Extra Helpings: Pie-Eyed


I have been trying to make a lot of baked goods with whole wheat flour and the balance and tenderness is off. Have you ever used just whole wheat flour in pie dough?

Hooray for you for making homemade baked goods and for trying to get more fiber into your diet. Double hooray that you want to carry this even further into your desserts. I wish I was that disciplined.

Because Mama always gives you too much information, let me tell you what’s been going on with your whole wheat crusts. You obviously know by now that whole wheat flour doesn’t always play well with others. Let me tell you why.

Whole wheat flour has been milled with some, or all, of the wheat bran and germ which really ups the protein content. This makes the flour heavy and dense so your pie ends up tasting like cardboard, despite your delicious filling.

Many recipes tell you to supplement the whole wheat flour with all-purpose flour… but that kinda defeats the purpose of making a whole wheat pie crust, doesn’t it? The answer: whole wheat pastry flour.

Whole wheat pastry flour is more finely ground, and has less protein and gluten than regular whole wheat flour—so you’ll get a lighter, tenderer crust.

The other key to a flaky whole wheat crust is the fat content. Whether you use butter, vegetable shortening or lard (mmm…. animal fat), you need to increase the fat (and keep it cold while preparing the crust) in order to ensure a whisper-light crust.

Finally, don’t overwork the dough. In culinary school, my pastry chef instructor urged us to “make love to the dough, don’t be rough.” I’m sure you understand what he was talking about…  especially when dealing with a tough character like whole wheat dough!

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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: mamashighstrung@gmail.com