@Aproned Artist posted:
I, too, struggled with this recipe at first because I followed my normal routine (of rolling the dough between parchment and freezing before cutting) instead of Julia’s specific directions. The dough spread and puffed considerably compared to the smooth surface in her videos. Now that I follow her instructions exactly (chilling then rolling with flour), I’m in love with this recipe. It’s wonderful because I can store a big chunk of it in the freezer, and pull out just what I need (it never freezes solid so it’s easy to cut off a bit even straight from the freezer). I do roll it with a considerable dusting of flour, but the spread is practically nonexistent now. If there’s ever any puffing, a quick ironing with a fondant smoother right out of the oven makes the surface perfectly flat and smooth. The instructions definitely matter with this recipe. Keep trying!
Thanks for sharing your experience. I test my recipes umpteen times over and also hire a team of recipe testers, both professionals and non-professionals, to test and re-test all of them. But they are always instructed to test the recipe EXACTLY as written, because deviations (even if they seem small to the user) in ingredients or method can cause variable results. Many ingredient substitutions won't matter much, but some will. And process steps are just as important to follow as ingredients and proportions. People need to remember that well-written recipes are intended to be followed, and that it's almost impossible for the author to troubleshoot what went wrong when multiple deviations are taken. Okay, off my soapbox!