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Gluten-Free Puff Pastry

Gluten-Free Puff Pastry

Gluten Free Puff PastryThis is Round Two of the Gluten-Free Flour Blend Test: The Pastry Challenge. Day One? Better Batter Gluten-Free Flour in my go-to recipe for Traditional Puff Pastry.

Are you new around here? {By the way, you look fabulous today.} The test comprises Four All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blends (Better Batter, Cup4Cup, Jules & Tom Sawyer) in each of four recipe categories (cake, pastry, bread, cookies). Scoring in 10 different categories, all described on the main page of the test. May the best flour win!

Gluten Free Puff Pastry

You might not be surprised to learn that I have used Better Batter flour to make puff pastry many times. So I pretty much knew what to expect. And it went off just as it always has.

The end result is super flaky. The crust basically shatters when you bite into it. Just what you want in puff pastry. Nothing missing here.

But … the dough is not quite as smooth as it is when using traditional, gluten-containing flour. It just … isn’t. See, that doesn’t surprise me, since all-purpose flour should be good for all purposes, but not great for every purpose. That holds true whether it’s gluten-free or gluten-y.

See how the dough (pictured here under the butter packet) isn’t perfectly smooth?

Gluten Free Puff Pastry

The more you roll it, the more it smooths out. But the edges are still a bit jagged. It still works, though. If Better Batter had more starch, it wouldn’t be good for as many purposes, but it would be better and smoother in puff pastry.

Gluten Free Puff Pastry

The enclosed butter packet, ready for its first roll.

Gluten Free Puff Pastry

No longer a packet, it’s been rolled into a long rectangle about 1/2 inch thick, and it’s ready for its first turn. To learn more about the turns, see my Cornmeal Biscuits post and my Yeasted Puff Pastry recipe made into custard-filled pastries.

And if you plan to make your own gluten-free puff pastry (which, sadly, is really the only way you’re going to get your hands on gluten-free puff pastry, unless you live within shouting distance of my house), be sure to read through all of the directions in the recipe below before beginning.

Gluten Free Puff Pastry

With each “turn,” it helps to make indentations in the dough with your knuckle that correspond to the number of turns you have completed. This was taken after the fourth turn.

Gluten Free Puff Pastry

There really is no end to the ways you can use puff pastry. Sweet or savory, it’s always a winner.

Roll it a bit more than 1/8 inch thick, and use it to make cheese straws or to top a Chicken Pot Pie (page 158 in my first cookbook). Slice into 2 inch x 4 inch rectangles, pierce with a fork to “dock” the pastry, bake at 350 degrees F until golden brown (about 12 minutes), and layer with berries and cream.

Here’s how Better Batter did:

Pastry Challenge

Better Batter
Score (1-10)

Cup for cup replacement claim10
Cup for cup replacement result8.5
Ease of use8.5
Raw texture8.5
Cooked texture9.5
Finished appearance10
Finished taste10
Mouth feel10

And now for the gluten free puff pastry recipe…

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Prep time: Cook time:


2 cups (280g) all-purpose gluten-free flour (here I used Better Batter), plus more for dusting

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

4 tablespoons (56g) unsalted butter, kept cold

1/3 to 1/2 cup cold water, iced (ice doesn’t count in volume measurement)

4 tablespoons (35g) all-purpose gluten-free flour (here I used Better Batter)

16 tablespoons (224g) cold unsalted butter


  • In a large bowl, place the 2 cups flour and salt, and whisk to combine well. Chop the 4 tablespoons cold butter into large chunks, and place them into the bowl of dry ingredients. Gently stir the butter in the flour, to cover the chunks of butter with flour. With well-floured hands, press each chunk of butter flat between your thumb and forefinger.
    Create a well in the dry ingredients, and add 1/3 cup of ice water to the center. With a nonreactive spoon, stir the mixture to combine. Add more ice water by the tablespoon until the dough stays together when pressed. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, cover and press together into a ball. Place in the refrigerator to chill until firm, about 1 hour.

  • While the dough is chilling, make the butter packet. Dust a sheet of unbleached parchment paper with 2 tablespoons of flour. Place the two sticks of butter, side by side and touching one another, in the center of the flour. Sprinkle the butter with the remaining 2 tablespoons flour. Cover with another sheet of parchment paper, and pound the butter with the rolling pin to begin to flatten it and to press the two sticks of butter together. Remove the top sheet of parchment, fold the butter in half, and cover once more. Pound again until flat, and repeat the process until you have a butter packet that is about 5 inches square. Place the butter packet in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes, or until beginning to firm a bit.

  • Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator, and place it on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Sprinkle with more flour, and cover with another sheet of parchment. Press and roll the dough until it is about a 9 inch round. Remove the top sheet of parchment, and place the chilled butter packet in the center of the round of dough. Lightly score the perimeter of the butter packet, and set just the butter packet aside. Dust the top of the dough once more with flour, and roll out the dough from the 4 scoring marks and out, away from the center of the dough, to create 4 flaps. Dust with more flour as necessary to prevent the rolling pin from sticking to the dough. Place the butter packet back in the center of the dough, and fold the 4 flaps onto the butter like you would the bottom of a cardboard box. Press the dough around the butter packet to seal it in.

  • Replace the top parchment paper, and press and roll the dough away from you into a long rectangle that is about 1/2 inch thick. Starting at a short side, fold the rectangle into thirds as you would a business letter (see photo). Turn the dough so an open end of the dough is facing you, and roll it, covered in parchment and dusted again with flour, into another long rectangle, the same size and shape. Fold in the same manner, once again, starting at a short side and folding into thirds. You have just completed the first “turn.” With a floured knuckle, make one single impression on the dough, to represent the completion of one turn. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until firm, about 30 minutes (or the freezer for 10 or 15 if you’re in a rush rush rush).

  • Once the dough is firm, remove it from the refrigerator, flour the outside and place between two sheets of parchment paper. Once again, with an open end of the folded dough facing you, roll away from you and into a long rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Fold once more, and mark the dough twice with your knuckle, to represent two completed turns.
    Refrigerate until firm, and repeat the process of rolling, folding, marking and chilling for a total of 5 turns (6 if you’re really diligent). Store folded in thirds and wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.



P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up your copy of Bakes Bread. I’m truly so grateful for your support!

  • Really liking this series. And thanks for the knuckle tip. That’s a good thing for people like me who forget what the heck I was doing or how many times I was doing it… I miss puff pastry. But no more. Thanks!

    • Every puff pastry recipe I have ever seen suggests marking the dough, but they don’t seem to ever make clear that you have to mark it anew with each turn. In other words, you don’t just mark it once after the first turn, and then mark it just one more time after the second. After the second, you mark it twice, since with each new turn, you’re rolling smooth the previous turn’s markings. Maybe I’m just rather dense, but it took me quite a while to figure that out!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Deanne

    Aaahhhhhh!!! There IS a GOD!! Puff Pastry deprivation has been my biggest hurdle to overcome in the gluten-free world…but NO MORE!! Thanks to my beloved Nicole Hunn-ny!! You are my Gluten-free-Goddess!!! I can’t wait to give this a try!! Now…if you could just figure out a way to eliminate the calories, so I can eat two & a half PILES of this stuff, then I’d be even MORE grateful! :)

    • Hi, Deanne!
      No deprivation for you! No way, man. I’m here to say: no way. For the calorie-free version, share with a friend and pin all the calories on her. A really good friend will understand. Tell her that. ;)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Jenna

    This looks wonderful (and just the type of nerdly kitchen experiment I love. Pure bliss is an afternoon playing in the kitchen with my equally dorky spouse!) and something I’m going to have to try soon. Thanks for yet another rung on the GF ladder to reach for. I use to use puff pastry all the time (before celiac diagnosis) and I truly miss it’s versatility.

    Also? I’m thrilled to see that you are going to put up your own GF-all-purpose hack at long last. 90% of the time, I mix up various versions of my own and I am looking forward to seeing what you use. While I understand the appeal of the purchased mixes… well. Between the price (I’m cheap) and the shock I got when I finally bought BB (Last week was a week of glory AND despair. Bought BB finally to try the doughnut recipe with. Had my first stunning glorious doughnut in 3 1/2 years… quickly followed by an epi-pen inducing despair when I found out that the ‘made on a line with nuts’ thing whacked me but good!) I have had to pretty much swear off buying premade anymore. Really looking forward to seeing what you come up with. No… off to see just HOW much butter I have in the freezer to start working on the Puff!

    • Hi, Jenna,
      I’m really glad you’re excited about making puff pastry!
      Are you saying that you had an anaphylactic reaction to Better Batter? They have been tree nut free for a year now, so unless you used an older package somehow, I can’t imagine how Better Batter could have triggered a tree nut allergy. I believe that Naomi Poe herself is tree nut allergic, even, and safely uses the flour. Good thing you had your epi pen ready! Maybe you reacted to one of the other ingredients in the doughnuts?
      xoxo Nicole

      • Jenna

        The older package is highly possible – the local health food store has had issues with rotating their stock. From old packages to “helping” folks by grinding vast amounts of brown rice in store… and leaving it to sit at hot store temps for 6 months. (I’m ‘lucky’, I’m one of the small percentage of folks who can taste grain rancidity. When I called to complain… I got a “Oh, you mean brown rice can go BAD? How were WE to know” and found out quite a few folks have gotten sick. ) I should know better then to shop there. It was either an old package with nut traces, or they have either latex shoots (common with flour plants – and an allergy that makes me crazy. As this is a family site – lets just say I discovered THAT allergy on my wedding night. And my husband and I spent the rest of the week playing video games. Le Sigh) or they randomly have something in the plant with bananas. (Seriously – if I was a building, my parents would never have been given a permit to have me. My genes are frustratingly wacky) It’s kinda been a week of discovering new ‘issues’. First the BB, then my mom accidentally glutened me during a visit, and today… I’m back in a epi-haze because the gelato my husband bought me to cheer me up switched it’s ingredients since the last time we purchased it, and we were both too dim to check a supposed safe… and failed to notice the “Trace tree-nuts” new warning.

        Honestly, it’s one of the reasons why I was so happy to see your post for puff pasty this morning. I refuse to get back into the bad headspace of last year and simply stop eating for fear of allergies or gluten. (The first 70 lbs I lost off my 6’2 frame I could use… but simply not eating caused about another 75 to go. Size 8 from 22 sounds great – but not if it’s due to being too scared to eat and you do it in a huge whack!) I just have to accept I’m not going to be buying easy ready made items anymore. Time to stop wasting money, time, and getting really ill by risking it, put that hope aside, and just get my geeky joy at cooking and exploring back. If I HAVE to cook 100% from scratch – then dang it. It’s going to be AWESOME. Not to be too fan-girly gushy at you, but just so you know – you’re making a real difference in my life. It’s been a seriously bad haul, and I’ve been really ill (and, if I’m honest, past the border of real depression because of it for a while now) – and sites like this, and folks like you are helping me climb out. I’m never gonna be ‘normal’ (granted, a Ren Faire costumer/bard who occasionally works security and has had jobs like “Giant Squirrel” isn’t all THAT normal to start!) but I can get my life, my fun, and yeah – my food back. If you ever wonder if what you’re doing is really helping folks? Take it from me – you aren’t ‘just’ a blogger. It’s not ‘just’ cookbooks. You’re giving folks back not only normality but a good dose of hope. (And the occasional kick in the butt to get back into the kitchen!)

        • Hi, Jenna,
          You poor thing. You certainly do have an active immune system! I want you to know that you really can trust Better Batter’s products, if you ever feel like trying it again. But I can also understand wanting to exercise more control over what you eat.
          I’m so happy that I’ve been able to help you rediscover a sense of possibility in food. You can and should eat well, and, like you said, it’s going to be “awesome.” Now get back in that kitchen!
          xoxo Nicole
          P.S. Your husband sounds like a real keeper. :)

  • Oh, this is AWESOME…I love puff pastry…and this would be fabulous for sweet or savory things, too!!! thanks for the recipe. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

    • It’s perfect for everything, Heather. Indeed. I’m actually thinking about wrapping my children in it. I don’t think they’d mind. :)
      xoxo Nicole

      • That’s funny, because I’ll bet the kids would love to “eat” their way out of that puff pastry :) :)

        I remember, ages ago now, when my father took me to Redondo Beach Pier…and there was this one food stand that sold these flaky dough pastries…the same kind of flaky dough used for baklava…but it was with ground beef…so tasty good delicious…and I’m thinking this puff pastry would be awesome to make that!!!

        Oh, by the way, do you still have any food struggles while eating gluten free? For me it’s coffee…

        Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

        • You find that you can’t have coffee while eating gluten-free? I drink coffee all the time…
          The dough typically used for baklava is filo dough, which is a bit different than puff pastry since it is typically very thin sheets of dough with butter between the sheets, instead folded into the dough itself like puff pastry, but this would certainly work beautifully!
          xoxo Nicole

          • Yeah, coffee really is hard for me, because I always have to add dairy and sugar…and while those are gluten free, too…I am avoiding them, because they don’t agree with my body. So for me, I have to avoid the coffee all-together, because it’s a trigger food for other culinary indiscretions :)

  • Wow! That looks very good! I love how the browning looks very nice and even. The texture looks great. Some GF flours are just too stiff to do something like this puff pastry with. The Better Batter looks pretty good – I’ve never tried it.

    • Hi, Gina!
      Thanks for stopping by. The texture of the finished product is spot on. Wait ’till you see the raw dough in the next one. ;)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Kristi

    Well I was scared to make sourdough (make that intimidated) and I did it and my family loves your recipe! Now I am intimidated by puff pastry. If I made really great coffee and something yummy for breakfast, could you just come by and lend me a hand? How I would love that!

    • How about July 2012, in California, my friend? I’ll do a private demo. :) Oh how I would love that, too. Pencil me in?
      xoxo Nikki

      • Kristi


  • So great that you have found a mix that you are happy with for puff pastry!! I have tried and given up numerous times… I find that my problems are usually 1.) butter breakthrough upon rolling out the détrampe the first time – and once the butter comes through the dough it seems no act of repairing on my part will keep the butter at bay – and 2.) because of #1, when I bake mine the butter oozes out since it is no longer confined to its requisite layers, and thus essentially fries the outside as it cooks rather than creating lovely steam pockets to puff into layers. I’ve read that puff pastry should puff to 6x its normal height, but because of my issues I’ve never gotten GF puff pastry to “puff” at all. I’ve tried different mixes systematically altering the starch ratio of my GF mix, using gums or not, different butter temperatures, different techniques of making my first packet, and yet always seems to deal with the same issues. So far the best I’ve come up with is a very crispy sort of fried pie crust like result, which while tasty, isn’t really “puff” pastry without the “puff” part. Any tips on what I’m doing wrong?

    • Hey, Jenn!
      Thanks for stopping by. :)
      Yup. I have a few ideas for sure. And I love how scientific you are about this. That means you’re going to be successful – and it’s going to be fun (well, for me).
      First, I’m not sure what flour blend you’re using, but although nearly any blend should be possible if the method is right (since most of the success of puff pastry is architecture more than chemistry), lower starch/higher protein blends will be harder to handle for the baker. Conventional pastry flour is high starch, low protein. So if you have the right gf blend, it should be smooth as silk. But it sounds like you’ve played with the blend a bit, and it hasn’t mattered. So…
      Second, since the blend is more about how easy it is to handle (and easier to handle will lead to earlier success), it really comes down to the method – and the environmental conditions. Usually when the butter packet is breaking through, it’s a temperature issue. You want the dough and the butter packet to be at the same temperature as one another, and it’s okay to err on the side of having it be too warm while you’re handling it. You shape it, and then chill it so it doesn’t truly melt. When I shape the butter packet, it’s often soft enough that I could roll it into a ball rather easily. Since the dough will become a bit sticky if it’s warmer, just dust it with some starch (or more flour).
      It’s drilled into our heads that pastry elements need to be cold for maximum success, but it’s rare that the problem is actually that the butter has melted into a liquid form (which is the only way that you can’t chill it back to life).
      You’re motivated, so you’ll get it right. And you’ll feel like you won the lottery when you do!
      How does that sound?
      xoxo Nicole

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  • I just made a non GF grilled cheese sandwich that uses a croissant and I asked a friend of mine if she had ever made a GF croissant…she sent me here! Love that I’ve found a recipe I can share with my GF friends that haven’t had a croissant in years!

    • Hi, Barbara,
      Thanks for stopping by! Yes, absolutely gluten-free croissants are not only possible, but easy when you have the right flour. Who knew it was National Grilled Cheese Month? Not I. :)
      xoxo Nicole

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