Shortcrust- to roll or divide?

Joined Oct 27, 2015
Hi, this is my first post so go easy on me!

I have been baking savoury individual pies for my friends and workmates for some time now and want to step my production up a notch to sell at weekly farmers' markets.

I'm looking at buying some commercial equipment (just bought a Hobart HL200 Legacy mixer) but have come to a crossroads with larger scale shortcrust production...
I know the basics when it comes to making the shortcrust dough, however once chilled and rested it seems there are two different ways of making the pie case and lid....
It seems most bakers roll it out using a pastry sheeter and lay it over the pie pallet and some use a dough sizer, place the portion into each pie dish and press it to form the case.

Which is the better method for the best shortcrust?
I would have thought that after handling the dough as little as possible while incorporating the flour, butter and water to prevent it going tough then going and rolling back and forth and back and forth it would undo it all?
Would placing the lightly incorporated dough into a divider and then pressing it into a pie tin work the dough a lot less and provide a better result?

Any help would be appreciated,
Joined Oct 27, 2015
In my uneducated (in baking) mind, possibly all Australian bakeries (or all i've seen) use a pastry sheeter and roll out their shortcrust dough to be used as a crust and a pie lid. I can't help but think that this works the dough more, undoing the effort in minimising the kneading in the first place?

To illustrate my point and dillemma, here are a few short vids of the differences which bring me to my crossroads in which way to go!

Firstly a short vid of a "backyarder" making his home made gourmet woodfired pizzas- just as I'd like to do, but using a sheeter in his own home:

Second is the other method- dividing and pressing...
Using a dough divider to portion out accurate amounts per pie, the dough is pressed into the pie mould.
Pie crust pressing:
Manual model:
Up to pneumatic machines like this:

Does anyone in the USA use dough dividers and pie presses to form their pie crusts? What are the pros and cons of both methods?

Thanks for any advice!
Joined Oct 27, 2015
Just wondering if anyone here has ever used a dough sheeter or a dough press?
There are so many pastry cooks here from home cooks to professional to retired pastry chefs that I would have thought all chefs and most pastry enthusiasts would have had used either for many years, let alone had an opinion...
Am I asking for trade secrets here? I'm a little disappointed that not one person has answered my simple, one and only question on this site- and it isn't a hard question....
Is there something I'm missing here as to why no one wants to reply to my question?
Joined Oct 10, 2005
I'm not a big fan of the dough presses.  With this method, you need to formulate a dough with a high ratio of fat(preferably oil)then divide this  dough into small balls, then place a ball into a alum. foil cup and this into a heated press.  I've never seen those presses stamp out lids for pies, but don't see why you couldn't.  This method becomes a little more practical if you have a dough divider/rounding which is used commonly for buns.

Now with a sheeter, you can roll out your dough, and cut out 30-40 bottoms or tops from one piece of dough.  No dividing individual portions.  From my point of view, this is less labour intensive.

I confess, I just hate those dough presses, labour intensive and the dough it requires is usually nasty.  Besides, for pies, you will need a "robust" dough, not one that crumbles apart and leaks that is typical of the presses.

True, the sheeter will cost, I paid $6,000 cdn for mine new, but that machine becomes very handy for many other things.  In my kitchen I use it for confectionary almost as much as for dough work.  No one says you can't buy this used, the Swiss and German machines are probably the best.  If you go Asian, make sure the dealer puts a 1 yr warranty behind it.

Hope this helps
Joined Oct 27, 2015
Laurenlulu thanks for your reply.
Foodpump you make a lot of sense! There is always a reason why the majority of people do something a certain way and you've made it clear why bakeries typically roll their dough!
The pie presses I was looking at both pressed out cases and with a change of dies did lids too, and they'd press the pie into a pie dish not a foil so they are a little less labour intensive- some claim 500 pies per hour for a single press, but I definitely agree that laying a sheet over a pie pallet would be a lot easier and quicker- and if the dough is worked more and becomes more firm then that's a good thing eh!
Sometimes it takes someone to state the obvious through experience- thanks!

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