Pâte à choux (also called choux paste or cream puff paste) is a very versatile dough; numerous sweet or savory pastries can be made with it.

1 cup milk
1 stick butter (8 TBSP)
2 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup bread flour*
5 eggs

Yield: 1.7 lbs. of pâte à choux dough

*Bread flour is a high-gluten flour that has small amounts of malted barley flour and vitamin C or potassium bromate added. The barley flour helps the yeast work, and the other additive increases the elasticity of the gluten, which helps the dough rise and retain a better texture.
Preheat oven to 400° F.

Measure all ingredients. Melt the butter, add milk, sugar if sweet (for savory, leave the sugar out) and salt and bring to a boil.

When the butter is melted and the milk comes to a full boil, remove the pot from the stove and add the flour, all at once, and stir vigorously with a wooden spatula.
Continue to stir until mixture forms a ball.

Return the pot to the stove and dry the mixture for a few minutes while stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.

Mix with a spatula and allow to cool for a few minutes. Add the eggs one by one while stirring vigorously after each addition. You do not want the egg to cook in the mixture.

When you have added all the eggs you mixture should be shiny, smooth and elastic.

Now you are ready to pipe your mixture onto parchment paper. Fill a pastry bag with the pâte à choux and pipe small round puffs onto the paper. For éclairs you will pipe log shapes. Keep in mind that the items will expand about 1.5 to 2 times their size. Cream puffs are piped round, the size depending on what finished size you'd like. Profiteroles, which are cut in half, filled with ice cream and served with chocolate sauce, are usually piped about the size of a quarter, since several are served per person. Éclairs are piped into log shapes, baked, filled with flavored pastry cream and topped with flavored fondant icing. The most common flavors are vanilla topped with chocolate fondant and coffee topped with coffee fondant. Salambos are piped more oval, then filled with orange pastry cream and topped with pink or green fondant.

Optional: for a shinier look, you can brush the pâte à choux with an egg wash. Simply whisk 3 eggs in a bowl and brush on.

Savory choux puffs are generally served as appetizers so they will be piped small enough to be one or two bites when filled.

When baking, it is crucial to pre-heat the oven at a high temperature such as 400°F so that the pâte à choux rises. Once you put the pâte à choux in the oven, it should be turned down to 375°F degrees to bake.

It is important to NOT open the oven door until the choux has turned golden brown or the puffs may fall.

It is also important to bake until the entire puff is golden brown. If under baked you'll notice a white ring around the middle or towards the bottom of the puff, and if removed from the oven at this time, the puffs will fall.