Cooking-ez.com

1,016 easy and fully explained recipes, with 12,356 photos and 77 videos

The blog of cooking-ez.com

Different kinds of pastry and dough


52,339 14.2/5 for 12 ratings
Grade this page:

Last modified on: November 6th 2012

Different kinds of pastry and dough

sweet crust pastry

First, take some flour…


When cooking in general, and particularly in baking, we can make and use many different kinds of pastry and dough. All built on the same "base": flour - a powder to which we add fat, liquid or both to produce the dough which is then cooked.

Here is a brief overview of these different doughs.

[Translator's note: in French, all doughs, pastries, batters and pasta are covered by just one word: “pâtes”, a feature of the original article that has been somewhat lost in this English version!]

Shortcrust pastry


short crust pastry


Shortcrust pastry (pâte brisée) is the most basic pastry, used for sweet or savoury tarts (it contains little or no sugar). The French version consists of around 50% flour and 50% butter and eggs. The British version is plainer: without eggs and traditionally made with lard (these days, this is more usually a white vegetable fat, possibly with some butter).
This is the pastry of our grandmothers, particularly my own, Jeanne, who made tarts for me when I was a nipper with apples from her orchard – a memory that still moves me.

Sweetcrust pastry


sweet crust pastry


Sweetcrust pastry (pâte sablée) is the pastry for sweet tarts. This is similar to shortcrust pastry, but with 15% sugar added, sometimes also (a great improvement!) with 15% ground almonds. It is fragile and crumbly, delicious on its own, so can be used just as it is to make biscuits.

Choux pastry


choux pastry


Choux pastry (pâte à choux) is the famous French dough used for éclairs, Saint-Honoré and profiteroles. It starts as a butter+water+milk+flour mixture, called “panade” in French, into which eggs are then incorporated. During cooking, the water contained in the dough turns to steam to form bubbles. This is trapped by the light crust forming on the outside, causing the choux pastry to puff up.

Puff or flaky pastry


puff pastry


Puff or flaky pastry (pâte feuilletée) is used for thin tart bases, pies, pasties, turnovers, mille-feuilles. This is a more technically involved pastry, consisting of a basic dough (the "détrempe" in French,) which is like a shortcrust pastry made with more water. This is rolled out and wrapped around a slab of butter, then folded and re-rolled a number of times to produce alternate layers of butter trapped between layers of dough.
During cooking, flaky layers form within the dough. The butter melts and the water turns to steam, so creating the puff pastry's characteristic light open texture.

Brioche dough


brioche dough


Brioche dough is the dough used for brioches, Kouglof and certain types of bread. The name covers rich doughs, made with yeast, which need time to rise. Brioche dough is enriched with butter and eggs and is best handled cold (the butter keeps it firm), but should then be left in a warm place to rise.

Croissant dough


croissants pastry


Croissant dough is a flaky raised dough used to make croissants and "pains au chocolat". It is like a sweetened cross between a simple yeast-raised dough and puff pastry. The dough is rolled with butter to create layers and is then left to rise, creating a very light texture. The downside is that it is technically involved and requires a great deal of work.

Fresh pasta dough (for lasagne, spaghetti, etc.)


pasta dough


The dough for fresh pasta is definitely the simplest of all to make: a mixture of flour, eggs and a little salt (a proportion of 1 egg to 100g flour). This dough is designed to be poached, i.e. cooked in boiling water for around 3 minutes.

Back to top of page

Lasts posts

  • The 3 essential knives
    The 3 essential knives

    You must have heard a chef or cook say: "There’s no good cooking without good ingredients". This ...

  • Using stretch food film effectively
    Using stretch food film effectively

    Maybe you use food film in your own kitchen. You know, the very thin, clear plastic stuff that you ...

  • The mock CAP baker's certificate exam
    The mock CAP baker's certificate exam

    The next instalment in my life as an apprentice baker at the French INBP professional school. I’m ...

  • Rosemary in recipes
    Rosemary in recipes

    Rosemary, as I’m sure you know, is a culinary herb: It is one of the famous French "herbes de ...

  • The Holy Grail of French bakers
    The Holy Grail of French bakers

    While browsing through the recipes on this site, you may have noticed that while I adore cooking ...

  • Is it really necessary to cream egg yolks?
    Is it really necessary to cream egg yolks?

    Let’s try and answer a question that crops up in cookery and patisserie, even if it verges on the ...

  • Egg yolks and caster sugar
    Egg yolks and caster sugar

    We often come across recipes where we need to mix egg yolks with caster sugar. This would appear to ...

  • The golden-brown finish on puff pastry
    The golden-brown finish on puff pastry

    Let's take a look at the tricky matter of producing puff pastry with an attractive, golden-brown ...

  • Other articles

  • See all posts
  • Random post
  • RSS feed

Other pages you may also like

Your 1 comments or questions on this page

Post your comment or question

You are welcome, if you wish, to comment on this page: why you like it or not, what you have changed, what results it gave, point out a mistake or omission, etc. You can also ask a question. I answer all questions (in a broken English, sorry) unless someone else does it before me.
Please feel free to say what you think, I'm always very interested in your opinion. Your comment will appear on line with the page, so please write in standard readable English, not SIM or only in CAPITALS, otherwise your comment may be rejected.

Please look at advice for submitting a comment or image (what you should or should not do). By the way, don't type your e-mail address in the comment, otherwise you might be spammed.

I am not a leaving thing

Follow this page (as 2 people already do)

If you are interested in this page, you can "follow" it, by entering your email address here. You will then receive a notification immediately each time the page is modified or a new comment is added. Please note that you will need to confirm this following.
I am not a leaving thing
Note: We'll never share your email with anyone else.
Alternatively: you can subscribe to the mailing list of cooling-ez.com , you will receive a e-mail for each new recipe published on the site.

Back to top of page