Hand made pastry vs Food processor.....

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by loulimar, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. loulimar

    loulimar

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    Hi,

    If I want to make the best, delicious crumbly tart pastry - am I better off making it by hand or using a food processor?
     
  2. chefedb

    chefedb

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    If you are familiar with machine and pulsing action , fine. If not stick to hand method.  Why??To over pulsate is friction. Friction is heat and heat is no good for pastry or doughs of any kind
     
  3. loulimar

    loulimar

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    Hi - yes I do use the pulse action when making pastry - My pastry results are very inconsistant - sometimes the pastry is so crumbly I can't roll it without it breaking and other times it seems fine - sometimes it shrinks and sometimes it doesn't. I've been trying to find a foolproof method....
     
  4. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    I am by no means a Professional Baker, just a Home Maker, SWDIK,

    but, to it sounds like a moisture issue.  Humidity, an extra large egg vs large egg,

    too much/little water or cream, some sort of liquid. 

    I have the same issues and have just learned by feel and site

    how to adjust my recipe. If it comes out fantastic/great/good/edible it's all good, IMHO, ALOHA!!
     
  5. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    No, not too much moisture; possibly too little.  Most likely your problems and inconsistent results stem from either under or overworking and not resting the dough long enough in the fridge. 

    Very crumbly, soft dough comes from too little moisture, and/or incomplete mixing plus an insufficient rest in the fridge for the dough to fully hydrate while resting. 

    Crumbly -- as opposed to flaky -- means the pieces of fat (whether shortening, lard, butter, or some combination) have been cut into very small pieces.  Too small, if you're looking for flaky.

    Shrinking dough usually results from overworked dough which hasn't been a given a long enough rest for the glutens to relax.  Overworking is very common with an FP.  not a long enough rest for the dough to fully

    By hand is much better if you want a flaky crust.  Hand and processor are about equal if you want a crumbly crust.  By hand, of course, takes a little longer and demands more attention when cutting in the fat.  As a rough rule of thumb, tart crusts are usually made more crumbly than typical American and UK style pie crusts. 

    A food processor can add a lot of heat to whatever it's processing; while tart and pie doughs work best if they're put together and rolled out cold.  There's a little bit of tension there, but it's easy to resolve.

    The right way to use a food processor is to cut your fat into fairly large chunks, at least three or four times larger than you'll eventually want them, and put them in the freezer.  Then when they're frozen (or at least semi-frozen) you can add them, along with the dries, into the FP.  Pulse until the fat is cut into pieces just larger than a pea.  Add a little ICE water and pulse for a couple of seconds.  Keep adding ice water and pulsing (for no more than a couple of seconds) until the dough forms a ball.  Ideally you'll see lumps of flour covered fat poking through the surface of the dough ball. You should also see some unincorporated crumbs.   

    Turn out the dough along with the crumbs onto a large piece of saran wrap.  Bring the wrap together, forming a ball with the dough and the crumbs.  Press the wrapped dough into a disk shape, about 1" thick, or maybe a bit thicker.  Let the disk rest in the fridge for at least a half hour.

    Unwrap the disk, cut it into pieces if dividing, and put one of the pieces on a floured board.  Return the rest of the dough to the fridge.  Sprinkle a fair amount of bench flour onto the dough on the board, and use a floured (and chilled, if possible) pin to flatten the disk, by pressing a cross into it.  Then roll it out, turning the disk as you roll.  Roll to whatever thickness you desire.  Note:  Always start your rolls about 1/3 of the way into the disk, rather than on the edge.    

    Hope this helps,

    BDL
     
  6. loulimar

    loulimar

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    Thank you guys - I'll give it another go using your advice /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
  7. chefross

    chefross

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    Great advice Boar_d. I might add that if your processor has the extra blade used for bread dough I highly recommend using it instead of the regular metal blade.

    Pulsing just to combine the ingredients with as little handling as possible, always gives me great results.
     
  8. countrykook

    countrykook

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    I only make by hand 

    This one breaks all the rules but is simple and gives a very flaky crust - I have used this for many years

    1 & 7/8 cup flour

    1 tsp salt

    2/3 cup chilled shortening (do not use lard)

    1/3 cup lukewarm water

    1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon water - this is to brush on top of pie before baking

    Mix flour & salt - then remove 1/4 cup of this mix and put in a small bowl

    Cut shortening into large bowl of flour/salt mix - use pastry cutter or 2 knives - result should be small pieces about the size of peas

    Add the lukewarm water to small bowl of flour and mix with fork to a smooth paste

    Make a hole (well) in the centre of your large bowl of flour and pour the paste into it

    Use your fork to loosely gather the flour into the paste and form a bit of a ball

    Now use your hands quickly to press & form  this into a ball  -  now cut ball into 2 pieces ( 1 a little larger for bottom crust)

    Roll out on floured surface with floured rolling pin as per normal pie method.- and bake as for normal pie method.

    [​IMG]

    This is a blueberry pie cooked in a dutch oven

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2013
    sra forfb likes this.
  9. michaelga

    michaelga

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    What kind of flour are you using?  Dip and sweep method or something else?

    You don't happen to have a weight for the flour per chance?  If not I'll try to figure it out if you let me know the above two questions.

    Thanks
     
  10. colin

    colin

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    Interesting, Chefross.  I think I have a plastic blade for dough that I hardly ever use.  You would suggest using that for pastry rather than the big scary sharp metal blade?

    BdL is good as always.  I sometimes chop up my butter a bit and drop it in a bowl with the flour, and freeze the whole bowl, covered, before processing.  But it is true that despite resting the dough, I get a bit more shrinkage than I'd like.  Maybe I should go back to doing it by hand.
     
  11. countrykook

    countrykook

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    Flour is All Purpose but Pastry Flour would be better

    I just lift the pie round and throw some more flour under - then swirl dough around

    Flour rolling pin often

    Here's another picture of some pies made with this crust ( done in conventional oven)