How to make empanadas: Easy recipe for empanada dough
In this hub I'll teach you how to make the bread for some traditional, tasty Argentinian empanadas. Empanadas consist of circular pastries, wrapped around fillings like cheese, chicken, meat, onions, eggs, spinachs, olives, tomatoes, bacon, potatoes... pretty much anything you can think of. They also happen to be my favorite food along with a classic pizza.
1kg. of strong white bread flour or tipo '00' flour
380mls. of lukewarm water
200grs. of fat
30grs. of salt
1 pinch of pepper
Before you start, you should wash your hands and have all the ingredients ready and close to the work area. Make sure the surface you'll be using is disinfected and clean.
Two important thing when working in the kitchen:
Hygiene and organization.
Before you begin, measure all the ingredients to have the right amounts ready, warm up the water and melt the fat.
About the fat content
If you want to make them more tasty and with a more traditional flavor, you should use animal fat. But if you want to make them lighter and with a different texture, or perhaps for a vegetarian, you can use regular butter.
Let's get started!
Take the flour and put it over the kitchen counter in a sort of mountain shape, do it slowly to avoid spreading it all over the place. Make a wide circular hole leaving "walls" to contain the water (a bit like this). Spread the salt and pepper
evenly all over the ring of flour. Put about half the water in it along
with the melted fat. Take a fork or a spoon, or just your fingers if
you're brave enough, and start mixing the flour with the liquids, little
by little, trying not to spill them from outside the flour circle. Add
the rest of the water gradually as you keep going. After a while you
should have a consistent dough which you should be able to move around in one piece and knead
comfortably.The quantities of the ingredients don't have to be exact, specially those of the flour and water, you might need to add more of one or the other.
If you find it too big and tiring for your arms, you can always cut it in smaller pieces and put them back together after you've worked them separately.
Get the dough just right
If you're unsure about the consistency of the dough, here's what to do:
If it's too sticky and wet, or too dry and won't stay in one piece, you should keep kneading. If it's still not good, work it some more. If it's not soft and smooth yet, add just a little bit of flour if it's sticky, or a bit of water if it's dry, and knead some more. Don't add too much of anything too soon before making sure all the ingredients are evenly distributed all over the bread. Keep at it for about 5-10 minutes until it's soft and smooth and, as Jamie Oliver would say: lovely.
Once that's done, shrink-wrap the dough and let it cool down in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Take it out, take off the shrink wrap and cut the dough in a more manageable piece. Clear the counter from any items lying around, throw a little bit of flour so the dough won't stick and start spreading it with a roll pin, making a thin layer of about 4 millimeters thick, you'll need to add more and more flour as you go. Try to make it even, and start cutting the circles. You can use a cookie cutter or a lid for this, the circle should be at least 13cm. diameter or more. Pile them up (put them in the fridge if the room's hot, the fat might start to melt), take the remaining dough and put it aside. Repeat the process with another bit of the main dough. Do this with all of it and at the end, put together all the remains to make the pastries one last time.
Different fillings for home-made empanadas:
- Chicken filling for empanadas
Spicy and juicy, you can make them in the oven or fried.
- Caprese filling
Only 3 main ingredients, but lots of flavor.
- Pancetta, prunes, onions and Mozzarella.
All in one wonderful empanada
- How to make meat empanadas: Recipe for ground beef filling
One of the most traditional empanadas in Argentina is with meat filling.
Closing the empanada can be an art. The easiests ways are either using an empanada press like the one below:
or closing the empanada with your hands by putting some water around the edges, put about one spoon of the filling, then folding the disc in half and sealing it with your fingers. You can then use a fork and they'll look like the ones in the top picture, or if you want them to look better, try to make them like this.