How do you bake the perfect pie crust? It all starts with choosing the right ingredients for the recipe. Let’s take a closer look at which flour to pick and how to use them in the best way possible. There are two main types of flour that bakers use for pie crust: All-purpose and Bread Flour. The one most often used depends on the kind of pie being made.
It is best to use all-purpose flour for pies with a fruit filling and bread flour for heavier pies like pumpkin or pecan.
The rest of the article will detail which flour to use for the different types of pies and how to create the perfect crust.
Bread Flour or All-Purpose Flour for Pie Crust?
The most popular type of flour these days is all-purpose, which is a combination of soft and hard wheat. The best part about this type is that it’s typically cheap and easy to find. On the other hand, bread flour contains higher amounts of gluten than all-purpose does.
- All-Purpose Flour: All-purpose flour is a blend of hard and soft wheat varieties. It contains less gluten than bread flour but still gives you the elasticity you need in your crust. Use it for pies with a fruit filling or a double-crusted apple pie (with a lower fat content).
- Bread Flour: Bread flour contains a lot more gluten than all-purpose does, giving you the perfect amount of elasticity that you need for your crust. It’s great for pies with heavier fillings, like pumpkin or pecan. It’s also less expensive than all-purpose flour (for the most part).
Pro Tip: When measuring out flour, you’ll want to use a kitchen scale instead of measuring cups. This is because using measuring cups can be imprecise because you scoop the flour up into the cup before leveling it off with a knife or an extra spoon. The problem with this method is that if there are voids in your measurements, you’ll have too much or too little gluten when cooking.
Does It Matter What Kind of Flour I Use?
For the most part, it doesn’t matter what kind of flour you use as long as your ingredients are measured correctly. The best type of flour to use depends on how the pie will be used.
For example, a double-crusted apple pie is better with bread flour. On the other hand, a cherry pie would be better served by using all-purpose flour. The type of flour you use depends on the recipe and how much you’re going to use of that specific product; it doesn’t really matter if you use all bread or all-purpose flour as long as your recipe is followed carefully.
Are There Any Substitutes for Flour in Pie Crust?
You can substitute any of the ingredients listed in your recipe with a mix of flour or dry ingredients. For example, you could use a combination of all-purpose and bread flour to replace one-third or two-thirds of the all-purpose flour.
Be careful not to add too many dry ingredients, as this can cause your pie crust to be tough and heavy. Having too much dry product can also make your pie crust crumbly rather than tender and flaky.
If you are going to substitute dried items in your recipe, be sure to use a ratio of 1 cup of water for every 1 cup of dry ingredients.
Best Brand of Flour for Pie Crust
In my opinion, the best flour to use for pie crust is King Arthur Flour. It’s the go-to brand for all of your baking needs. They do have a distributor, so you can choose from a variety of their products, including All-Purpose Flour, Bread Flour, and Pie Flour.
Here is a link to it on Amazon, in case you want to try it out.
Most of the time, at the beginning of the supply chain for baking products, there is only one variety of flour. The brand you choose just depends on personal preference.
Is Unbleached Flour Good For Pie Crust?
If you are making a double-crust pie crust, I would suggest using unbleached flour. Unbleached flour has not been treated in any way, so it will be more nutritious and also have a nice, light color. However, if you want to make a single or regular crust that doesn’t have to be baked twice, I would use bleached flour.
How Do You Know If Your Flour Is Unbleached?
In my opinion, you can tell if your flour is bleached or unbleached by looking at the packaging. Look for either a bleached or unbleached symbol; these symbols are usually found next to the ingredients, and they indicate the type of flour.
What Does Adding Egg to Pie Crust Do?
Adding an egg to your pie crust is mainly for flavor. It will also allow you to make the dough a lighter color so it doesn’t camouflage the filling of your pie so much.
Why Would You Put Vinegar in Pie Crust?
Vinegar is commonly used in a pie crust for two reasons:
- To keep the gluten strands from getting too tough.
- It makes the dough taste a little more like bread (which is usually a good thing).
There are also some minor health benefits to adding vinegar to your pie crust, such as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. However, the amount of vinegar used in a recipe is very minor and will not have any kind of significant effect on your health. If you want to reap the health benefits of using vinegar, then I would suggest starting out with ½ teaspoon but increasing it gradually over time until you find a good balance between flavor and health benefits.
What Makes a Better Pie Crust Butter or Shortening?
This is one of those questions that people tend to have strong opinions about, and there isn’t really an answer that I can give you. Both butter and shortening do have their perks and drawbacks.
If you are making a double-crust pie crust, then I suggest using butter to make the crust more tender because there is more moisture in the meat and butter than in shortening. However, if you are using a single or regular crust, I suggest using shortening to give your pie a flakier texture without baking twice.
Cooking the butter slightly brings out its natural nuttiness, which complements the chocolate. It also helps bind the dry ingredients, creating a flaky pastry. If you’ve ever made a pie crust with cold butter and water, you’ll know it never works as well because the butter is solid and doesn’t mix with the flour.
Adding Flour to Pie Dough Tips
There are a few different ways to add flour to your pie dough:
- Flour can be added right at the beginning of the recipe when you are mixing or added towards the end. Applying flour toward the end of mixing will prevent the dough from getting too sticky, and it will also allow you to make minor adjustments to make sure everything is mixed together well.
- Flour can also be applied after rolling out your dough but before putting it in a pie pan. This will help to keep your filling from sticking to your crust if your filling is pretty wet. But please note that applying flour after rolling out the dough is not necessary, and in fact, such treatment might ruin your crust if you do it this way.
- If you want to add flour to your pie crust, but your pie filling is already very dry, then you can add some water before shaping the dough. I suggest wetting the flour with a tiny amount of water so that it does not become soggy and then lightly stir it in.
- You can also roll out pie dough and cut out the shapes; then, as the dough is cooling down a bit, sprinkle it with some water instead of adding flour. This will allow you to more easily shape them into different designs, if that is what you are going for.
- Flouring the rolled-out dough is a last resort option and should be done only if none of the alternatives mentioned previously work well enough for your needs. So this method should be used only if you cannot figure out any other way to make your pastry or pie crust softer and easier to roll out.
How Do You Fix Overworked Pie Crust?
Here are three tips for fixing overworked pie crust
- If you end up with a sticky and stiff dough, work in some more water until you can roll it out again. This is the easiest way to fix overworked pie crust, and it will come out great!
- You can also knead in some flour or add a tiny amount of oil or even melted butter to make your pie crust softer.
- Some recipes call for using several eggs instead of/in addition to water to make the dough easier to work with. Usually, this is done when making a savory pie crust, but I like using it for sweet fillings, too, as it makes the dough really soft and easy to roll out!
How Do I Make My Pie Crust Not Soggy?
When making a fruit pie, several “cures” can be used to make sure your pie crust doesn’t become soggy. Here are just a few of the best ones:
- Brush the dough with egg or milk before adding it to the pan. This will help keep the moisture out of the crust and also help if you added more water than you should have in your recipe.
- Use different types of flour if you know that your filling is going to be wetter than usual. For example, use all-purpose flour for pies with fruit and bread flour for heavier fillings like pumpkin or pecan pies.
- The pastry in your crust can be slightly thicker than usual. For example, if you want to make a pie with apple filling, then coat the apple slices in flour before adding them to the pie crust.
- Blind bake your pie crust by placing it on a baking sheet and then placing something heavy over it (like a cookie sheet filled with beans). The idea is that no water will be able to get into the bottom of your crust while it is baking, which will lead to puffing up and shrinking down directly after you take off the weights.
If you are making a double-crust pie, then your filling will bake in the top crust, too, so make sure there is no extra liquid in that portion of your pie crust either. You can also make an effort to remove more of the water from your filling so that it does not seep into your bottom crust either.
Sliced fruit pies tend to get soggy bottoms too. When making a pie with sliced fruit, make sure the pieces are not too big. Smaller pieces will allow for more air circulation in your pie, and it will prevent the bottom of your crust from getting soggy.
Pro Tip: If you want to bake a whole pie and then slice it up after it cools down, then you can do that too. Make sure that the pie is completely cool before attempting to cut into it; if you decide to cut into the pie while it is still hot, then I suggest using something sharp like a serrated knife or even an electric knife (this is only if you have one).
How Do I Make My Bottom Pie Crust Crispy?
The secret to making your bottom pie crust crispy is by cutting slits or holes in it. It is also a good idea to place a piece of foil directly onto the surface of the filling, just in case you end up with some overflow.
This will allow air to circulate all around your pie crust, and it will prevent moisture from being able to make it into your bottom crust.
How Do You Keep Pie Crust From Cracking?
Pie crust can usually be kept from cracking by following a few simple steps:
- Use only the amount of water that is necessary for the pie crust recipe. Overly wet recipes will lead to sogginess and overflow in your crust. If you want to make a pie with a really heavy filling, then you’ll just have to use more butter and flour when forming the dough. This might increase the amount of work, but it will definitely reduce the chances of a soggy bottom.
- Don’t overwork your dough or knead it by rolling it out too much or making too many cuts into it.
- After pressing the pie crust into the pan, gently and quickly push down any air bubbles.
- Use a little dab of butter to coat the bottom edge of your pie crust, which will help to seal it from getting any sogginess.
There you have it, folks—your guide to picking the right flour and baking the perfect pie crust. I hope you found this article useful!
Now just take it from here, and bake a pie for your family tonight!
For more, don’t miss Does Pie Need to Be Refrigerated? | Ingredients Matter.
Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
She has a professional canning business and has been featured in the local newspaper, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is.
With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
Lovingly known as “Jelly Grandma” by her grandkids, Anne hopes your visit here has been a sweet one.