Lamination is the process of creating layers of dough and butter, and rolling them out into thin sheets, cutting them into squares and baking them to make beautiful and elegant pastries. As the butter melts between the layers of dough, it creates steam, which causes the layers of dough to puff up and create the beautiful flaky pastry that you see in Danishes. Laminating dough is a very therapeutic process. It is definitely time consuming and takes good planning and proper thought process, clear and organized mind to be able to go through the steps properly. Whenever you make something, put your heart into it, put your soul into it, and you will see the love that comes out via the dish that you create. Laminating dough is not hard at all but it does require some good muscle work to roll that base brioche dough, pounding on the huge butter block to make it the exact size that you want, rolling out the dough with the butter block in the middle, go through the folds, and finally rolling it out thin enough to make beautiful danishes! And lots of patience!!! The end result is definitely rewarding and so worth it.
*ABOUT THE AUTHOR:*
I have been a huge fan of Julie since a long time, since I started following her on Instagram. Julie Jones is the author of 2 beautiful books : 1) Soulful Baker 2) The Pastry School . When I started following Julie, she would talk a lot about her mom, who was then suffering dementia. Julie is a trained chef, who went to culinary school, and then she really didn’t get a chance to hone her career because she was taking care of her mum and her family. She would share wonderful stories of her mum, and how she inspired her to bake, and really get into the kitchen. I felt a connection with Julie, instantly, because it reminded me of how my mum instilled the love of baking and cooking in me, right since I was a kid. How much I enjoyed baking with her, and giving her company in the kitchen. I was my mum’s biggest fan. So when Julie’s mum passed away, I knew how she felt, having lost my mum too, whom I admired dearly, and who was my best friend. Her Feather Pie was one of the most beautiful creations I have ever seen, so metamorphic, and ethereal. I hope I can meet Julie one day when I visit the UK next year!
*ABOUT THE BOOK:*
Julie Jones is the author of 2 beautiful books : 1) Soulful Baker 2) The Pastry School . Both the books are available here on Amazon. I have the first book and I instantly fell in love with it. Her pictures are gorgeous and each recipe is so detail oriented and beautifully written as well. Julie was gracious and generous to send me her second book – The Pastry School, which I have become a huge fan of! Over a year ago, I took an extensive laminated dough class, and I got really comfortable with making laminated dough, and the whole process of it. After seeing Julie’s absolutely stunning book, released in Spring 2020, I was really mesmerized by all the content in her book. Julie’s book has the basics of making 10 different kinds of pastries like Hot Water Pastry, Shortcrust Pastry, Puff Pastry, Inverted Puff Pastry, Viennoiserie Pastry etc, with exclusive pictures showing the process of making the dough, as it can be intimidating with so many steps, but it is really a matter of reading the instructions very carefully, and following it well. The other chapters are really well divided as well, as in a Chapter of pastry and cheese, Or pastry and nuts Or pastry and fruit OR pastry and meat, and the beautiful creations you can make with these different combinations. The pictures in the book are really stunning. My husband, who is a designer, loved the book and how elegant, sophisticated and minimalistic the pictures were. Each and every creation is different from the next one, and each so unique and beautiful in it’s own way! This is a MUST have book on your book shelf! I want to make the Root Vegetable Tart with puff pastry, because it looks incredible!
I spent some time over the long weekend to make these beautiful Fromage Blanc, Honeycomb and Fig Viennoiserie from Julie’s cookbook ! I started the process late on a Saturday, and we were able to enjoy the Danishes or Viennoiserie’s on Monday morning. The resting process takes time. The book has detailed instructions and a schedule provided as well that you can use as a guide/template to help you through the Danish process. The book also has beautiful step by step process pictures which are very useful too. Laminating dough is very therapeutic. Making the dough is easy, it takes 5 minutes. Making the butter block takes about 5-10 minutes. It is the resting part that takes time. You have to let the gluten develop in the dough, and the dough and butter to be chilled, so you can roll them out uniformly.
The BEST TIPs to take from this:
Make sure that the dough and the butter are cold.
If you are making it in the summer or heat, turn on the AC. You need the room to be cold, so that you have a bit of time to work the dough and the butter, and the lamination.
Have all your tools ready, like a ruler, sharp knife to level off the edges of the laminated dough, a good brush to brush off the extra dough etc.
User the ruler to level off your dough after every few rolls, to have an accurate rectangle. It will immensely help in shaping perfect pastries.
Set timers for yourself to know when to do the first fold, second fold etc.
Follow the instructions and measurements to the T and you will get the end result right.
Proofing the dough after the squares are cut out, is very important and proofing for the right time and right temperature. Again make sure that the proofing temperature is room temperature. If it too hot the butter between the layers will start melting and make the dough very soggy, and it will lead to butter leaking from the pastry.
I LOVE this tip from Julie when making these vinnnoiseries . After you cut and shape the squares, put a little plastic wrap with beans in it as a weight, to put on the flaps of the Danish to hold them down. I have always had this issue when making Danish and I love the solution provided by Julie. It is brilliant! The center stays down and it makes for a nice bed to put in the filling.
If you have any questions about this recipe, or laminating dough in general, please feel free to email me or DM me on my Instagram. I am always here to help with whatever questions you have, or walk you through the process. I hope you enjoy this recipe, and if you do attempt at making it, please do not forget to tag @juliejonesk on Instagram so she can see that you made it! 😊
250g (8 ¾ oz/ 1 ¾ cups) strong white bread flour, plus extra for sprinkling and dusting
35g (1 ¼ oz/ 3 tbsp) caster(superfine) sugar
¼ tsp fine salt
1 tsp dried easy bake yeast
65g (2 ¼ oz) cold full-fat milk
65g (2 ¼ oz) cold water
25g (3/4 oz/ 1 ½ tbsp) unsalted butter, very soft
For the butter layer:
140g (5 oz/ 2/3 cup minus 2 tsps) unsalted butter, fridge-cold
For egg wash:
1 egg yolk
For the Danish:
1 quantity Viennoiserie pastry
Plain all purpose flour for dusting
For the Filling:
120g (4 ¼ oz) fromage blanc
2 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
6 tsp fig jam
3 fresh figs, halved
3 tbsp runny honey
To finish(all optional)
60g (2 ¼ oz honeycomb)
Icing (powdered sugar)
For the Viennoiserie pastry:
Place the flour, sugar, salt and yeast into the bowl of a freestanding mixer. Attach the dough hook and combine briefly. Mix together the milk and water, and with the mixer running on a slow speed, pour into a bowl in a steady continuous stream. Mix for 4 minutes only, after which the dough should be cohesive and the sides of the bowl clean. Start to add small pieces of the soft butter, one piece at a time, still mixing at a slow speed. Only when each piece of butter has bene incorporated should another be added. Continue as before until all the butter has been used – this should take around 5 minutes. Sprinkle over a dessert spoon of flour and give it a 30-second mix until combined. Switch off the mixer, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll flat to approximately 1cm (1/2 inch) depth. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 1 ½ hours.
Prepare the butter layer by slicing the block across the width into eight equal sized slices. Lay these 4x2 onto a piece of non-stick baking paper and place in the fridge.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle measuring approximately 30x20cm(12x8inch). Shunt the four edges into straight lines using a ruler, then re-roll to an even thickness. Position so that the shorter edge is nearest you. Remove the butter from the fridge, then invert onto the bottom half of the rolled dough, peeling back the paper. Using a knife, scrap the surface of the butter and use the scrapings to smooth over the gaps between the butter slices, making them into one large slice.
Now fold down the upper half of the dough, covering the butter completely. If you have misjudged the fold a little and excess pastry is overhanging, simply trim with a pizza wheel. Seal the three edges, nipping them together firmly, then shunt back into a shape using the ruler. Wrap in cling film and return to the fridge for 30 minutes.
Lightly dust the worktop with flour and lay the pastry on it. Gently press a rolling pin into the pastry across both width and length, helping to make the butter malleable. The pastry it now ready to roll back to the original size of 30x20 cm (12x8in).
To create the layers successfully, it is important to roll using an upwards and downwards motion only, always with the shorter edge closest to you. There is no harm in turning the pastry over and switching top to bottom, but a short side must remain closest to you. When rolled to the required size, shunt the edges to neaten, then fold the top half down to the two-thirds point. Bring the bottom third up and over it, creating a single fold. Wrap the folded pastry in cling fimn and, using a marker pen, write ‘x1’ onto it, referring to the single fold and the time. These markings are a valuable reminder of what stage you are at and what time the next fold is due. Rest in the fridge and set a timer for 1 hour.
Remove from the fridge(keeping the cling film) and place on a lightly floured surface. Repeat the rolling and folding process twice more, resting in the fridge for an hour between each and for a final hour before rolling and cutting, setting your timer as a vital reminder.
When rolling to cut and shape, it is important that the kitchen is cool. It is surprising how quickly the dough can rise, if that happens, the buttery layers will become exposed and can be pushed out when rolling. To roll, do so in short bursts – roll, leave for 1 minute, then roll again(and so on) until the pastry is fully rolled. Allowing the pastry to relax between rolling prevents the dough from springing back. Overforcing rolling can also rupture the layers and will undo all the work that has been put in up to that point. I find it easier to roll on marble or granite for this stage, due to the minimal amount of flour needed. The cold, slick surface helps to hold the dough in place, preventing springback. When fully rolled out to a 5mm thickness, pop in the freezer for 10 minutes, then cut and shape according to the recipe instructions.
When proving, leave at room temperature covered with cling fimn for upto 2 or 3 hours, until doubled in size. It is important that the room is only warm, not hot, and make sure the pastries are away from sunlight or a heat source. Both would melt the butter.
For the Danish:
Make the dough up to and including the final fridge resting, following the recipe and guidance per the Viennoiserie pastry instructions.
When fully rested, roll the dough onto a lightly floured work surface to an approximate thickness of 5mm(1/4 thick). Cut into six squares, each measuring 10 x 10 cm (4x4inch). Lay each piece of pastry onto a large baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper. Fold the four corners into the center of each, pushing down well to secure in place. To prevent the middle of the pastry from rising during proving and baking, make a weight for each. Line an egg cup with three layers of ovenproof cling film, then fill it with baking beans. Twist the top of the cling film, securing the beans in place, to make a ball. Place this ball onto the center of the folded pastry. Repeat for all. Loosely cover with cling film and allow to prove in a warm place for upto 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, Gas Mark 4. Brush the smooth surfaces of each pastry with egg wash, bring careful not to let any drip onto the layers. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until dark golden. Don’t be tempted to take the pastries out of the oven too early; the longer bake will ensure the crunch and delicious flakiness that is so desirable. When done, remove the weight from each and allow to cool on wire racks.
When the pastries are cool, mix together the fromage blanc mixture, sugar and vanilla for the filling. Place a teaspoon of the fig jam into the center of each pastry basket, top each with a tablespoon of the fromage blanc, then top with a fig half. Gently warm to runny honey in a pan, then brush the cut surface of the figs with it. Add a nugget of honeycomb to each, if using, dust over some powdered sugar and add a flower or two if you fancy. (Remember that edible flowers should be chosen for flavor and not only for décor).