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5 Different Types of Pastry Doughs

28 March 2022

Discover the art of pastry making: explore five essential types of pastry dough, each unique in texture and culinary use.

Types of Pastry DoughPhoto By Canva

Key Takeaways

  • Pastry dough is a basic mixture primarily of flour, water, and a shortening like butter or lard, used in both sweet and savory dishes.
  • The five main types are shortcrust, flaky, puff, choux, and phyllo pastry, each distinct in preparation and culinary applications.
  • Shortcrust is compact and crumbly, ideal for pies and tarts.
  • Flaky pastry, thin and delicate, is used in pasties and sausage rolls.
  • Puff pastry, labor-intensive with many butter layers, is perfect for croissants and tarts.
  • Choux pastry, light and airy, is used in éclairs and profiteroles.
  • Phyllo, thin and crispy, is key in baklava and spanakopita.

Pastry doughs are the base for endless sweet and savory creations; they’re meaningful worldwide! Still, there’s more than one pastry dough, and every kind is worth knowing.

Here’s all you need to know about the different types of pastry dough and how to use them. What’s your favorite pastry dough? We’ll soon find out!

What Are The Different Types of Pastry Dough?

The most common types of pastry are the shortcrust pastry, flaky pastry, puff pastry, choux pastry and phyllo(filo).

Pastry is a common term used to describe basic dough made with simple ingredients, often only flour, water and a shortening, whether it’s butter, lard or other fat.

Although most of us think of sweet baking treats when someone mentions pastry dough, the different types of pastry dough have a place in both sweet and savory recipes. Here are the 5 most common pastry doughs and how to use them.

5 Types of Pastry Dough

These are the five types of pastry dough. The best part? You don’t have to choose — they all have their uses.

Let’s also mention there are many other types of dough out there, although they’re not always considered pastry dough. From pie crusts to croissants, there are endless uses for these doughs and complement baking in more ways than you think.

What all pastries have in common is that they have a higher fat content than bread. That’s how you know for sure if you’re dealing with pastry dough or regular dough. Still, the definitions below will help you understand the different types of pastry dough better!

1. Shortcrust Pastry

Apple PiePhoto By Canva

Shortcut pastry is a compact, resilient dough that’s not flaky but crumbly. You already know this one very well — pie and tart crusts are made with shortcrust pastry.

The main ingredients in shortcrust pastry are flour and shortening, more often than not, butter. A pinch of salt adds definition to the pastry, and sugar is customary when using shortcut pastry for sweet desserts, such as apple pies and fruit tarts.

Although recipes vary, shortcut pastry recipes often call for twice the amount of flour than butter by weight. If sweetened, you might find it under the French name Pâte sucrée. If it contains egg, it’s called Pâte à foncer. If using both eggs and sugar, you’re dealing with a Pâte sablée.

2. Flaky Pastry

Puff PastryPhoto By Canva

As its name suggests, flaky pastry comes out of the oven paper-thin and flaky. You might find it as quick pastry or blitz pastry, names that refer to the relatively short process behind this uncomplicated but beautiful dough.

To make the flaky pastry, one must combine flour with lumps of butter, rolled and folded before use. The butter melts and expands in the oven, causing the dough layers to separate, creating a few flaky layers.

Flaky pastry is particularly common in comfort food and everyday bakes like pasties, sausage rolls and turnovers. Pies also call for this thin pastry, and so do quiches. Compared to puff pastry, flaky pastry has fewer layers, and it’s less puffy. Flaky pastry is the thinnest pastry dough.

3. Puff Pastry

CroissantsPhoto By Canva

Puff pastry or mille feuille is amongst the most common types of pastry, and it’s for its layered texture, that’s both puffy and crusty.

Much more complex than flaky pastry, puff pastry comprises many layers of flour dough and butter, and we mean entire slabs of butter. Making this dough is time-consuming and labor-intensive, as pastry chefs fold and roll the dough several times. Still, the result is always worth it.

Initially, people might have made a similar dough with olive oil instead of butter, a specialty that could go back for thousands of years. Modern puff pastry, though, is always made with butter. The most common uses of puff pastry are making croissants, palmiers, tarts, strudels and savory dishes like the beef wellington.

4. Choux Pastry

ProfiterolesPhoto By Canva

Choux pastry is an attractive type of dough recognizable for its delicate and airy texture. This dough is also made with butter, water and flour, but it also contains eggs. Choux pastry puffs beautifully in the oven, even without raising agents — the high moisture in the batter evaporates, lifting the dough.

Legends say Catherine de Medici’s head chef created the dough to make tasty one-biters to please the most sophisticated palates in the high courts. Some of the most popular treats made with choux pastry include profiteroles, beignets, croquembouches and the famous éclairs.

5. Phyllo Pastry

Spanakopita PastryPhoto By Canva

Last but not least, phyllo or filo is the fifth most famous type of pastry dough. Paper-thin, flaky and crispy, this unique dough is behind some of the most delicate desserts and savory two-biters in the Mediterranean basin.

To make filo dough, pastry chefs stretch and roll dough made with flour and water and brush it with oil before stacking it. Commercial bakers roll the stretchy dough with machines, but the result is always the same — paper-thin sheets that crisp to golden perfection in the oven.

Filo dough is the main ingredient in the honeyed baklava, the rich spanakopita(Greek spinach pie), and many other Eastern European dishes. Filo dough has origins in the Ottoman period as far back as the first millennia.

Pastry Dough Is Wonderful!

There might be many types of pastry dough in the world, but they all have something in common — the flakiest texture and the lightest, most attractive flavor! Let’s cook with pastry dough and treat our friends and family with creative food. Baking is a noble art, and it all starts with pastry doughs!

Most importantly, pastry dough is easier to use than you think. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be baking delicious sweet and savory goodies with it. Let’s make pastry dough part of our lives!

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