The best flour to use is a fine white pastry flour. It contains a large proportion of starch and only a little gluten, which, though most desirable from a dietetic point of view, is apt to render pastry tough.
Flour must be kept very dry, and before use it must be passed through a sieve to remove lumps and to aerate it.
The butter used should be cold and with no objectionable taste. Salt butter does not harm the pastry, provided it is well kneaded in clean cold water and then pressed in a clean, floured cloth to squeeze out any moisture that might make the pastry heavy.
Puff pastry is best made with all butter, but for the other kinds a mixture of good, pure lard and butter may be used, and for quite ordinary household purposes good beef, bacon dripping or clarified fat is suitable.