Written by Hettie Woehler (last updated July 1, 2022)
Learning how to bake a pastry is not only a great way to impress your friends and family, it allows you to also make some great tasting treats anytime you want. However, before you can begin baking pastry you need to learn how the various ingredients and equipment interact. To make that process as easy as possible, simply take a look at the information outlined below. The important thing to remember is that the knowledge must come first, speed will come over time.
Pastry flour versus all purpose flour. The main difference between pastry and all purpose flour is the amount of protein it contains. Pastry flour contains 8.5% - 9.5% protein, which is low relative to all purpose (10% - 12% protein). It is used in delicate cakes and pastries. You will find it in health food stores or at certain supermarkets.
Using a food processor. A food Processor works faster than doing it by hand. Prevent the fat and liquid from heating by pulsing the food Processor instead of letting it run. This way the food Processor will fold in the ingredients instead of blending it together. Remember the fat must be very cold. When you add the liquid (whether it is water, egg, even a little vinegar) it should only collect all the flour-coated fat particles together and make them stick.
Rolling out pie crust. Allow the dough to rest in the fridge before you roll it out. It is even recommended that you allow dough to relax before you bake it. If the dough gets too hard in the refrigerator, allow it to warm up a little at room temperature. Add little bits of flour as you go. Turn the dough frequently and work fast. Only practise will help you to learn how much pressure to apply while rolling. Placing the dough between waxed paper or plastic wrap will help avoid the sticking problem. You should always roll from the middle of the dough and turn it one quarter and repeat the rolling process. Turning the dough often will slow the forming of gluten which will create a tough crust.
Fitting the dough into the pan. Have your pie plate at hand. Carefully fold the dough in half. pick it up and lay across the plate. If you used wax paper in the rolling process, carefully take it off. Open the dough up and gently work it into the plate. Don't worry if it tears or splits, pinch it together again, or use scraps to repair any holes.
Crimping the edges. Pinch along the edge with your fingers or use a fork to Crimp the edges. Then follow the instructions of the recipe to finish the pie.
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