Difference in flour between US and Europe affecting my pie crusts? I follow the recipe exactly and it just doesn't roll out nicely.

I'm even careful to use super cold butter, margarine and water. It separates (or cracks) around the edges when I roll it out. I even added some extra dough and it didn't help. So frustrating. :(

  • Posted by: Amber
  • November 16, 2018
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So S. November 17, 2018
i was watching a bon appetit video and they suggested turning it 90 degrees every other pass of the rolling pin (so roll forward, back, turn 90, roll forward, back, turn 90) to avoid cracks. maybe also put the unrolled dough in the fridge for longer to let the dough hydrate more?? the bon appetit video: https://youtu.be/F7VOCR3wWhM?t=299
Smaug November 17, 2018
That's the standard method that they teach. Doesn't work so well if you use a pastry cloth, and I've always had better results by sort of going around the edge-difficult to describe- but rolling perpendicular to the center is the most likely to cause cracks; simple geometry. The hydration thing is interesting- long times certainly work well for pasta and tortilla doughs for that reason; maybe because I usually rest pie dough for quite a while anyway, never considered it a factor.
Smaug November 17, 2018
ps- in re the original post- cold ingredients are important for other reasons, but won't help with cracking. In fact it's usually best to let the dough come to a little warmer than refrigerator temp. for ease of rolling.
nancy E. November 16, 2018
Once you buy a digital scale and measure your flour that way, you will see incredible results. I measured my flour in measure cups and then weighed it. I was over by 1/2 of a cup. That is enough to make anyones pastry dry. Digital scales are the best tool a baker can have
Smaug November 16, 2018
It is natural for pie crust to crack around the edges when rolled; if you keep moisture to a minimum it will happen; it's best to repair these as they come up as they will spread (possibly fun fact- tortillas will crack around the edge when pressed but tend to get better with more pressing). You can alleviate this with more moisture, at the expense of tenderness; you could also substitute booze for some of the water and make it wetter without sacrificing tenderness. Possibly your European flour is drier than what you're used to, but it's always perilous trying to make pastry strictly from a recipe; it's best to work toward a specific feel rather than trying to do it just by measurement.
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