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Having puff pastry on hand proves to be useful during the holidays or when you need to prepare dinner for several people coming over given a short amount of time. Thus, before you think of stocking up when there are store sales, it is important to know if you can store them in the freezer and how long they can last. We've done the work to bring you the answer.
Puff pastry lasts in the freezer for up to 12 months if properly stored. The puff pastry should not be directly exposed to the frost as this can introduce moisture, increasing the risk of mold growth. The added moisture can also affect how the dough rises when baked. Storage temperature should also be constant so that the quality remains optimal.
Before we discuss how to store puff pastry, let us first determine if puff pastry will go bad when frozen. Keep reading to find out more.
Does Frozen Puff Pastry Go Bad?
Cold is an ally to puff pastry. Anything warm can melt the butter incorporated in the dough which will lead to the layers stacking. Once this happens, you will not be able to appreciate the multiple fine layers that you normally see after baking. Hence, the manufacturer will always recommend that you store your puff pastry in cooler temperatures. And that includes your freezer. Puff pastry can last for 12 months in the freezer if properly stored.
Although it can stay longer in the freezer, it does not imply that it is fail-proof, especially if you keep opened puff pastry for a long time. It does go bad despite doing all things possible to keep it properly stored, so it is always best to still check your opened puff pastry before using it.
Check for any changes in color
Sometimes, mold can find its way in if you kept your pastry in the fridge while prepping meals and it just so happened that you have some leftovers and decided later to keep them in the freezer. Or if a part was not properly covered, then freezer burn may occur. Although this is not entirely bad, cooking will not remedy the discoloration.
Always smell your puff pastry before using it
Changes in smell can tell you if you need to discard your puff pastry even if there are no visible changes to the overall appearance. A sour or funny smell indicates improperly stored puff pastry and you better listen to your smell. Or rather, trust your olfactory sense. Otherwise, you run the risk of wasting your precious meal altogether.
How Long Does Homemade Puff Pastry Last in the Freezer?
Technically it can last in the freezer for the same duration as your storebought puff pastry. But some reviews have mentioned that you should not store it longer than one month. Make sure to cover it in plastic wrap before placing in the freezer.
There’s not much difference between homemade and store-bought puff pastry in appearance. The homemade puff pastry may have a puffier look when baked, especially when used fresh from preparation. However, the big difference is in the taste—since you can choose your butter. While for commercial puff pastry, not all may use butter. Sometimes it pays to forego convenience if you have the time to make better tasting puff pastry.
How Long Can You Freeze Puff Pastry?
Puff pastry will maintain best quality for about 10-12 months in the freezer if properly stored.
Despite having indicated dates such as ‘best by,’ ‘best if used by,’ ‘best before,’ ‘best when used by,’ you could use it beyond then if you accidentally missed noticing it. The date simply indicates the manufacturer’s estimate of how long the puff pastry will remain at its peak quality.
Ultimately, how you process it determines the final outcome. We pulled together some helpful tips below to ensure that you still get the puff from the dough when baked:
- Keep everything cool from prep to pre-baking – Avoid making puff pastry on a warm surface. Keeping it cooled will prevent the butter from melting and ensure that you see the layering when baked.
- Pre-heat your oven to the desired temperature at least 15 to 20 minutes before baking – This will ensure that you will get the needed rise. As the pastry bakes, the moisture from the water will convert into steam, pulling apart the layers away from each other and therefore creating the stacking effect. This is possible if you subject the dough from cold to hot in a drastic manner.
- Use a sharp knife when cutting – A dull one will keep the layers together. Some say use it warm or hot to maintain the layers and you get a better puff. You can also use a sharp pastry or pizza cutter.
- Only apply egg wash on top of your pastry and not on the sides – This will seal the layers together and you may not see the puff after baking.
- Work as fast as possible – Again you don't want your butter to melt.
- Handle as little as possible – To avoid stretching and tearing which can destroy the layers.
- Trim the edges – Keeping them may result in less or no puff since the edges may have stacked together, leaving no room for the pastry to rise.
- Place in the fridge before baking – This will help ensure that you solidify the butter, which is helpful when you forgot to preheat your oven. No time required but a few minutes will do.
Can You Freeze Uncooked Puff Pastry?
You can freeze uncooked puff pastry for the duration specified, both in opened and unopened state. Again, what is important is that you keep them properly stored. Otherwise, you run the risk of a stale puff pastry.
Proper storage includes the following:
Storage temperature remains within the preferred temperature
It is important that your freezer is in its optimal performance and is not overloaded. Overloading can cause unequal distribution of cold. At times, overloading can cause the door to be slightly ajar leading to the formation of ice crystals at the rim. When this happens, hot air can flow which contributes to the imbalance of temperature.
Puff pastry is protected from frost
Make sure that the unopened puff pastry does not have any puncture or break in its original packaging. If you want to add a layer of protection, you can place your puff pastry in a freezer bag to ward off moisture coming from the frost. For opened puff pastry, you can wrap it with cling wrap before placing it in the freezer.
Make provisions so that you can easily check your puff pastry
This is especially true for opened puff pastry. Put in place a system where you get to use your opened puff pastry first. So, dedicating a space in your freezer for puff pastry may help. A transparent container with a tight lid is recommended for easier visuals. And keep this in an area that you can easily access if you intend to use puff pastry regularly during the week for meal preparation.
Do I Need to Thaw Frozen Puff Pastry?
It is recommended to thaw the puff pastry overnight at best. The minimum duration is between 6 to 8 hours. Preferably, transfer it to the refrigerator when thawing. The frost will melt but not the butter. Thawed puff pastry can keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Make sure you thaw your puff pastry well before using it. If you’re using the roll type, defrost completely before unrolling, as forcing it to unroll can break the layers.
Take Home Points
Freezing puff pastry is a good option to ensure that you get the puff after you baked your home-cooked meals. Proper storage can make them last for up to 12 months. Equally important are the steps that you follow when processing your puff pastry. You need to be conscious of the constant cold to prevent the butter from melting. The only time that it should be exposed to high temperature is during baking—so that you see those luscious, crispy, and delectable to the bite layers of crust. We're sure you heard the crunch from where you are reading!