choux pastry

The Science of Choux Pastry

Choux pastry is a little piece of magic. A small, dense, little ball of dough, turns into a light and airy hollow ball in the oven! It serves as the perfect casing for a range of fillings to make profiteroles, éclairs, cream puffs, Bossche bollen (a Dutch specialty), and much more.

But, why does it work? And, what can make it fail? We’re going to dig into the science behind a good choux bun. By the end, you should understand just exactly why choux pastry is made the way it is. Giving you all the tools to make your own.

What is choux pastry?

Choux pastry is a special type of pastry. Raw, it’s a dense, slightly fatty, dough. However, once cooked and baked, it forms a slightly crunchy hollow shell, that’s very light and airy. Baked choux contains more air than dough. These large hollow spaces within are the perfect place for fillings, such as creme patisserie.

Choux pastry itself doesn’t have a lot of flavor. It is slightly eggy, but otherwise quite neutral in flavor. The role of choux pastry, therefore, isn’t necessarily to add flavor. Instead, its main role is to provide structure. To make a casing for a filling, and a surface to be decorated.

choux pastry
Three freshly baked choux buns

From small & round to large & long

You can find choux pastry in all shapes and sizes. Small round choux buns, to make profiteroles, or large ones to make Bosche bollen. Eclairs are made using a long, narrow version. You can use a lot of small buns to make a croquembouche, or just two to make a religieuse (French pastry).

Keep in mind, there is a limit to the size of your choux pastry. Make it too large and it will be too heavy. The delicate dough won’t be able to hold onto its own weight and might collapse. Or, the puff might not puff up enough due to all the weight pushing it down.

How to make choux pastry

To make choux pastry you first have to cook the pastry, before baking it in the oven. This two-step process is crucial for creating those large air pockets. Let’s have a closer look.

As an example, we’ll use the recipe at the bottom of this article. It’s a ‘traditional’ choux recipe, made with butter, flour, water, and eggs.

Step 1: Cooking the choux pastry

Making choux pastry starts by cooking a mix of flour, butter, and water into a thick dough. During this step, a few key processes happen.

Melting butter

During this step, you need to melt the butter (or a plant-based version). By melting the butter you can actually mix it in completely with the other ingredients.

Traditionally, you’d heat the butter with water (or milk) before you add the flour. However, we like to heat the flour & butter together, before adding the other liquids. It makes it a lot easier to stir in the flour. And, nice bonus, you don’t run the risk of your flour clumping.

Choux = Roux – Cooking the flour

Next, you’ll continue to heat your butter + flour mixture, until it has fully come together. At this point, we add our other liquids, just like you would when making a roux for a bechamel sauce, and continue heating.

This is a crucial step when making choux pastry. You need to continue to heat the mixture until it starts to thicken. We’re cooking the flour.

uncooked choux pastry after step 1
Uncooked flour + butter + water. If we wouldn’t cook the flour, butter and water mixture, we’d end up with this. It’s still liquid. If your mix is liquid like this, continue heating it for some time until it thickens.

When cooking the flour, the starches gelatinize. That is, the starches absorb more and more moisture when heated, until, at some point, the pockets of starch burst. All the starch molecules are set free. Since these molecules prefer to bind to water, they’ll bind even more of it. As a result, the dough will thicken considerably.

Choux pastry isn’t unique for using this trick. When using water roux to make donuts, or making a hot water crust pastry, you use the same phenomenon. The starch becomes stronger and firmer, but also more flexible. It’s what enables the choux to rise and hold onto its shape so well in the oven.

choux pastry after step 1
Choux pastry at the end of step 1. You can also continue to cook for a little longer, until the dough forms a ball. Both will work fine.

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Step 1b: Cooling & Adding eggs

The choux pastry will be hot at this point. So, before you can proceed to the next step, you’ll need to cool down the pastry.

Right before baking the choux pastry, we need to add eggs. However, those eggs shouldn’t cook when added. They should remain raw. As such, you can only add them in, once the mix has cooled down. Eggs make sure your choux pastry turns more liquid again. It should now be easier to mix and pipe using a piping bag.

Step 2: Baking choux pastry

It’s time for the magic to happen! During baking, the thick, dense pastry will be transformed into a light and airy puff. To make it happen, space out your dollops of dough onto your baking surface. Keep in mind that they’ll take up more space once baked.

Want to spruce up your choux pastry? Add a thin layer of craquelin just before baking on top of the choux. This topping will add flavor and texture.

unbaked choux puffs with craquelin
What happens during baking?

Once the choux pastry has entered the oven, various things will start to happen. First of, the dough will warm up. The butter melts, softening the dough. As a result, the dough becomes more flexible.

After some time, when the dough is hot enough, water within the choux starts to evaporate. The water turns into a gas. This gas will try to escape the choux pastry. However, it can’t because it is surrounded by a flexible, but impenetrable outer shell. So, instead, the gas just pushes onto the dough, causing it to puff up. This process takes some time. As long as the dough is flexible enough, it will continue to expand.

Remember that the flour has been gelatinized in the previous step. This helps in creating that very flexible expandable dough!

At some point though, the dough will start to set. The egg proteins especially will start to denature. This causes them to firm up, much like when cooking an egg.

puff pastry behavior in oven

Initially, the outside layer slowly firms up, whereas the inside is still soft. If you look closely at this point (see also the video above) you can see parts of the choux pastry pop out all of a sudden. This happens when the outer layer cracks. The inner layers of dough were still flexible, so they’ll expand to fill up the space, ensuring no holes are formed. This is when choux pastry gets its cabbage-like, uneven look!

The choux turns brown

Aside from these drastic shape changes, you’ll also notice that the color of the choux pastry will change. In the oven, it slowly turns a light brown color. This is because of the Maillard reaction. Sugar from the flour and proteins from the eggs and flour react together, to form brown molecules.

small choux pastry buns
Freshly baked small choux buns, notice their light brown color.

Role of ingredients in choux pastry

Making choux pastry is as much about controlling the steps we discussed above, as it is about controlling the ratio of its ingredients. You can make choux pastry with only 4 ingredients, but each of them has a clear and important role!

Water – flexibility

Water gives flexibility to the dough and ensures that you can even make a dough. You also need water to ensure the starches can cook and gelatinize.

Butter – richness & softness

Butter ensures that your final choux pastry is soft and rich. About 80% of butter is made up of fats. These fats give a pleasing sensation on your tongue.

But, butter does more!

Prevents clumping

While making choux, butter helps prevent the flour from clumping. If you’ve ever mixed hot water and flour, you know how challenging it can be to mix the too. As such as the flour hits that hot water it starts to gelatinize. As a result, the outside of a pocket of flour may cook, while the inside is still dry. If you’d break up one of these clumps, dry flour will fall out.

Mixing hot butter and flour doesn’t give this problem. The fats in the butter ‘protect’ the flour from the water. By surrounding the individual flour particles with fats first, they can’t clump together. The fats ensure they stay apart. Then, once the water is added, the water can access all of the flour, giving you a smooth mixture.

Flour – structure

Flour is crucial for adding structure to your choux and for ensuring it’s thick enough after cooking. It plays a key role in giving the choux the correct consistency. By absorbing water during cooking, flour also adds some flexibility to the dough, making it easier to expand, while at the same time being strong enough.

Eggs – key players

Without eggs, you’d have no choux pastry. The egg play a range of roles. First of all, eggs add more moisture and fats, just like water and butter. But, as we quickly alluded to before, eggs also add proteins. These proteins are sensitive to heat. Once they’re hot enough, they’ll denature and set. They give firmness to your final choux pastry.

failed choux pastry, too few eggs
These failed choux buns were made with half the amount of eggs as was given in the recipe. Notice how they haven’t expanded much and how several of them collapsed again after leaving the oven? The ratios were clearly off.
Since the dough contained less moisture, it might not have been flexible enough to expand. Nor was enough water available to puff up the choux properly or enough strength to then hold onto that puff.

Swapping ingredients in choux pastry

So you can make choux pastry with just there for ingredients. Getting the ratio of these ingredients right is crucial. Nevertheless, there are a few swaps you can make quite easily, without having a detrimental impact.

Butter vs. Margarine vs. Plant-based butter

Margarine is a plant-based version of butter. The exact composition and type will differ per country, but it’s a safe substitute to make. Do keep in mind that butter adds some flavor to the choux. Swapping it out for another fat will impact that.

Water vs. Milk

Our recipe just uses water as the liquid ingredients. However, you could also use (plant-based) milk. Keep in mind that milk tend to add some proteins and sugars. As a result, your choux will turn brown more quickly, make sure you don’t burn it. Also, don’t take it out too quickly, before the inside has cooked completely.

piped choux pasrry
Choux pastry, ready to be baked

Troubleshooting Choux pastry

Why did my choux pastry collapse after taking it out of the oven?


It is very important that the choux pastry can set fully in the oven. If you take it out too soon, it won’t yet be strong enough to hold onto itself. Instead, it will collapse! So, next time, bake the choux pastry for a little longer.
In the image below you can see what a mere 7 additional minutes in the oven can do. The choux bun on the right-hand side was taken out too soon. It collapsed. The other two don’t just have a nicer browner color, they are also firm enough to hold onto their shapes!right choux bun was taken out of the oven too soon and collapsed

small choux pastry buns

Choux Pastry

Yield: 20 small or 12 large choux buns
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

This choux pastry is pretty much foolproof. You'll notice that the cooking step is quite different compared to a lot of other online recipes. We prefer to heat the butter + flour first, before adding the water. We find it works more easily.

Keep in mind that the baking time and yield depends on how large you make your choux pastry buns. Larger ones need a longer time in the oven. Keep an eye on them when they're close to being ready!

Ingredients

  • 50g butter
  • 60g flour
  • 100ml water
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. Add butter and flour to a pan. Heat on a medium heat, to melt the butter. Sir to fully incorporate the flour.
  2. Once it's mixed through completely, add the water. It may bubble a little. Continue to heat and stir until all the water has been absorbed and you're left with a thick paste. It may even form a ball.choux pastry after step 1
  3. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool down.
  4. Once the mixture has cooled down to just above room temperature, add in the eggs, one by one. Use a whisk or a mixer to mix them in completely, the mixture will be quite thick at the end.mixing eggs into choux pastry
  5. Use a piping bag, or a set of spoons, to deposit small heaps of choux pastry on a baking tray covered with parchment paper or a baking mat. Try to make them all about the same size, this way they all have the same baking time.
  6. Bake the choux pastry in a pre-heated oven at 210-220°C (410-428°F) for 15-22 minutes. Your overall baking time strongly depends on how large your choux pastry puffs are!
  7. Take from the oven and leave to cool before adding a filling or a topping.
  8. Enjoy!choux pastry

Notes

If you want one of those perfectly round puffs, you can add a craquelin on top. It also gives your puffs just a little more oompf. A good filling would be a creme patisserie.

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27 Comments

  1. Hi! I am wondering what if you change the ratio of butter, eggs and flour. Some choux like ‘soesjes’ in the Netherlands are pretty soft while some other types have a crackly crust. Mind to share what could be the ingredients ratio change? Thanks!

    • Hi!
      Great question. I must admit, I haven’t tried this out myself (yet), but what I would advise is the following.
      The recipe in this post is probably more soft than it is very crispy. In order to make them more crispy, there’s two things you can do. One is to leave them in the oven a little longer. That way they dry out more and become more crispy. However, you will also run the risk of them becoming rubbery if they’re in too long.
      Another option is to tweak the recipe. If you do so, focus on varying the moisture content (the water) in the recipe. Adding more water will make it thinner. This will make it easier to expand and give it a thinner crust and make it more crispy. I’ve found recipes using almost double the moisture content as the recipe above, so there is some wiggle space, but you’ll have to experiment to find your optimum.
      That said, as with every recipe, and especially choux pastry, it is very dependent on the ingredients you use, especially your flour.

  2. Hi! Thanks for the great article! I was wondering if you could help me out with something, I have been making choux pastry for many years using electric ovens, now I have switched to gas ovens the choux doesn’t turn out as well, is there a different method to cook using a gas oven? Do i need to alter the recipe? Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Angela,
      Great question! Except for a short period of time a couple of years ago I have no extensive experience with a gas oven. That said, I was intrigued by your question, so did some searching around and think there are two reasons why your choux pastry isn’t coming out as nice (not sure what exactly is your problem, so I’m guessing that in the answer below):
      1. The moisture content of a gas oven tends to be quite a lot higher – This makes it a lot harder to brown your foods and makes it harder to dry them. As a result, they’ll stay whiter and because they don’t dry out as much it might be that they collapse again more easily.
      2. The heat in a gas oven tends to be more intense coming from the bottom. – This again makes it harder to brown the top, but this time because the bottom might have already browned enough and is finished before the top is. This can be reduced by placing the choux pastry up higher and I’ve read the advice to use a lighter coloured surface to bake them on.
      I wouldn’t expect you’d have to adjust the recipe. If you add less moisture they might crisp up faster, but then they’ll expand less well also. Adding more moisture will make it harder to them to expand properly.

      Hope it helps, good luck!

    • Hi Angela, I use a gas oven to bake my choux, I too was nervous at tgr start for the same reason, having being used to the electric oven.
      I use a lower heat and bake I haven’t timed it as such, but I leave it a bit longer… I preheat the oven at 160 deg…when the oven is ‘hot’ I put the tray in… but keep checking the rise and colour of the choux constantly… and they have always come out perfectly!

  3. Hello. This is a great article. Needed to understand the chemistry aka science.
    The article would be perfect if baking tips were added. I’ve seen lots of recipes with different baking temps and times. Some work and some flop. There are do’s and don’ts on the oven door opening. I had a bad experience with that while trying to manage a large batch! But you provided the part that was missing for me, and the tip for crisping the puffs was excellent.
    We’ll done to you and the replies from the community.

  4. hi,
    can you please advice something that can be used in place of eggs and also will replacing of the eggs cause any weakness to the pastry.

    • Hi Simran,

      That’s a great question, but a complicated one! You definitely can’t just remove the eggs from choux pastry. The eggs cooks in the oven and give the final choux structure and help prevent it to collapse. I haven’t tried any alternative to egg, if I were you I would buy one of the many egg replacers you can buy online. These are often a mix of starches which should help give some structure. Follow the instructions for your specific replacer and keep in mind that egg is for a large part moisture so you will have to make up for any loss of that moisture. The dough needs to be liquid enough to that it remains flexible and expands well in the oven!

      If you give it a try, let me know how it went!

  5. Thank you for a more technical based article. I prefer understanding the chemistry of the ingredients and the mechanical (technique) reasons for why a recipe works. It allows you to understand what steps you can be a little loose with, which ones are critical, and what you can substitute from a base ratio of ingredients. Here are some questions I hope you can find the time to address:

    1. Isn’t the only goal of ‘cooking’ the panade starch gelatinization? If so, then with a given volume of water and butter barely brought to a boil, adding a given amount of flour immediately reduces the temperature to a certain range. Isn’t the goal then to bring it up to ~135-140 F (the gelatinization of wheat starch) and hold it at that temp to achieve gelatinization, while avoiding evaporation as much as possible to retain the correct ratio of water in the panade? How long you need to hold the temp at ~135 F I’m not sure, but I would guess not very long, 1-2 minutes? Egg white proteins set at ~144 F, so as long as the panade’s temp is less than that, we can add the eggs.

    2. So many choux recipes warn about slowly adding the beaten egg to achieve a correct batter consistency, but if your recipe is scaled to say 4 Large eggs, and if my assumptions in #1 are correct, and we’ve avoided too much evaporation, then shouldn’t we be able to just dump in four eggs and not worry about the consistency of the batter as you do here? Large eggs vary in weight by only ~2 g / egg. So with 4 eggs, we can only be off by ~2 tsp. (4 eggs @ 2 g ea = +/- 8 g, or about 12% of one large egg).

    3. Wouldn’t one explanation of cracked buns be a lack gelatinization? Isn’t it the gelatinized starch that helps the batter to stretch and expand without cracking?

    Thank you for your time

    • Hi Darrin,

      Great questions! I’ll do my best to answer them:

        Yes, I agree, starch gelatinization is the major thing you’re trying to here. You theory to me sounds correct, but with a few comments. If you heat the panade to higher temperatures than the starch gelatinization temperature, the gelatinization will go faster. Therefore, you could theoretically hold it at the exact right temperature, but you might need a lot more time (a bit like boiling an egg in boiling water vs. at the exact right temperature for the egg white to set). As long as you don’t literally boil your mixture, I wouldn’t expect you’d lose a lot of moisture during this step indeed (unless you boil your water for a long time before adding the flour).
        Also, yes, you can add the eggs as long as the temperature is below that of setting the eggs. You could add them even when it’s a little warmer since the egg will cool down the mixture, but in that case you have to mix well while adding it to avoid any scrambling. I wouldn’t expect that you’d need to vary the amount of eggs. The only thing I’d be worried about possibly is adding too much liquid too quick which may make it harder to break down the batter. If the mixture is very liquid, lumps tend to be harder to get rid off. That said, that still wouldn’t require a slow pour, you could avoid that problem by adding the eggs in two portions (bit like you would do for making batters, although for batters it is more crucial since there’s not as much fat in there).
        Hmm, I’m not too sure about the answer on this one. Both the starch as well as the eggs play a role here is my assumption. The gelatinized starch is what gives the pastry the stretchy nature that will allow it to expand. Important there is also that you’ve got enough moisture in there at the start to keep the batter flexible. If it’s too dry it won’t be flexible either. The starch itself won’t necessarily cook as much since the starch was already gelatinized. Instead, I’m expecting the cooking of the egg (proteins) to be important for setting the choux bun in place.

      Hope that gives some helpful additional thoughts! Let me know if you’d like to discuss further, these are great ideas!

  6. hi thank you for a great article on choux. i have a question regarding my choux pastry. i tried to make them everything was fine but one thing that i notice is that the middle of the puff was not dry. i bake it at 190 degree celsius at about 28 minutes it was already very golden brown. what do you think went wrong? and can u give me tips to make the puff very hollow in the middle? thank you

    • Hi Vania,

      Thank you for visiting! It sounds like you have an issue of the outside baking too quickly for the inside to properly cook. This can best be caused by two things:

      1. The oven temperature is too high, cooking the outside quickly while the heat does not have enough time to travel to the inside of the choux. This can be solved by reducing the temperature of the oven next time you’re baking your choux. Try 20C lower to start with. This way, your choux should have more time to dry out.Unfortunately, every oven is different so you may have to adjust your oven settings for this one. Gas vs electric and conventional vs. convection all give different results.
      2. The size of your choux buns is bigger than given in the recipe. Larger choux buns need more time to fully cook than smaller choux buns do. Reducing the size of your choux buns would likely help as well.

      And to make really big puffy choux pastry you will have to fully optimize your recipe which will mean a little trial and error. You get the biggest choux pastry bun if your batter is just the right thickness. Too thin and it will run all over your trays. Too thick and it won’t puff as easily. Whereas this recipe gives good choux buns, the exact structure will depend on exactly how big that egg is and thus how much moisture you add. Try a few different ratios, slightly increasing or decreasing the amount of egg and see what happens and what works best for what you want to achieve!

      • Hi thank you for your advice
        tried lowering down the temperature and its working! and i adjusted the recipe where i added more water and decrease the amount of egg. still not a 100% what i wanted but its getting closer. still need to do some trial and error. but i have another issue, im using craquelin on top of the choux but i realize that then the choux is cooled and a slight touch made the craquelin fall apart from the shell. is this normal?

        • Hi Vania,

          Great to hear it’s working better now! I had never made craquelin before, so made sure to try it before answering your question. That some of the craquelin falls off isn’t uncommon, however, it shouldn’t all fall off! An option is to reduce the thickness of the craquelin, making it a little more sturdy.
          Also, we just published a separate post on craquelin, hope that will help you in your quest for the perfect choux + craquelin!

    • Hi Nicole,

      Thanks for stopping by. I have not tested corn starch instead of flour and would expect it to behave quite differently. Corn starch probably won’t be able to give you the ‘stretch’ you’re looking for when the choux buns rise.
      You can give it a trial and then I would start out with slightly less (probably 75%) so you can adjust based on the consistency of the dough in the pan.

      Good luck!

        • Hi Nicole,

          Sorry about that! Replacing flour for corn starch in the pastry cream will definitely have a migger chance of success! Since corn starch is almost completely made up of starch, whereas wheat flour still contains some other components I would start by adding 3/4 of the weight of the flour in corn starch. If it doesn’t thicken enough, you can add more later (but always make sure that you mix the corn starch with a little cold moisture first before adding it to the hot mixture or it will clump!).

  7. Hiii,
    This article is amazing. I’m wondering when you would add flavour to your choux pastry? Before the eggs? During? Does it differ if the flavouring is a liquid, paste or powder?

    Best,
    Harmeet

    • Hi Harmeet,

      Great question!
      I would personally add flavor to the filling of the choux pastry, as opposed to the choux itself. Also, you could consider adding a craquelin. Reason for doing so is that first of all the filling makes up more of the final choux and so can be a real flavor bomb. Also, the filling tends to be way less delicate and flexible, making it easier to add fruit purees, etc. You just have some extra flexiblity.

      That said, you can add some flavor to the choux pastry but you have to be careful not to impact the texture of the choux too much (I haven’t tried it myself). Generally, flavors are very strong, so you need only very little so it shouldn’t impact your texture too much, but do keep an eye on it. If your flavor is liquid, you might need to add a little less liquid from your recipe and vice versa if you’re adding some powders.

      Keep in mind that a lot of flavors evaporate easily and might evaporate in the oven when baking your choux pastry so you might not get as strong a flavor as you were hoping for.

      With regards to when to add the flavor. Assuming it’s a strong flavor, so with only a small quantity, I would add it right at the end, after you’ve added all other ingredients. A quick mix in should do the job.

      Also, while writing this I was thinking of another option (haven’t tried it myself, but might be interesting). You could also try to infuse the butter + water with a flavor of your choice using spices. E.g. take cinnamon sticks or anise seeds and let them sit in warm butter + water for a while, it might just add a subtle hint to the batter (read more here).

      Hope that helps! Would love to hear what you find when you try it out :-).

  8. Hi, I have been trying working with choux pastry for about six weeks now. I have been adjusting ratios slightly and trying different things. I have some questions.

    First, I find that generally the pastries rise sufficiently however they usually not hollow inside. Is this because the oven is too hot and the outside is cooking too quickly? I saw in an earlier comment you advised lowering the temperature by 20C for someone who said the middle wasn’t cooked/still damp. I am not sure if this is the same as not being hollow…

    Second, when I mix in the eggs, I use my stand mixer. Does it make a difference to use the paddle attachment versus the whisk attachment? Do you recommend one over the other. I originally used the paddle, but now I have been trying to use the whisk attachment under the belief that beating in more air might be good.

    Third is more of a comment. I saw some readers writing about flavors. I have tried adding powdered chocolate or powdered matcha to the dough. The results are not fantastic. The flavor doesn’t really stand out. And also it seems to interfere with the baking as the pastries don’t rise as much. I have pretty much given up on the idea of flavored dough and opted for the idea that flavors should be/come from any fillings.

    Thanks much.

    • Hi Mark,

      Great to hear you’ve been experimenting with choux pastry! Sounds like you’ve tested quite a few variables already. Few thoughts from my end.

      1. Hollow pastries: that’s a good question! Let’s try to walk through what we want to happen and do some brainstorming (I don’t have a clear cut easy answer for you here!).
        In order to make a hollow pastry you need one very big gas bubble. More specifically, you need this gas bubble at the moment that the outside has started to set, so it can’t escape. The gas bubble is formed by moisture that evaporates. Initially, you’ll probably have several gas bubbles, but as long as the walls separating them are flexible enough, they can merge. So, it’s important that the bubbles merge easily and aren’t too stable.
        So yes, I do think oven temperature is important. You want the outside to have some firmness before the inside is completely cooked. If you bake too hot the outside may become firm too quickly, or just burn before the inside is cooked. Put it too low though and the outside will take too long to cook, without the inside having the time to merge its gas bubbles. Would that make sense for your situation?
        The choux should serve a bit as a balloon, so the outside should expand, while the inside is puffing it up. It’s where pre-cooking the starch in the flour helps. However, if the dough is too fatty it might push it down a bit, whereas a too dry dough will cause it to become crackly quickly. Could that be of use for you?
      2. With regards to mixing the dough. I would suggest using the paddle mixer, and not the whisk. Reason I’m saying that is that the whisk can incorporate a lot of pretty stable small air bubbles. Seeing what we just discussed, I’m actually afraid these might be too stable (a bit like a meringue) and won’t merge easily while baking. You don’t necessarily need that much air in the choux. A lot of the gas within comes from evaporated water.
        Now that I say that. The amount of water will also have a big impact on the size of air pockets in the choux. Adding a little extra water makes the dough more flexible, and thus easier to expand. Also, it will result in more gas-forming within the choux pastry during baking. If the pastry is too stiff and dry it won’t expand much, so play around with moisture to help create bigger air bubbles!

      So, hope some of these thoughts resonate with what you’ve seen during your tests. Would love to hear what you come up with!

      And yes, totally agree on it being very hard to add flavors to the pastry, wise decision to switch to the flavoring the filling. Flavors evaporate in the oven and since the pastry is so thin, it’s hard to add a really punch of flavor. Have you considered adding craquelin on top? These can be a way to add a little flavor (but mostly for stronger flavors such as chocolate, which can withstand the oven). As you’ll probably know, taste isn’t just achieved by adding flavor, but also by matching flavor & appearance. So a bright red topping for instance, might help lift a strawberry flavor, even if it’s not as strong.

      Good luck with your experiments and let us know if you run into something else!

  9. Hi, and thank you for your reply. I have been trying different recipes and finally I have a combination that seems to work.

    I am using a recipe with liquid to flour ratio of about 1.9:1 and the liquid is half water and half milk.
    The butter to flour ratio is about 0.9:1.

    For eggs, it recommends four eggs, but my eggs are 60g (without shell) and that is far too much. I use a little less than four eggs and get an egg to flour ratio about 1.8 to 1.9 : 1.

    I make a larger size choux. The baked choux is about 2.5 to 2.75 inches in diameter.

    I have been trying oven temps between 190C to 205C because I had seen another recipe with choux of a similar large size using 205C. That recipe has a total baking time of about 30-40 mins. But I find I need more like 50-60 mins total. If less than 35-40 mins, the choux outside is not crispy and it will almost certainly collapse on cooling.

    I am relatively satisfied with my results. But I do wish to make some improvement… basically, my choux shape winds up being short and wide. Squat shaped. I would like the choux to be taller so that the inside cavity was taller with a peak. I mean now my choux wind up kind of scone-shaped. More wide than tall. I wish I could get an inside cavity that peaked more and was taller. This is why I have tried varying the temperature with the idea that maybe a lower temperature could get more of a bubble inside before the crust set.

    Any suggestions?

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