Lamination is a technique used in baking to create flaky, layered pastries such as croissants, Danish pastries, and puff pastry. It involves repeatedly rolling and folding a dough with butter to create multiple layers. The layers of dough and butter are then baked, and the steam generated from the melting butter causes the layers to rise, creating the flaky texture.
Here's a step-by-step guide on how to laminate dough:
Start with a basic dough recipe, such as a croissant dough or puff pastry dough. The dough should be soft and pliable, but not too sticky.
Prepare the butter layer. The butter should be soft, but not too soft or it will ooze out of the dough during the lamination process. You can soften butter by leaving it out at room temperature for a few hours or by microwaving it for a few seconds. Be careful not to melt the butter.
Roll out the dough into a rectangular shape. The dough should be about 1/4 inch thick and about twice as long as it is wide.
Place the butter on top of the dough, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges.
Fold the dough over the butter, sealing the edges with your fingers.
Roll the dough out again into a rectangular shape, being careful not to squeeze the butter out of the dough. The dough should be about 1/4 inch thick and about twice as long as it is wide.
Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter. This is called a "single fold."
Roll the dough out again into a rectangular shape and fold it into thirds again. This is called a "double fold."
Repeat the process of rolling and folding the dough two more times, for a total of four single folds or two double folds.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour or overnight. This allows the dough to rest and the gluten to relax, which will make it easier to roll out and also help to create flakier layers.
Preheat your oven to the temperature specified in your recipe.
Roll out the dough one more time, if necessary, and cut it into the desired shape. Place the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake according to your recipe's instructions.
Lamination is a time-consuming process, but it is worth the effort to create flaky, layered pastries. Here are a few tips to help you succeed:
Keep everything cold. The dough and butter should be cold when you start the lamination process, and it's a good idea to keep them cold throughout the process. If the dough or butter becomes too soft, refrigerate it for a few minutes to firm it up.
Roll the dough evenly. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a uniform thickness. If the dough is thinner in some areas than others, the layers may not bake evenly.
Be patient. Lamination takes time, especially if you are doing it by hand. Don't rush the process, as this can result in uneven layers or a dough that is too soft and difficult to work with.