How To Make Vegan Puff Pastry

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Vegan Puff Pastry

I'm obsessed with vegan baking because unlike traditional cooking, there are nearly no limits or boundaries to creating completely new forms of food. Effectively harnessing your imagination is the only truly required skill. Developing this skill, as well as understanding the fundamentals of baking allows you to create true art forms. Then you get to eat them.

Puff pastry is a truly remarkable building block for vegan baking because of its versatility. It can be the basis of anything from flaky layers enveloping fruit, coiled into rolls such as sticky buns, or twirled into cinnamon and sugar twists.

Referred to in France as pâte feuilletée which means pastry made leaf-like, puff pastry is made of several hundred alternating layers of dough and fat. The water in the dough produces steam during baking that separates and lifts the layers into the puffy goodness that we know and love. This steam-assisted lift is known as chemical leavening. Puff pastry often gets a bad rap due to the many steps of preparation involved. Puff pastry can be a truly time intensive endeavor- if you let it. I recommend splitting the preparation into little pieces and working at it a little bit at a time over a few days. This way you'll only spend a total of about an hour on it. You also have the option of making your puff pastry and storing it in the freezer for a special occasion or for that day when you can no longer resist some sticky caramel cinnamon buns.

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Vegan Puff Pastry Recipe

For the puff pastry dough

1 ½ cups bread flour
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt

½ cup (107 grams) Regular Vegan Butter or non-hydrogenated stick margarine (not tub margarine) cut into ½ inch pieces

1 cup ice cold water
1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice

For the Vegan Butter square

1 ¼ cups (269 grams) Regular Vegan Butter or non-hydrogenated stick margarine, cut into 1 Tablespoon-size pieces and cold (do not use tub margarine)
¼ cup (54 grams) Vegan Shortening or store bought shortening (½ stick), cut into 1 Tablespoon-size pieces, cold
¼ cup all-purpose flour

For the dough wash

1 Tablespoon soy milk
1 Tablespoon amber agave syrup

1) Prepare the dough

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the bread flour and 1 ¼ cups of the all-purpose flour and salt.

If using an electric stand mixer

Add the flour and salt to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the Vegan Butter and mix until the dough forms a sticky ball, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and mix for another 30 seconds or until the butter pieces are no longer visible. Drizzle in the water and lemon juice and mix for another 30 seconds or until the dough forms a smooth sticky ball. If the dough is too wet and doesn't come away from the sides of the bowl, add up to ¼ cup of all-purpose flour in 1 Tablespoon increments until you get the desired texture.

If mixing by hand

Add the flour and salt mixture to a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Use a pastry cutter to cut in the Vegan Butter until the mixture has pea-sized chunks of butter. Drizzle in the ice water and lemon juice and mix using the mixing spoon until just combined and the butter pieces are no longer visible. Transfer the mixture to a clean counter and quickly knead until the butter starts coming off in your hands, about 30 seconds.  If the dough is initially too wet, add up to ¼ cup of all-purpose flour in 1 Tablespoon increments until you get the desired texture.

2) Refrigerate the dough

Roll the dough into a ball and use a sharp knife to cut an X shape into the top, extending halfway through the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.

3) Prepare the Vegan Butter square

In a medium mixing bowl add the 1 ¼ cups Vegan Butter pieces, the half stick of shortening pieces, ¼ cup all-purpose flour and mix on low until just combined. Place the mixture on a sheet of plastic wrap and use a bench scraper to shape to a rough 6 inch square. Wrap the Vegan Butter square in the plastic wrap and shape it to a more accurate square. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Fat Square

4) Make your puff pastry envelope

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, coat your rolling pin with four and roll out along the X to 12 inches square. Roll three times in each direction using long even strokes, dusting your rolling pin with flour as necessary. Remove the Vegan Butter from the plastic wrap and place it diagonally on top of the dough.

Place the fat square diagonally on the dough

Fold the corners of the dough over the Vegan Butter as if you're wrapping it like a gift. Pinch the dough ends together to seal.

Fold the corners of the dough over the fat square

5) Build your vegan puff pastry layers with turns

Use a rolling pin to lightly tap the dough, starting from the center and working your way towards the edges until the square becomes bigger. This helps make the fat pliable so it can be rolled with the dough. Carefully roll the dough out to 14 inches square. Feel free to dust the dough with flour if it begins to stick to anything.

Roll the dough out to 14 inches square

Fold the dough in three folds like a tri-fold business letter. This is known as a turn in the laminated dough world.

Fold the dough

Fold the dough like a tri-fold business letter

Now turn the dough 180 degrees and fold it in three folds again so it turns into a square. This counts as another turn.

Turn the dough 180 degrees and fold again

Fold the dough like a tri-fold business letter

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. The refrigeration allows the fats to resolidify and the gluten in the dough to relax. This causes the dough becomes more pliable and elastic while maintaining it's strength. Now is a great time to take a break for a day or so. It's important to not let the dough sit in the refrigerator for more than 3 days because it can start to discolor.

6) Repeat your puff pastry turns

Repeat Step 5 two more times so you have a total of 6 turns. This will give you a total of 2187 layers of fat and dough.

How to use puff pastry

You now have a world of possibilities awaiting you with your puff pastry which includes turnovers, sticky buns, napoleons, palmiers, cinnamon twists and even pie crusts. Don't be afraid to let your creativity take control and invent your own desserts. Just keep in mind that the crispy flakiness of puff pastry is often a perfect match with fruit-based fillings or creamy layers. Use the dough wash by applying a coating to the puff pastry with a pastry brush right before you bake it for a golden brown exterior.

Puff pastry can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months. Just cover the top of the dough with parchment paper, carefully roll the dough into a cylinder and double wrap with plastic wrap before freezing. Remove the puff pastry from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator to thaw the night before using.
This recipe makes one 20 x 15 inch rectangle of Vegan Puff Pastry.

Vegan puff pastry

Get a price on the Dough Scraper/Cutter I Recommend at Amazon.

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This Time Yeh

This is the best puff pastry recipe(guide) that I've seen. It now has given me confidence to try again with a good idea of each stage. Thank you

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(Updated: January 12, 2016)

Technical correction

I think you meant to turn the dough 90° (not 180° as stated).

Each fold, turn, fold multiplies the layers by 9. So after the envelope, then fold turn fold you have 9 layers.

Then refrigerate an hour, then roll out, fold, turn, fold, you now have 81 layers.

Am I supposed to refrigerate it again for an hour at this point?

The next roll out, fold, turn, fold yields 729 layers (not 2187). To get 2187 layers, you would need to roll it out again and fold into a long rectangle and then roll it out (without creating a square). Had I turned and then folded to create a square again, I would have had 6561 layers.

Is it necessary to refrigerate the dough for an hour in between rolling it out again each time before the fold turn fold step?

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I wonder whether you have ever tried taking inspiration from baklava for creating vegan puff pastry? Baklava is after all more or less the pastry's vegan ancestor.

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Finally Made It

Finally made this. Way easier than I thought though it seems there is a TON of fat in it. Guess that's the way it works. I'm going to use it to make my vegan "turkey" for T-day. I'll stuff it with marinated, fried tofu, home-made seitan, stuffing, and roasted vegetables. Topped with wild mushroom gravy. All vegan this year. If it DOESN'T turn out great, I'll let you know.

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Whole wheat flour

Hi Mattie

I was so happy to find this recipe, I'm vegan and the best dish I wanted to eat for a long time Turkish borek . Thank you for the exact explanations. I wanted to know if i can replace the bread flour in Whole wheat flour?

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amazing recipe!

Thank you Mattie for this recipe!
We have a vegan couple coming in to our restaurant in a coupe of days and my boss wanted to do a vegan "wellington".
The puff pastry was delicious as we did a test run tonight. Everyone, follow the recipe and instructions and you won't be disappointed!

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so excited to make this this weekend! wondering if i can replace the shortening with earth balance butter? also, do you have a great recipe for vegan danishes? thank you :)

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vegan puff pastry

Can I use pastry flour instead? and how much
This looks great

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Dough Wash for Savory Recipes

Hi Mattie

Thank you for a really well put together recipe for Vegan Puff :)

Have you had any success with a savory dough wash? I've tried melted vegan 'butter', egg replacers, oils... all with no success. I'd love to have your suggestions.


Owner's reply

So glad you like the Puff Pastry recipe Ian! I actually use this dough wash for both sweet and savory puff pastry/croissant dough/etc. The sugar in the agave syrup caramelizes and the proteins in the soy milk roast which gives the puff pastry a dark sheen that's not actually sweet.

I keep experimenting with different dough washes and I always come back to this one. The half amber agave and half soy milk is easy to remember too. At some point it would be nice to have a dough wash that produces a glossy sheen like egg washes do. Let me know if you break any ground on vegan dough washes. I'd love to hear about it!

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Hey thanks for this--I make a vegetarian puff pastry "turkey" every year for Thanksgiving but it's never been vegan. So next year, it's going to be. BUT, I too would like to know how much this makes. I need 2 fairly large sheets so looks like I'll be needing to double this recipe. Thanks.

Owner's reply

That puff pastry turkey sounds awesome dougep! This recipe makes one 20x15 inch rectangle. Good luck!

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This looks great! Thanks so much for the step by step. How many servings does it make? I'm baking for 100+

Thanks :)

Owner's reply

Thanks Brittney! This recipe makes one 20x15 inch rectangle of puff pastry.

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Bread flour?

Hey Mattie, this looks great and I'm excited to try it! Why do you use bread flour and all-purpose rather than pastry flour? I thought bread flour was high gluten and you want low gluten content for flakiness in pastries. Thanks!

Owner's reply

Thanks karp505! It's my understanding that medium-high gluten is required for puff pastry; just enough to develop a strong sheet that will act as a layer between the fats but not so tough that it gets in the way of dough stretchability and elasticity. If the flour had a gluten content that was too low, it wouldn't develop the pliable sheet and it would break apart, allowing the fats to join, reducing layers, flakiness and rise.

But I could be wrong. Someday soon I want to start experimenting with gluten-free puff pastry so I hope I am!

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This looks like a brilliant recipe! Thanks!
Although you only mentioned sweets, I assume this would be suitable for savory recipes as well?

Owner's reply

Thanks Ebony! This Puff Pastry recipe is definitely suitable for savory stuff.

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I had so much fun making this puff pastry over the weekend. The instructions were clear and easy to follow thank you sooooo much!!

Owner's reply

Puff pastry is easy once you know the method but conveying the method is the hard part;) Glad it was clear for you skinnyvegan!

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thank you for help us find ways to replace animal products and still be able to enjoy desserts, bake goods ,etc.
you/re genious my daughter ask me if I can bake her meringues and i was so ignorant and told her no way those are made out of eggs and I saw your recipe today
thank you

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Touring the Laminated Dough World

This recipe looks good. I especially like the fact there's a builder's measuring tape in the photos, which speaks to puff pastry's great architectural potential. What brand of shortening and margarine do you recommend?

Owner's reply

Hi Matt, Builder's measuring tape is there to show that I'm not effing around;) I recommend Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (not tub margarine, which has too much water). I also recommend Vegan Butter:
Good luck!

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When do you use the dough wash?

Owner's reply

Hi Morgan,

I just updated the recipe under How to Use Puff Pastry to include instructions on applying the dough wash. Basically, you apply it with a pastry brush right before you bake it to ensure the puff pastry has a golden brown exterior. Thanks for the feedback!

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Barbara: The Better Batter Flour website has a recipe using the product to make Croissants, since it's essentially the same process that may work. I also like your idea of GF bread flours. I need to get my hands on some of King Arthur's.

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Oh, the memories

Great tutorial, as always. I used to love making puff pastry, and danishes, and kringles and braids and all those Swedish puff pastry yummies. Then I went Vegan, Gluten, Corn and Soy free. I want puff pastry but the curve is making my brain freeze. Now that I have vegan butter though, I may have to try again. :-)
I love this site, Mattie.

Owner's reply

Hi Laurelvb, I'm working on a gluten-free flour blend that will hopefully be compatible with puff pastry. I'll post it when I'm done testing!

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I am gluten-free, and wondering if this recipe would work with g-f bread and regular flours just as well. Would LOVE to be able to make puff pastry!

Owner's reply

Hi Barbara, I haven't attempted puff pastry with gluten-free flour but it's a great idea. I imagine a good gf blend with maybe a teensy amount of xanthan gum would allow it to be crispy and stay together though. Let me know if you have any luck with it!

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