You CAN make puff pastry entirely by hand! For tips and to bake-along live, just follow along with the video.
Prep: 4 hours/overnight/over days (this is a recipe where I encourage you to take your time :) )
Bake: 15-20 minutes
Puff Pastry Ingredients:
Yield: 4 dozen palmiers (or one 12x14in sheet of puff pastry)
1 & 1/3 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 & 1/8 cups water
1 & 1/2 t salt
3 & 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
5 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Sweet - granulated sugar
Savory - grated parmesan
Plain - all-purpose flour
Go crazy, get creative!
Form your room temperature butter into a 5 - 6 inch square. Do this on plastic wrap or parchment so that you can then transfer it to the freezer to stiffen up for 10-15 minutes. (If you aren't making puff pastry immediately, put this into the refrigerator).
Whisk together your water and salt until the salt has dissolved.
Add the all-purpose flour using a pastry scraper or spatula. Don't stir vigorously here. Instead, scoop the flour into the center and cut down using the edge of your tool. Do this until it is fairly well incorporated and you have a very shaggy dough. For a visual head to the 4:35 mark to water my process.
Add your melted butter and continue "cutting" in, scooping the edges to the center and cutting down with the sharp edge of your tool.
Lightly flour your work surface and pour your dough out. Use your fingertips to encourage the dough into a single ball and use the edge of your tool to cut and "X" into the top of your dough ball (this is to help with the roll out).
Now check on your butter: you need it to be firm enough to hold its own shape, but soft enough that if you press down on it, it gives just a little bit. If it's too soft it will mix into the dough instead of layer, and if it's too hard you won't be able to roll. There is a sweet spot!
Roll out your dough into a square, leaving a little bump in the center to help with stretching it. Place your butter square on top of your dough square, at an angle so the corners of the dough will stretch over the flat sides of the butter. You need the square of dough big enough to stretch to the center of the butter.
Envelop the butter square in dough and pinch the dough to close. You can see this process at the 8:06 mark.
Turn your dough, seam-side down, press an "X" into the dough, and roll the dough vertically until it is the length of your rolling pin (about 18 inches long). With your seam-side up, fold the bottom third up and the top third down so you have three layers of dough. Turn your dough 90° (your new open seam will be to the left or right). That is your "turn"!
Allow your dough to rest for an hour or two and then repeat this folding and turning process 4 more times (5 turns total). You will always have that open seam on the left or right when rolling vertically. You won't need to rest your dough between each turn, but you may need to rest it one or two more times throughout this process.
Your 5th and final turn is where you will flavor it. You will use granulated sugar OR grated parmesan OR all-purpose flour to do your entire rolling, folding, and turning process, incorporating your flavor into the dough itself. To see this entire folding process begin at the 8:42 mark. *
After 5 turns, roll your dough out to a large rectangle, about 12 inches by 14 inches with the long side facing you. To make palmiers you will fold up the bottom quarter of your dough, and fold down the top quarter of your dough. Do that one more time so your halves meet in the middle. Finally fold the bottom on top of the top portion to create one palmier "log". To watch this forming process head to the 20:58 mark.
Refrigerate your log before cutting to make the cuts as even as possible.
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
Cut 2-3mm palmiers from the log and put on baking sheet lined with parchment, cut-side down.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway, until the edges are golden brown and the centers are golden. Better to overcook than under cook!
Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then enjoy the flaky and addicting pastries.
I go on a rampage with tips that cross my mind starting at the 29:41 mark.
*I recommend watching just a bit of the video to see a visual. It is a little difficult to explain but simple to execute!