Perfect Choux Pastry

  1. Hello everyone!

    After 7 months of research and development for the perfect choux pastry formula, I would like to present to you, dear friends, the fruits of our labor. Enjoy!
    Department of Research & Development
     ​
    The data contained herein is the intellectual property of the Joey Prats School of Baking & Pastry Arts

    Choux Pastry

     

    Formula

    Yield: Makes 1,150 GRAMS OF CHOUX PASTRY DOUGH

     

    INGREDIENTS

    SPECIFICATION

    WEIGHT

    BAKER’S %

    TRUE %

    WATER

    STILL MINERAL

    200 GRAMS

      80.00 %

    15.87 %

    LIQUID WHOLE MILK

    3.5 % FAT

    200 GRAMS

      80.00 %

    15.87 %

    UNSALTED BUTTER

    CUT INTO 1-CM CUBES

    200 GRAMS

      80.00 %

    15.87 %

    FINE SEA SALT

    N/A

        5 GRAMS

        2.00 %

    0.40 %

    SUPERFINE SUGAR

    N/A

        5 GRAMS

        2.00 %

    0.40 %

    ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR

    12 % PROTEIN, SIFTED

    250 GRAMS

    100.00 %

    19.84 %

    WHOLE EGGS

    LIGHTLY BEATEN

    400 GRAMS

    160.00 %

    31.75 %

    BATCH TOTALS

    1,260 GRAMS

    504.00 %

    100.00 %

     

    NOTES ON THE FORMULA

     

    ·   ALL INGREDIENTS AT 20 DEGREES CELSIUS (ROOM TEMPERATURE), UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED.

    ·   FORMULA WAS TESTED AT A RELATIVE HUMIDITY RANGE OF 40 % TO 60 %

    ·   ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR AT 100.00 % (BAKER’S %)

    ·   MOST AMERICAN CHEFS USE BREAD FLOUR IN THEIR CHOUX PASTRY RECIPES. THIS IS BECAUSE BREAD FLOUR, WITH ITS HIGHER PROTEIN CONTENT, PRODUCES AN END PRODUCT THAT EXPANDS BETTER, WITH SUPERIOR STRUCTURE AND A MORE HOLLOW INTERIOR. IT ALSO PRODUCES A CRISPER SHELL. HOWEVER, I  FIND CHOUX PASTRY ITEMS MADE WITH BREAD FLOUR A BIT TOUGH AND ALSO CHEWIER (MORE BREAD-LIKE RATHER THAN PASTRY-LIKE), AND LACKS THE MELT-IN-THE-MOUTH QUALITY DISTINCTIVE OF ITS FRENCH COUNTERPART. MOST EUROPEAN CHEFS, ON THE OTHER HAND, PREFER TO USE ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR (CALLED PLAIN FLOUR IN MOST PARTS OF EUROPE; T55 FLOUR IN FRANCE), WITH GREAT SUCCESS. TO BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN SUPERIOR STRUCTURE AND MELT-IN-THE-MOUTH TENDERNESS, THE ABOVE FORMULA UNIQUELY SPECIFIES STILL MINERAL WATER. THE PRESENCE OF MINERALS IN THE WATER (PERTICULARLY MAGNESIUM AND CALCIUM) HELPS PROTEINS IN THE FLOUR BOND TOGETHER MORE TIGHTLY, FORMING A STRONGER GLUTEN STRUCTURE, THE NETWORK OF INTERCONNECTED PROTEINS THAT GIVE DOUGH ITS STRENGTH AND ELASTICITY. THIS ALLOWS OUR CHOUX PASTRY FORMULA TO PRODUCE A PERFECT END RESULT…LIGHT, HOLLOW, AND CRISP, WITH A MELT-IN-THE-MOUTH QUALITY.

     

    PROCEDURE

    1.     PREPARE THE PANADE. (THE PANADE IS THE MIXTURE OF WATER, MILK, BUTTER, SALT, SUGAR, AND FLOUR THAT FORMS THE BASE FOR THE CHOUX PASTRY DOUGH.) COMBINE THE WATER, LIQUID WHOLE MILK, UNSALTED BUTTER, FINE SEA SALT, AND SUPERFINE SUGAR IN A SAUCEPAN. PLACE OVER MEDIUM HEAT AND BRING TO A ROLLING BOIL. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THE BUTTER IS FULLY MELTED BEFORE THE LIQUID COMES TO A BOIL. CUTTING THE BUTTER INTO 1-CM CUBES ENSURES THAT THIS IS ACHIEVED. REMOVE THE SAUCEPAN FROM THE HEAT AND ADD THE ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR, ALL AT ONCE. USING A WOODEN OR SILICON STIRRING SPOON, STIR THE MIXTURE UNTIL IT FORMS A HOMOGENEOUS MASS.

    2.     DRY THE PANADE. RETURN THE SAUCEPAN OVER MEDIUM HEAT. CONTINUE TO STIR THE MIXTURE CONSTANTLY FOR 2 MINUTES TO DRY IT OUT AND ALLOW EXCESS MOISTURE TO EVAPORATE. THIS STEP IS CRUCIAL TO GETTING THE CHOUX PASTRY PERFECT. LESS MOISTURE IN THE PANADE ALLOWS IT TO ABSORB ALL THE EGGS IN THE NEXT STEP WITHOUT YIELDING A DOUGH THAT IS TOO SLACK. REMOVE SAUCEPAN FROM HEAT.

    3.     COOL THE PANADE. TRANSFER THE PANADE TO A MIXER BOWL. USING THE PADDLE ATTACHMENT, MIX PANADE ON LOW SPEED UNTIL THE TEMPERATURE DROPS TO 60 DEGREES CELSIUS.

    4.     ADD THE EGGS. WHILE MIXER IS RUNNING ON MEDIUM-LOW SPEED, ADD 1/4 OF THE EGGS; MIX UNTIL FULLY INCORPORATED. REPEAT THIS PROCESS, ADDING 1/4 OF THE EGGS AT A TIME, UNTIL ALL OF THE EGGS ARE INCORPORATED INTO THE MIXTURE. INCREASE MIXER SPEED TO MEDIUM AND CONTINUE MIXING FOR 2 MINUTES. THE RESULTING CHOUX PASTRY DOUGH SHOULD LOOK SMOOTH, SHINY, AND THICK ENOUGH TO PIPE WITHOUT LOSING ITS SHAPE. THE CHOUX PASTRY DOUGH IS NOW READY TO USE.

    BAKING THE CHOUX PASTRY DOUGH

     

    THE BEST SURFACE TO BAKE CHOUX PASTRY ITEMS ON IS A SILICON MAT OR A GREASED AND FLOURED SURFACE. TEST AFTER TEST IN OUR KITCHEN LAB SHOWED THAT BAKING ON PARCHMENT OR NON-STICK BAKING PAPER CAUSED THE CHOUX BUNS TO SPLIT AT THE BOTTOM, MAKING IT DIFFICULT TO FILL, AND ALSO DETRACTS FROM HAVING A PROFESSIONALLY-MADE APPEARANCE.

    OVEN TYPE AND TEMPERATURE IS ALSO VERY IMPORTANT. WE BAKED OUR CHOUX PASTRY ITEMS ON A REGULAR CONVENTIONAL DECK OVEN AT 190 DEGREES CELSIUS. SMALL ITEMS SUCH AS ECLAIRS AND CREAM PUFFS BAKED FOR 40 MINUTES. OVEN VENTS WERE LEFT CLOSED FOR THE FIRST HALF OF THE BAKING PROCESS, AND THEN OPENED FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE BAKING TIME, TO ALLOW STEAM TO ESCAPE AND DRY OUT THE CHOUX PASTRY ITEMS. 

    Here are some eclairs we made from the choux pastry recipe above. They possess all the qualities we look for in a perfect choux pastry item (in this case, eclairs)...crisp, no cracking, no splitting, completely hollow. PERFECTION...achieved!


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Comments

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  1. chefjoeyprats
    Hello Eric Brown, the ridges come from the pastry tube (tip) that I used. I use tip # 868 when making eclairs. This kind of tip is also called a French star tip. It contains more "teeth" than non-French star tips.
     
    This kind of tip allows the eclairs to bake into a final product with much less cracks than those piped from a plain round tip. The ridges act like an accordion which opens as the pastries expand during baking, thus, preventing cracks.
  2. chefjoeyprats
    Thanks everyone!
     
    Chef Nicko, here are some common mistakes that a lot of baking newbies make when making choux pastry...
    1. They don't weigh their ingredients. Baking is really a science, so accuracy and precision are very important when it comes to ingredient preparation. 
    2. Failure to dry the panade. This is a very important step in the choux pastry-making process. Drying the panade allows excess moisture to evaporate, allowing more eggs to be added into the mix. More eggs translates to more oven spring, and consequently, a puffier end product.
    3. Underbaking is another mistake that needs to be addressed. Most new bakers are so afraid of over-baking their choux pastries, that they tend to remove the items from the oven before they have had a chance to cook through and dry up. Moisture left in the choux pastry items after baking is the main cause of the buns collapsing. It is better to over-bake them a little, rather than under-baking.
     
    Choux pastry is one of those fundamental formulas that contain just a handful of ingredients. Recipes like this, in all it's simplicity, are easier to screw up. So, it is imperative that care be taken when executing them.
  3. etherial
    Perfection!  When I have time, I'm making these for my next banquet!
  4. eric brown
    What are the lines from? Did you use a tip on the bag? I would like to learn how to make mine pipe nicely.
  5. nicko
    Great article Chef thanks for sharing. What do you think are the biggest mistakes most new bakers make with Choux? 
  6. mdarya1989
    Wow seems delicious!
  7. vavaimanez
    looks amazing!