AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
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Seems to me like you're not working the dough long enough.Do you use a food processor or your hands?I learned from a pastry cheff you can use a machine to start,but then work it on your hands for a while,until you're able to do a little roll that will break in two when bent,creating gritty edges.Otherwise,if you work it too much the heat from your hands will melt the butter and kind of cook the dough,and turn out too hard.So you have to find your timing...good luck!
Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.
I find that when I make pie dough with both butter and shortening/lard as opposed to an all butter crust it tends to crack less around the edges. I have had that happen many times. The pie dough I make using Julia Childs recipe doesn't crack very much, maybe its the ratio of fat to starch but the recipe I have been using for a while now really is good, notice i say much. There are a few very tiny cracks around the edges and I just use my hands to smooth them out. I have also started doing my pie crusts by hand again and shying away from the processor unless I have more than 5 pies to make at a time.
One other thing, since I received a windfall of leaf lard and have been using it in my pie dough I have found that it cracks even less than when I using the butter/shortening combo. Maybe its because the lard melts into the dough while you are working it at a lower temperature than shortening. Maybe some of our resident experts will weigh in,
Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
Add another tablespoon of ice water. When we do the discussion of gluten formation in the presence of water, it tends to make students terrified of over-moistening a pie crust. Uniformly, an under-moistened dough cracks. It's a fine line between over- and under-developing gluten, but a tablespoon or so more water will probably cure your cracks.
Thats good to know, but what do you do if the dough cracks when you are rolling out? Fearful of overworking by adding water and kneading it in? I guess you should be looking for a moist dough before you put it in the fridge to rest. It's so hard to know like you said a fine line between over and under developing the dough.
Yes, sdb. I always make my dough in a stand mixer, and the rule is to mix it after the water's been added just until no trace of unhydrated dry ingredients remains in the bottom of the bowl. If this seems to be taking longer than it should, that's where the tablespoon of water comes in. I suspect there's a bit more control over this step with a mixer over a food processor. The latter tends to bring all the ingredients to a semblance of being mixed just right when in fact they may not be.
I just read your whole response, sdb. What to do if the dough cracks when you're rolling it? Well, at that point, you're kind of behind the 8 ball. The key is to get it adequately moistened prior to the refrigerator rest and subsequent roll-out.
If I use my processor I just mix in the fat then transfer to a bowl and add the water. I find that using my processor for the whole thing doesn't work that well. I never thought of using the stand mixer. Do you use the paddle attachment or dough hook? Maybe thats a stupid question this is dough after all. Thanks so much for all the sage advice.