How to Use Vinegar for a Flaky Pie Crust

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Vinegar also prevents pie crusts from over-browning.
Vinegar also prevents pie crusts from over-browning. (Image: Pie image by Antonio Oquias from Fotolia.com)

Expert bakers can achieve the flaky, tender texture of a good pie crust with just the basic ingredients of flour, salt, fat and water, but the addition of vinegar helps even a first-time pie maker create a flaky crust. The acidity of vinegar reduces gluten in the dough, making it more flaky and tender. The dough will also roll out more easily and shrink less during baking. Some pie crust recipes include vinegar, but you can easily modify your tried-and-true family recipe to incorporate this trick for a flaky crust.

Things You'll Need

  • Pie crust recipe
  • Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar

Prepare the pie crust according to your recipe up to the point before adding the water.

Measure 1 tsp. of vinegar for each cup of flour in your recipe into a small bowl or measuring cup.

Reduce the ice water measurement in the recipe by the amount of vinegar. There are 3 tsp. in each tbsp., so if you use 2 tsp. vinegar and the recipe calls for 5 tbsp. water, use 4 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. water.

Add the water to the vinegar and stir.

Sprinkle the water and vinegar mixture over the other ingredients. Incorporate with a fork or rubber spatula just until all the ingredients stick together. Do not overmix or the crust will become tough.

Chill the dough for at least 45 minutes, then prepare the pie crust and pie according to your recipe.

Tips & Warnings

  • Chill all the ingredients before making the pie crust and handle the dough as little as possible to keep the pie crust flaky and tender.

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