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Pastry and bakery dough families


 Pastry and bakery dough families
There are many kinds, or families, of pastry and bakery doughs, depending on whether you want to make a tart, a cake, a pie, a brioche, croissants and so on.

I'll try to give you a quick overview of all these doughs, how they're classified, and what they're used for.
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Last modified on: November 16th 2020

Keywords for this post:PastryDoughDifferencesTexture
Pastry and bakery dough families

Shortcrust pastry (or "tart dough")

These are the simplest, with no yeast in them, just a mixture of flour, butter, sugar and sometimes egg. They include shortcrust, shortbread, sweet and dark pastry. They're all based on the same principle, changing only the weights of butter and sugar, mainly.

Their specificity, if you like, is that you don't work them, or you work them as little as possible. As soon as the mixture is done, you stop everything, and you don't insist, because otherwise the gluten network will start to build up, and your dough will become elastic, which is something you really don't want.


Battered dough

These are the doughs used for cakes, sponge cakes, choux pastry, etc. This is achieved either by whipping in air during kneading, or by adding baking powder, which causes the dough to swell during cooking.


Puff pastry

These doughs are more complex to make: you start by kneading a simple, lightly buttered dough, called a "détrempe", to which you then add butter, enclosing it in the "détrempe". The whole thing is then folded several times ("turns") to obtain the famous puff pastry. This is mainly puff pastry.


Leavened dough

You guessed it, they're going to rise! And that's all because baker's yeast is added to it, which causes the dough to rise after a fairly long resting period in a warm place. These are doughs that are kneaded for a long time, often with butter: brioche dough, bread pudding dough, Viennoise dough, etc.


Croissants dough

As its french name suggests (pâte levée-feuilletée), this is the fusion of the 2 previous types: We still prepare a distemper, but there's baker's yeast in it, and then we also incorporate butter by "tourage".

The dough is then rolled out, left to rise, and finally baked, giving a delicious mix of crispiness and softness. This is the dough used for croissants and pains au chocolat, the most technical of all, but also the one that makes the majority of viennoiseries.


That's it, we've done the grand tour (I'm deliberately leaving out bread and pizza doughs), and here you have the essentials of the doughs you could make at home, or perhaps already do.

I hope I've made you want to knead, or at least made you hungry...

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