High Altitude Recipe Adjustment

I've made this pie crust for over a year with about 10 different recipes from the 4+20 book. The crust flavor and texture turn out well after baking, but the rolling out of the dough after refrigeration is infuriating - it's not supple! If I make the cold disk thinner or thicker, leave on the counter for shorter or longer times, it still does not look like the pictures and makes it difficult to practice any finishing techniques other than forking the edges. I'm at 7400ft in Flagstaff, AZ. What can I do to adjust this recipe and get a really soft beautiful looking dough upon roll out?

  • Posted by: Jacque
  • November 9, 2021


AntoniaJames November 11, 2021
Jacque, tinkering with the amount of water in a pie crust can be tricky, as I'm sure you know. Add the smallest amount you think could possibly help, and if it's not enough, add just a tiny bit more. If the dough feels too wet, let it rest for 10 - 15 minutes, to give it time to hydrate, which will certainly happen in your dry climate.

I strongly recommend trying Purdy's recipe for pie crust, however. You might like it just as much as, if not more than, the recipe you've been using. Purdy's calls for a bit of shortening. I use Spectrum organic shortening, which you should be able to get at Whole Foods Market and similar groceries.

Let us know, please, how things work out for you! ;o)
Jacque November 10, 2021
Thank you, Antonia I've tried the egg yolk trick before in Flagstaff when trying to perfect dumpling dough (it's supposed to be the consistency of a soft ear lobe) but I'm still figuring that one out too!

I'll try adding a bit more liquid to the pie crust as you suggested, and this Pie in the Sky book is a great suggestion. Thank you again!
AntoniaJames November 9, 2021
I live at 5200 feet (Boulder County). I rely extensively on the thoroughly researched (at 5 different altitudes from sea level to 10,000 ft), comprehensive tome on high altitude baking, Susan Purdy's excellent "Pie in the Sky." She wrote a definitive book on pies in 1990, "Easy as Pie," which was the first baking book I ever owned. Purdy knows her pies.

I just looked at her ratios for 7,000 ft, comparing them to the 4 + 20 recipe. If I were in Flagstaff, I'd add another tablespoon of water (moisture almost always being the culprit when dough fights you - assuming of course that you have also let the dough rest a bit after giving it a few good rolls, to relax the gluten). I'd probably also add an egg yolk.

You should see if your local library has "Pie in the Sky," or buy it. It's indispensable for baking successfully up here at higher altitudes. ;o)
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