning, but also in the late afternoon. Typically from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

We are blessed with two markets close to where Le Foodist is located, so we can walk to a market every morning – sometimes it is the Maubert market, and sometimes it is the Monge market. Both nice with their own specififies. Last but not least, none of these markets is open on Monday. Do not sign-up for a Market Tour on Monday, you might never see that money again …

Choosing Ingredients in Paris

While all markets are different, they also have some things in common. First they work on specific schedules as explained before. But also you will find always at a minimum the following vendors: a Maraîcher – this is the name we give to people selling fruits and vegetables, a butcher, a fishmonger, a cheesemonger and a baker. Normally you will find several of each, with different levels of quality, organic or non-organic, local or not local (but mostly not local unfortunately).
And we explain how to recognize each of those of course during our Market Visits and Cooking Classes in Paris. But choosing ingredients can be daunting at first, because of the variety that is on display. A typical fishmonger will carry 20 different types of fishes, and as many shrimp and shelf fish varieties. A good cheese monger will easily carry up to 100 different types of cheese and obviously you could get over 100 different cuts of meat at a butcher (from the type of meat to the cut itself). And a normal Maraicher will carry between 50 and 100 fruits and vegetables as well.
This is what makes these markets so exciting – the variety of products, the beauty of their display, and the exchange you can have with most of the vendors. We give you tips though on how to make sure that exchange with the vendors go well – a few magic words, and everything will be fine!

Cooking in Paris

Obviously going to markets is nice, but actually knowing that you are going to cook what you find there is even more exciting. It is not uncommon for Parisians to buy a little bit too much food because they get so excited at the idea of cooking it all! But as most of us have hardly any space where we live, that can limit the enthusiasm sometimes. Because of the lack of space, Cooking in Paris can be quite different from cooking in the rest of France. And there are also dishes that are typically associated with regions which the Parisian will not cook at home – but taste when they visit friends or families in the various regions of France. However our kitchen has plenty of space, so we can cook traditional French dishes without a problem – whether they come from Paris or any region. And the most important part for us is to ensure that we share techniques much more than just recipes. As a matter of fact, we love to share a bit of the science behind what we do so people can better remember the “what” by understanding the “why”.

Sharing Stories

In November 2010, some experts from the UN cultural organisation, decided tha France’s multi-course gastronomic meal, with its rites and its presentation, fulfilled the conditions for featuring on the “world intangible list” of the UNESCO.
In this list you can find all kinds of cultural practices, including Mexico Day of the Dead festival for example. Importantly this is not suggesting French cuisine is better than other cuisines (even though we the French tend to believe that …). It is only saying that the gastronomic meal and what it entails is a very vivid cultural practice which people in France partake into on a very regular basis. That is why the same experts indicated that the French gastronomic meal is a “social custom aimed at celebrating the most important moments in the lives of individuals and groups”. And in that social custom, there are many parts: the attention we pay to the way we choose ingredients, how we pair wine with food, how many dishes we will present to our guests, how we lay the table, etc… But one big part of the cultural practice is that commensality (the fact of sharing the food) is always accompanied by sharing stories about …. Well, you would have guessed it, Food of course!
To us it is THE perfect example of how Food and Culture come together – actually we decide to share food is a considered a cultural practice. I would argue that it is true of all countries, regions, etc… As the way we relate to Food is such a big part of anybody’s identity. But as a result and to make sure you have the most genuine experience of French culture, after the a coking class in Paris at Le Foodist, you will share a gastronomic meal at a common table with your Chef and fellow participants to the class.

French Wine and Food Pairing

As mentioned above, one of the big cultural practices in France is choosing how to pair Wine and Food in general and Wine and Cheese in particular. We actually have a class which focuses specifically on this. As it is so important though, we always make sure we share white and red wines during our meals, chosen to pair well in our opinion with the food we cook. And being at the table together is a good opportunity to discuss about wine as well, with concepts such as “terroir” (to simplify, terroir means “what you do depends on where you are”) which are essential to grasp the way the French think about Food.
And all this will always go with a cheering “Santé” – which quite simply means, to your good health!

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