Information - Gluten free Flaky pastry


For weeks (actually months or maybe even years :) ) I've been working on (and still am) different ways of making gluten free puff pastry with Bakers' Magic flour. 

There are a couple of things that I've been focusing on so that I can post a recipe(s) that is/are easy (relatively) to follow and produces a finished product that anyone who eats it will say "Oh my - that is so good" regardless of whether they are on a gluten free diet or not. Some of the things that I've been doing are changing the;



amounts of ingredients

ways of folding

preparation of dough - adding the butter block


baking temperature & time


Regardless of the different methods used I feel the number 1 most important thing with flaky pastry is ensuring that there are defined pastry layers with as much butter between those layers as possible. 


How do we produce layered pastry? The process of layering dough with, in this case butter, is called laminating.

Basically to laminate a dough;

1. The dough is rolled out. 

2. Butter is placed on top of the dough (chunks of butter, butter block, butter slice, grated butter). 

3. Some of the dough is folded over the butter enclosing it. 

4. The dough is rolled out again. 

5. The dough is folded (& therefore folding the butter inside). 

6. Steps 4 and 5 are repeated a couple of times (the number of times the dough is folded will depend on how it is folded - rolled up & then double book turn, double book turn, single turn).

 The following diagrams show the laminating process including how the butter layers form. 

In the first diagram the butter 'slab' is encased in dough and rolled out between layers of dough. 


The dough that has had one single turn is folded & rolled out again. The second fold will create 6 layers of butter.  

 I routinely do six single turns when I'm making gluten free puff pastry - there are a lot of layers :). 

The following photos are of a laminated yeast dough (Danish pastry), the first one is prior to baking and the second is after baking. In both cases the distinct layers can be seen.  


What makes the dough rise? 

Although butter is mainly fat it also contains approximately 15% water. During the baking process when the baking temperature is hot enough the water in the butter will turn into steam. It may only be a little bit of water that is in between the layers however the space that is taken up by the water increases by approximately 1600 times. Basically the steam generated will lift and separate those wonderful dough layers. 

Adding yeast to the dough will give it extra lift and a wonderful flavour (I really, really love Danish pastry). 

What makes the pastry crispy and so very nom?

Essentially the fine layers of dough that are coated in butter are baked in butter. The finer the layer of dough the more likely it will become crisp during baking. Adding a tiny amount of sugar to the recipe helps with the crispiness and will contribute to the beautiful golden colour.

Is gluten free puff pastry easy to make?

It can be (& it is a lot less time consuming than making wheat based puff pastry). My daughter timed how long it took me to laminate the dough & then roll it out for use - only 10 mins. 

What are some of the 'things' that make it hard to make puff pastry?

a) Consistency of the dough and butter. Ideally the butter and dough should be able to be rolled out together. If the dough is soft and the butter is hard (frozen or 4 degrees) the butter may tear through the dough and layers mightn't form (you may have some layers). If the butter is too soft it might combine with a soft dough during the rolling process, this will result in no layers.

I have used frozen grated butter, butter from the fridge (grated & as a block) and room temperature (~18 degrees) butter. 

All of these will produce puff pastry however the recipe of the dough needs to be adjusted. My favourite method uses my room temperature butter (& this recipe needs to be added to the website  - sorry :)). 

b) Rolling out the dough too thinly while laminating it. Doing this will ensure the layers are squashed & there will be no layers.

In the past I've used a plastic laminated A4 sheet of paper underneath my pastry mat as a size guide when rolling out the dough. Doing this ensured that I only rolled the dough out to a certain size (sort of). 

c) Butter is not fully encased in the dough. During baking the butter will leak out between the layers resulting in a pastry that is not well defined and not crispy. 

d) Type of gluten free flour used. A flour that produces a flexible dough is a big help - if you are reading this I'm hoping that you are familiar with the flexibility of dough made with Bakers' Magic gluten free flour and this one shouldn't be a problem for you.



The main ingredients are going to be flour, water, salt, butter and optional sugar, yeast and flavours. 

Yeast - will add flavour & lift to the finished pastry.

Sugar - will increase the crispiness of the finished pastry and change the flavour slightly. Sugar must be added if making a yeasted dough. 

Flavours - vanilla & cardamon are wonderful additions.


Amount of ingredients

Water - Increasing the amount of water will increase the flexibility of the dough but also it's stickiness. I routinely use 400 g water to 400 g flour. 

Sugar - Increasing the amount of sugar will increase the crispiness of the finished pastry. Yeast activity will increase if making a yeasted dough, if the dough is proved for too long (or left on the bench for too long) some layers may lose their definition. I routinely use 5 g to 60 g of sugar. 

Butter - Is used in the dough & for laminating. If too little butter is put in the dough, the dough will absorb some of the butter used for laminating, resulting in less defined layers. Too much butter will seep out of the dough during baking.

I use 325 g - 375 g for making the butter 'block' when making puff pastry with 400 g Bakers' Magic gluten free flour. I have used 250 g (not enough) and 500 g (simply toooooo much, but I had to try).  


Ways of folding

I fold 1/3 of the dough in on top of 1/3 then fold in the other side on top when using 400 g flour. Other ways can be used to fold however the layers may become squashed. 


Preparation of dough - adding the butter 'block'

Grating the butter over the dough - this method is used for Fabulous Flaky PastryDanish Pastry, Almond & Chocolate Croissants and Sourdough Croissants.

Grating the butter as a butter block - this method is used for Danish Pastry Too and Rough Puff Pastry.

Using a 'slab' of butter, the butter covers approximately 2/3rds of the dough. This method is used for Puff Pastry

Baking temperature & time

It will depend on your oven & what you are baking. I routinely use 180 C - 210 C.