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Old 12-03-2014, 06:49 PM   #11
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If I add a little more water, will the edges stay together better? How come store bought crusts don't have this problem??

I find it hard to imagine you can roll that much dough out to a big enough circle to trim off the uneven edges and still have enough to make a 15" circle.
More water will help make it roll out better. I often make the dough to the point where it clumps when squeezed like all the recipes tell you to. Then I add enough vodka to make a nice soft dough. I learned this trick from America's test kitchen.
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Old 12-03-2014, 06:51 PM   #12
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And this is where baker's percentages would help. Just saying.
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Old 12-03-2014, 08:50 PM   #13
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And this is where baker's percentages would help. Just saying.
How exactly?

Thanks, bakechef. I'll give it a try next time. I'm sure we have vodka.
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Old 12-03-2014, 09:02 PM   #14
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How exactly?

Thanks, bakechef. I'll give it a try next time. I'm sure we have vodka.
There is a difference in the amount of moisture in butter vs. shortening. Also, the technique to combine the flour and fat is usually done by hand. Doing it in a mixer or FB would result in the gluten in the flour being overworked. Next time, try doing it by hand. I've never made pie crust using anything other than a pastry cutter/forks/knives or my hands. I've been making pie crust (successfully) for 47 years. My dad uses the recipe in The Joy of Cooking. I personally prefer my grandma's recipe, but he likes that recipe.
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Old 12-03-2014, 09:05 PM   #15
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More water will help make it roll out better. I often make the dough to the point where it clumps when squeezed like all the recipes tell you to. Then I add enough vodka to make a nice soft dough. I learned this trick from America's test kitchen.
I find a bit of white vinegar + a bit of vodka works great. But if you don't have vodka, white vinegar does work. I have also used apple cider vinegar when making apple pies. I don't squeeze the dough--I wish I could describe how I know the dough is right, but it is something I learned from my grandma and have known how to do for so many years, I can't describe it. Maybe I should have a friend's kid come over and see if I can pass that on!
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Old 12-03-2014, 09:19 PM   #16
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And this is where baker's percentages would help. Just saying.
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
How exactly?...
Quote:
Originally Posted by CWS4322 View Post
There is a difference in the amount of moisture in butter vs. shortening. Also, the technique to combine the flour and fat is usually done by hand. Doing it in a mixer or FB would result in the gluten in the flour being overworked. Next time, try doing it by hand. I've never made pie crust using anything other than a pastry cutter/forks/knives or my hands. I've been making pie crust (successfully) for 47 years. My dad uses the recipe in The Joy of Cooking. I personally prefer my grandma's recipe, but he likes that recipe.
How does the percentage method help?
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Old 12-04-2014, 05:53 AM   #17
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There is a really good book about pro enrage, sort of, it's called Ratio, on Amazon. You can read the sample on line. It kind of explains some of these things.


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Old 12-04-2014, 10:26 AM   #18
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From what I've been reading in this wonderful book, Professional Cooking (Wayne Gisslen), for a flaky pie crust, pastry flour is the best choice--the formula (when using pastry flour) is 100% pastry flour, 70% shortening (fat), 30% water, 2% salt. If using AP flour, the percentage of shortening has to be higher--can't find how much higher, but higher. If using butter, the amount of liquid would be reduced slightly. If using all butter instead of shortening, the percentage of fat should be increased by about 1/4. If using shortening and butter, the two should be blended together before adding to the flour. My impression is that there would be more shortening than butter and the butter is for flavor, not to enhance the tenderness of the crust. If I've done the math correctly, the recipe the OP listed has just over 66% shortening (fat). And the amount of liquid is 35% (?).


Ideally, the dough should be around 60F during mixing and rolling. If the shortening is too warm, it blends too quickly with the flour, if it is very cold, it is harder to work. If you use too much liquid, the crust becomes tough because too much gluten development. If too little liquid, the crust falls apart. I am guessing the recipe needs more fat because of the AP flour--which would possibly balance the amount of water or reduce the water slightly.


I think it is time to play with pie crusts using the formula as the base and then figure out the adjustments when using AP or wholewheat flour re: shortening and liquid. Only problem is, then I'd have to make pies, something I don't make often. Or, I could just blind-bake a bunch of crusts for testing purposes...
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Old 12-04-2014, 02:21 PM   #19
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I understand the dough. Fat and flour are mixed together to form little granules, each independent from each other. At this stage, water had not yet been introduced, and so no gluten development is possible. Enough salt needs to be added to the flour to give the dough flavor, about a half tsp. per cup of flour. Ice water is added to the dough, and gently folded in to avoid developing the gluten, yet form the moist starch that loosely binds the granules together, without making them homogenous.

The dough is placed onto a floured surface to keep it from sticking to that surface. It's pressed down into a rough disk in preparation for rolling. Again, dust with flour to keep the rolling pin from sticking to the dough.

The rolling pin compresses all of those little granules into flat flakes, all held together by the moist starches. When completely flattened into a uniform, round, sheet of dough, it is transferred to the pie pan.

When the pie is cooked, the fat in the dough oven-fries the flour, and some of the water evaporates out. The crust has enough molecular bonds to loosely hold together, while allowing the crust to come apart in flakes. The gluten wasn't developed and so the crust is tender.

The idea of using vodka is that the alcohol, as a liquid, causes the starches to bind, and helps the dough-ball remain stable, without developing the gluten with water.

I don't have the baker's ratio at my disposal right now, and have never used it, as I have visual and tactile cues to help me know when my dough is right, and ready to be rolled.

Experience has taught me that breakage occurs at ragged dough edges, hence the reason I cut the dough into a smooth edged circle.

It just works.

I tend to over-think a lot of things. But I've found a pie crust recipe and technique that gives me great crusts, and so I don't need to fix what ain't broke, if you know what I mean.

I'm not saying that those who use vinegar, or vodka, or chill there dough, or whatever don't have great crusts. Indeed, I'm the guy who always says to play with recipes, and make them your own. I also believe that there are usually many different ways to get excellent results. But I also believe that all of those ways share some common traits.

If you want to make truly great crusts, take what you like from everything we've all said, those of us who make good crusts, sift the ideas through your brain, and just try those ideas, and see how your crust turns out.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 12-04-2014, 02:24 PM   #20
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pardon my ignorance, but if you use pastry flour, aren't you going to end up with pastry dough?
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Pie Crusts [FONT=Verdana][SIZE=3]I really don't like making pie crusts. Probably because it's a struggle to get them to come out right. But the are really better than the pre-made stuff so it's worth the effort. I use an Alton Brown recipe. Here are the ingredients for one crust. [B]One Crust:[/B] 3 Oz Butter, chilled 1 Oz Shortening, chilled 6 Oz AP Flour, plus extra for dusting ½ tsp Table Salt ¼ C Ice Water [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Arial][FONT=Verdana][SIZE=3] The preparation is fairly standard in a food processor.[/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Verdana][SIZE=3] For as long as I can remember, recipes have a caution to use the smallest amount of water that results in the dough sticking together when compressed. I do this and wrap and chill a disk of dough (or two). When I roll it out, the edges split to weird shapes like the profile of a mountain range. I have to do a lot of patching/mending to get a decent edge. I know if I buy prepared pie crusts, this doesn't happen. What do I do? Add more water? change the amounts or ingredients? Also, When making two crusts, do you separate the dough into two equal parts or allocate more than half to the top crust for something like an apple pie that can be fairly tall? I made an apple pie for Thanksgiving and it was really good but I did have the issue rolling out the dough. I used a deep dish dark glass pie plate and baked it at the bottom of the oven so the bottom crust would cook.[/SIZE][/FONT] [/FONT] 3 stars 1 reviews
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