Any And All Professional Bakers -- Quantity Pie Crusts

Discussion in 'Professional Pastry Chefs' started by keelenorth, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. keelenorth

    keelenorth

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    Do you know where I could get a recipe or formula I guess you would call it to make 100 Pie crusts ?A friend and I want to do that and then take 50 each and freeze some and make quiches,chicken pot pies, fruit pies etc. Can you help ? or point me in the right direction ?

    ThanX
    Cindy
     
  2. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Within my limited experience, high volume crust recipes are pretty much scaled up low volume recipes.

    You've got to keep the fat cold, and the liquid minimized.   Because of the combination of heat generated by large mixers, the effect of overmixing, and the time it takes to autolyse large volumes mixing large quantities of pie crust in a single bound can be... uhm... problematic.

    Unless you have access to serious equipment, you're probably going to be making crusts in batches anyway.  And that's not a bad thing. 

    BDL
     
  3. keelenorth

    keelenorth

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    actually I do have access to a commercial mixer
     
  4. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    A mixer is well and good.  But the issue with pie crust dough comes with cutting in 15 pounds of shortening at one time into 25 pounds of flour, all the while keeping the shortening cold; then adding the bare amount of water necessary, distributing it evenly, but not overworking.

    Shortening which is kept cold enough and in big enough pieces to keep its integrity and ultimately create a flaky pastry; and dough that's not overworked, so as to end up tender are the real hurdles.

    Pie crust recipes are easy.  But it's not the ingredient list which makes a good dough, it's the technique.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
  5. caterchef

    caterchef Banned

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    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/chef.gif  If you have a Hobart use the pastry knife (it is shaped like the letter D with the top cut off)  Wih ice cold shortening and ice cold flour and a 3 part flour and 2 part shortening formula like the one below:

     http://www.pastrychef.com/Pie-Dough_ep_62.html
     
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010
  6. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    The recipe caterchef linked calls for 3 pounds of flour at a time.  So it's still a very limited yield and will require something like 8 - 10 batches to get to 100 crusts.  Which is pretty much what I've been saying all along.

    Also, a 3,2,1 (3 flour, 2 fat, 1 liquid) mix is waaaaaaay too much liquid for a tender, flaky crust, at least in my opinion. 

    It would be nice to get a real pastry chef in here.

    BDL
     
  7. caterchef

    caterchef Banned

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    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/chef.gif  That's the same formula CIA has in The Professional Chef book. And they call it 3,2,1

    pastry dough.If you can't use a caculator and bakers scales and a little discretion maybe this isn't the right  forum for you. Any Pastry Chef  or Baker will tell you that liquid is a variable. My personal formula and technique will cost you a lot more respect than I have been getting from you./img/vbsmilies/smilies/frown.gif  
     
     
  8. chefelle

    chefelle

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    I do alot of pie baking for my wholesale restaurant accounts.  I have never done huge quantities of pie crust at one time even though I do have all of the equipment to do it.  As BDL suggests I do smaller batches, by hand (no mixers!),,,,,the maximum amount I get per batch is about 15.  It really takes little time to mix up a batch of pie dough...the time is in rolling them out and getting them into the pie tins.

    It's important to be gentle with pie dough and I like the control that I have when I do my pie dough in the manner described above.

    I also don't use shortening...I use butter and some lard. 

    My mentor (a master pastry chef) did use a mixer...but he made small batches also and he was extremely, extremely picky in standing over the mixer and adding liquid a few drops at a time and mixing as minimally as possible. 

    Hope this helps. 
     
  9. caterchef

    caterchef Banned

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    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/chef.gifIf you don't have a "pie press" or "dough sheeter" I would consider buyng the shells premade frozen as they are much better nowadays than they were when they first came out.

    Making 100 pie shells with a rolling pin is not an easy chore./img/vbsmilies/smilies/frown.gif
     
  10. the pie lady

    the pie lady

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    At my small bakery we make hundreds of pies each week.  We make the pastry by hand and roll the pies by hand.  We make the pastry in batches that would make 10 double crust 10" pies or 18 single crust 10" pies.  I wouldn't reccomend making the pastry by machine if you want tender and flakey pastry.   Pastry is as much about method as it is about the recipe - cold ingredients and minimal handling.
     
     
  11. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    caterchef,

    Interesting that you suggest commercially made frozen pie crusts to those made in small or medium batch quantities and rolled out by hand.  Even with the extra work, that's got to be something of a minority opinion among people who can actually bake. 

    That said we are in some agreement.  Making 100 crusts at a time is more trouble than it's worth unless you use them pretty quickly. 

    For the sake of the OP, other readers and posterity, please don't let my lack of respect stop you from giving your personal recipe and technique.  I'm not the one who needs it. 

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2010
  12. foodpump

    foodpump

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    As many have said, pie crusts rely alot on technique and ice cold ingredients.

    I only have two fats in my shop:  Butter and cocoa butter. (Although I know this great joke about shortening, where two guys walk into the men's in a bar, and...)

    What I like to do is scale out my flour and salt, and drop my blocks of rock -hard butter into the flour, coating them evenly.  Because I am a cook at heart, I fish the blocks out, use my Chef's knife to slice the blocks into aprox 3/8" thick slices, every other slice gets dipped into flour and stacked up into block form again, then slice into strips and then into cubes.  What I have now is a mixer bowl full of flour,salt, and tiny cubes of butter. Since the cubes are already coated with flour, the mixing time is very short.  Paddle attachment on, and mix the cubes until they have just smeared themselves well with flour.  Watch like a hawk.  Then ice water, slowly, and only just enough to hold the whole thing together to a shaggy mass.  Dump the bowl onto the table and give it a few kneads.

    At this stage you can save a bit of energy when you have to roll out:  Scale out the dough into balls suitable for your bases or tops, and form each ball into a round, flat disc.  Refrigerate.  All butter based doughs benifit greatly from an overnight rest.  Rolling out is a lot easier at this stage because most of the "grunt work" has already been done.

    Hundred pie crusts is no joke.  You could devote a day to making the dough and portioning out the discs, refrigerate for maybe up to 3 days or freeze for up to a month,  and another day to rollout, shape, fill, and bake.

    How many pairs of hands and how much oven space do you have? 

    Heard "Cook's Illustrated" has this weird-azz recipie they swear by and insist on using that involves copious amounts of vodka.  Meh.  Whatever.

    Hope this helps
     
  13. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Hey Pump,

    What's the largest batch of pie pastry you'd make in the mixer at one time? 

    Vodka helps control gluten development to maintain tenderness.  In some respects, vodka crusts are similar to "rich" egg/vinegar crusts.  While rich crusts are their own thing, tender pastry is no big deal as long as you don't overhandle it and use a flour that isn't too hard.  IMO, vodka is no substute for good technique.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2010
  14. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Only have a 30 qt right now, so the largest I'm comfortable with is about a 10kg batch.  Anything larger and the mixer just kicks ingredients all over and never really mixes well

    I've known some guys who were in heavy production (Costco and Safeway contracts) to use a vertical cutter/mixer, they were happy with it, bragged a 15 kg batch only took 30 seconds to mix.  Used the same machine for pizza dough and to shred cheese with to.  Other high production guys use liquid shortening and use a hydraulic pie press.  Don't like that method, and don't like the results
     
  15. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Keelenorth,

    I've been thinking a lot about this.  I think the best way to handle this is to:
    • Cut in the fat in reasonable size batches -- say 2-1/2 to 5 lbs of flour at a time, max.  Remember, it's important to keep the fat cold; not to break it into too small pieces, nor to smoosh it into a paste.
    • Add as little ice water water as possible to bring the dough together (by hand), as quickly as possible.  This is another reason you want to work in reasonable size batches.
    • Portion
    • Form each portion into a disc, and wrap it in cling wrap. 
    • Repeat the whole process, batch by batch until you've got enough or have run out of flour. 
    • Bag the discs in freezer bags, and store in the freezer.
    • Defrost (preferably overnight in the fridge); and,
    • Roll out as needed.
    Don't use "bread" flour, use AP.  And, if you're using an extra hard AP like King Arthur, you consider softening it by cutting it with cake flour at a ratio of about 4 AP to 1 cake. Glutens are not your friend.

    Your stated ambitions lay in the area of a 25 lb bag of flour.

    I'd go about 10 cups of flour (~44 oz) at a time. 

    You'll also want to use about 2 tbs salt for each 10 cups of flour.

    You'll want to use about 2/3 as much fat (I prefer lard) as flour by weight.  Since solid fats like Crisco, lard, and btter are roughly twice as dense as flour that converts to about 1/3 as much fat as flour by volume.  So, if you're doing 10 cups of flour (2-1/2 x 1 quart measures) at a time, that roughly 44 oz translates to roughly 2-3/4 lbs; in turn that means 3 cups of sold shortening which is equal to 3 sticks of butter; and rounds closely enough to 3/8 of a five pound block of lard. 

    You want to keep the fat very cold through the entire process.  Cold fat that isn't cut too small makes for flaky pastry.  And by the way, "flaky" means that after it's baked, when it breaks it flat "flakes" -- instead of breaking into crumbs.   For whatever reason people commonly apply the word to pie crust independent of its meaning.  But flaky means flaky, and flaky is a good thing.

    Water should be as little as possible and as cold as possible.  You'll probably be somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 cup of ice-cold water per 10 cups flour.

    Note that when you do finally bring the dough together, you should clearly see "nuggets" of sold fat in it.  If you don't, you cut the fat in too fine, let it get too warm, or both.

    Hope this helps,

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2010
  16. caterchef

    caterchef Banned

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    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/chef.gif  I happen to own a Kaiser Pie Press, a 24in. dough sheeter, a 20 and 30qt. Hobart mixer and there are still times that I buy frozen pie shells. Like at Thanksgiving when it come time to make pumpkin pies for the church. As far as making a flaky pie shell mechanically, it's no different than the butcher that keeps his meat grinder and sausage stuffer in the walk-in cooler to keep things cool. I just don't like to stay in the cooler that long. As far as your formula (above) for 2/3 fat by weight of the flour, it sound like a 3-2-1 formula with the liquid being variable. and yes I also.prefer lard&butter and a (little vinegar just because grandma did)/img/vbsmilies/smilies/cool.gif
     
     
  17. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    The 3 parts flour to 2 parts fat thing is pretty consistent through a lot of pie and tart making.  I don't know if I got it learning the three pates, the two pastas, or just regular ol' pie crust.  Whatever.

    One crust making technique that stuck with me -- and why I don't use 3.2,1 -- is the need to use as little fluid as possible (unless you're going after a crumbly texture and specific flavor).   That makes it important to see and feel the dough together immediately and not wait for ordinary diffusion to spread the moisture.   So, that's one of several reasons I'm pushing "by batch" over dumping 25 lbs of flour into a floor mixer and letting it rip.

    Another consideration which I didn't bring up is the use of sugar -- good for some things not for others -- because it didn't seem to fit within the OP's vision.

    I've only used a dough sheeter once in my life -- when I took a seminar at the Cheese Board Collective many years ago.

    When I was catering a great deal of my crust making went to motely sized tarts and pies, gallettes, pates en croute, and a variety of other stuff unsuited to a press.  I can't say I've never pressed out dough using two same sized pans, but rolling has always been my method.  It does take longer, true.  And it's really not in better.  Nevertheless, I'm happy.  It took me forever to develop good French pin skills and -- what can I say -- it's fun to use them.   Even then my baking was never in quantities you seem to work in. 

    My little company was called Predominantly French and as my business cards said, it was Intimate Catering.  In other words, I did relatively small dinners -- most often in the 12 - 20 range.  The point being... small quantities (at least by catering standards).

    When it comes to cooking in huge batches I generally defer to people who have experience like yours. 

    In this case though, I think the OP is better served by working in small batches.

    BDL
     
  18. rat

    rat

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    If I may chime in here, to the OP first get a recipe YOU like and are comfortable with then multiply it by a number sufficient to reach your mixers capacity and scale accordingly. We make about 10 kilos at a time. A good trick is to refridgerate the flour and water  overnight.

    Use the coarsest/largest shredder attatchment to grate your butter onto a sheetpan dusting all the while with flour to keep it mostly separated. Put the butter back into the fridge or freezer before mixing it. Mix the butter in by hand first before adding the liquid, this prevents overmixing. The smaller pieces of butter from the grater help you not overmix the dough. The final mixing is done when you are actually rolling out the dough. When scaling out your portions and rolling the crusts, a good tip is to take the remainder of the scrap from the previous crust and tear it up, add it to the next crust you are about to roll. When you are done there will be no scrap left over.  You can also make a template of a circle out of cardboard the size appropriate to your pie pan, this makes it much easier to roll out and minimize scrap.
     
  19. m brown

    m brown

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    To scale your formula, make sure you are using bakers %'s basing the flour as 100%.

    Flour 100 %

    Fat  50%

    Liquid 25 %

    Salt 1 %

    That way you can base the formula on what you need or what you have and always get a consistant product.

    100 shells should not be an issue for a professional kitchen. Work Cold and Fast and use a low protien flour and a good solid fat  - shortening, butter, margarine - whatever your client requires.

    Remember to prep and plan: keeping dough on hand in the cooler and your rolled out unbaked shells in the freezer.
     
  20. sgtgoodie

    sgtgoodie

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    Amen to making pie dough by hand! I used to make the dough by hand in what we called a Half Moon which was just a big stainless bowl about 3' in diameter. I made 100 portions at a time rolling the dough into logs in wax paper to rest in the refrigerator before being cut into smaller discs to be rolled out. With the first 100 portion batch I would roll out the bottoms of 25 pies (200 portions of pie cut by 8s) and the second batch of course would be for the tops. We would make all the pie dough in the morning and get it into the cooler to rest. We normally made 120 pies a day so it was about 10 batches. You mention a master baker using a mixer. Just a coincidence but one of the guys I worked with just got certified as a master baker and he was the one (as our chief baker long ago) that insisted on making the dough by hand. It worked so well that I still make pie dough by hand. The extra time is worth the final product.

    http://luxuryexperience.com/chefs_r...ute_of_america,_hyde_park,_new_york,_usa.html

    This link has a recipe from Chef Michael Skibitcky. Of course you'll have to convert the recipe to work off of about 8# of flour and use the percentages. Scroll down to find the recipe and how he uses it. Below you'll find the ingredients  and conversion table.

    Ing.

    One Crust

    100 por. (24-10 0z pcs)

    percentages

    Pastry Flour

    1 ¼   Cups (5.25 ounces, 149 grams)

    8 lbs

    100%

    Salt

    ½      teaspoons

    2 oz

    Shortening

    7       Tablespoons (3.5 ounces, 99 grams)

    5 lbs 6 oz

    67%

    Water, cold

    3 ½   Tablespoons (1.75 fl. ounces, 52 ml)

    2 lbs 6 oz

    33%