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Crimped pie edges not holding shape with AP Flour

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I am a fairly experienced baker, I am a bit frustrated with my pie crust not holding perfect crimped edges in the oven when blind baking. I compared two different flours this week: all purpose (365 Organic AP Flour) and whole wheat pastry (Arrowhead Mills). Everything else was the same.

*The whole wheat pastry flour maintained its shape (photo attached), the edge crimp stayed almost perfectly the way it went to the oven, and it had nice deep walls. With the AP flour, the crimped edges weren't nearly as defined, and the sides (where the pie starts to curve up towards the lip of the crust) rose up away from the bottom of the pan. The white flour almost always seems to puff white a bit during baking as well.

This is my current recipe:

360g (3 cups flour)
1 tablespoon sugar
1.5 teaspoons salt
245g (2 sticks + 4 teaspoons) unsalted european style butter
1 tablespoon liquor (whiskey)
1 tablespoon vinegar (white wine, champagne, etc.)
4 to 6 tablespoons ice water

After making the dough, I refrigerated for at least an hour; then rolled, crimped, and froze each crust for about 6 to 8 hours. I docked the dough, added foil, and filled each crust to the brim with beans before baking in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes; removed the beans, brushed with egg wash, and baked another 10 minutes.

Why are these behaving so differently? Could the subtle difference in gluten development be affecting this? And how can I get an AP crust to bake with the crimp staying near perfect and maintain a beautiful shape in the pie pan?

asked by Ryan Ochsner about 2 years ago
11 answers 1309 views
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added about 2 years ago

To compare, here is a photo of the AP crust, baked.

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4a1a2f13 6f68 4666 b3d1 f0f3a41123a9  9 3 16 3 of 3
added about 2 years ago

AP crust before baking.

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added about 2 years ago

Hmmm. Slumping can be caused by dough that's not rested enough or too warm, but you've rested and chilled yours more than long enough.

It can be caused by dough with too much fat, but your recipe isn't unusually heavy in fat.

It can be caused by mishandling the dough (stretching the gluten, which then shrinks back during baking), but if you were doing this you'd expect to see it in both doughs.

I suspect the AP flour dough may be too wet, which would account for both the slumping and the puffing. It takes time for flour in a dough to fully hydrate, and since a given amount of WW flour absorbs more water than the same amount of AP flour, the WW dough may end up being dryer than the AP dough after its initial rest.

4a1a2f13 6f68 4666 b3d1 f0f3a41123a9  9 3 16 3 of 3
added about 2 years ago

Thanks, @sfmiller. Someone else I chatted with suspected my dough being too wet as well. When adding water, perhaps I'll try to incorporate much less of it. I typically hydrate enough so that there are no crumbs left in the bowl, but maybe a few crumbs are okay. I'll just push it and all into a ziplock bag, and let it fully hydrate there.

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Very interesting. I'm sorry I can't contribute to your and sfmiller's thorough analysis, but just to say this is very helpful reading and trial-and-error pie crust education. Thank you.

(I'm taking a much needed break from the Thanksgiving prep in the kitchen. If I see another knob of butter, I'll scream.)

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boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 2 years ago

I believe your dough is too wet, also. Try cutting the water back to 4 tablespoons. If the dough appears reluctant to pick up the list bits of dry ingredients from the bottom of the bowl, add additional water by the teaspoon, as malformed edges (yours are gorgeous pre-baking by the way!) can easily be caused by overworking the dough. Have a lovely Thanksgiving.

4a1a2f13 6f68 4666 b3d1 f0f3a41123a9  9 3 16 3 of 3
added about 2 years ago

Thanks, @boulangere. I sure appreciate it.

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boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 2 years ago

@saidmusician, here is a tutorial I posted about flaky pastry crusts that may help you: http://thesolitarycook...

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added about 2 years ago

@boulangere, I read your article and made some changes. I cut the fat in by hand, as usual, but then I dumped it all in the kitchenaid and added liquid while running on low speed. I was able to work in about 5 tablespoons of liquid total (vs. 6 to 9 by hand). I also used some gorgeous Anson Mills Fine Cloth-Bolted Pastry Flour, which I think has a bit less protein and probably soaked up a tad more liquid as well. The crusts turned out great. I'll attach pics if I get a minute.

Thanks for all the feedback!

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boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 2 years ago

@saidmusician, I'm so glad it helped you.

4a1a2f13 6f68 4666 b3d1 f0f3a41123a9  9 3 16 3 of 3
added about 2 years ago

Just wanted to post a photo of the pie crust that finally turned out the way I wanted. I used the above recipe, but with Anson Mills Cloth-Bolted Pastry Flour (stored in the freezer, so it also helped keep a cold dough while forming).

I cut the fat in with a hand pastry cutter, then transfered to a stand mixer per @boulangere's suggestion. I was able to only work in about 5 tablespoons of liquid.

The crust held beautiful shape. I brushed it with an egg wash (1 egg, dash of cream, pinch of salt) and sprinkled with sugar for the final 10 minutes in the oven. Success!

Thanks everyone for the help.

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