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Cutting Butter/fat into flour?

a
achilles007 Apr 15, 2010 01:15 PM

Hi-- I know there is a such thing as a pastry cutter-- but wanted to know if there way a more efficient and effective of way of cutting butter/fat/lard into flour.

Is there some type of device out there that could give me an even more tender flaky pie crust or biscuit?

I swear I've seen some of the more sophisticated machines in commercial shops that the owners swear by.

thanks

  1. w
    will47 Apr 17, 2010 10:36 AM

    I use a flat (roux) whisk. Don't remember when I thought of this idea, but I wish I had thought of it sooner.

    I never realized until *after* I started doing that that a pastry blender wasn't some sort of electric gizmo...

    1. s
      smartie Apr 17, 2010 06:09 AM

      I cut my butter into small cubes then continue in the flour with two knives and eventually a fork then my hands. Will also try grated cold butter next time. If I remember to take rubber gloves from work I use those but otherwise hands in a large ziplock back work for me cos I have long nails and hate trying to get my nails clean afterwards.

      1. Cherylptw Apr 15, 2010 11:06 PM

        I use a fork for small amounts but have a pastry cutter which I sometimes use. If I'm making more than one crust, I'll use the food processor. For biscuits, I use my fingers.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Cherylptw
          bushwickgirl Apr 15, 2010 11:27 PM

          So does my friend, the fork user; gets her hands right into the biscuit dough, must be the best way, I think, as her bisquits are grrrreat.

          1. re: bushwickgirl
            Michelly Apr 16, 2010 08:18 PM

            This is how I do it, too. There's something about getting your hands into a bunch of dough that's very satisfying (and I'm getting better at remembering to take off my wedding ring first).
            But I like the frozen butter/grater idea. I think I saw that method on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Will try it next time....oh, yeah, I forgot ...we're on a diet. No baking.
            Oh, well, pass the salad.

        2. bushwickgirl Apr 15, 2010 11:00 PM

          Pastry blender or grater, either way, best results. The food processor method can be problematic for some. I have a friend who uses a regular dinner fork, time consuming.

          1. boyzoma Apr 15, 2010 02:43 PM

            I use the good old curved hand pastry cutter. I don't have a stand mixer or a food processor. I also use the pastry cutter when browning hamburger for tacos, casseroles, etc. Sure helps break up that ground beef well into very manageable uniform pieces.

            3 Replies
            1. re: boyzoma
              Phurstluv Apr 15, 2010 03:26 PM

              What a good idea! I always end up using a potato masher when I get tired of trying to break them up with the wooden spoon! Now I have a new use for my pastry cutter, thanks!

              1. re: Phurstluv
                Sooeygun Apr 16, 2010 07:07 AM

                My mom makes the best pastry dough that I know and she uses a pastry cutter. I've tried other methods (at cooking school, such 'housewife' tools are sneered at), but prefer the pastry cutter too.

                And it works well for making egg salad.

              2. re: boyzoma
                PamelaD Apr 17, 2010 04:50 AM

                Another thing I use my pastry cutter for is mashing up bananas for banana bread.

              3. Uncle Bob Apr 15, 2010 01:51 PM

                We use the very common pastry blender...they're everywhere.....Sometimes a fork.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Uncle Bob
                  Phurstluv Apr 15, 2010 03:25 PM

                  Same here, that's the way Nana always did it, and she had the best pie crust around.

                2. ttoommyy Apr 15, 2010 01:41 PM

                  I always use my food processor. I love to bake, and do a lot of things by hand, but for me the food processor is THE only tool for cutting butter into flour.

                  1. visciole Apr 15, 2010 01:21 PM

                    I'm old-fashioned and use 2 knives, but many people swear by freezing the butter and then grating it into the flour, and, since this method does not require any tools I don't already have, I may give it a try.

                    Others use their food processors.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: visciole
                      a
                      achilles007 Apr 15, 2010 02:10 PM

                      hmmm... grating?

                      that sounds interesting

                      1. re: achilles007
                        greygarious Apr 15, 2010 02:18 PM

                        Freeze the stick of butter, then use the large holes of a box grater. In warm weather, freeze the grater first. It goes fast, so the stick won't melt if you hold it using the peeled-back wrapper. Then just toss into the flour with a fork. This is especially good for pie dough, since you get those thin sheets of butter that make for optimum flakiness, even if you don't use the fraisage technique. The result is superior to crust made in the food processor.

                        1. re: greygarious
                          a
                          achilles007 Apr 15, 2010 02:30 PM

                          hmmm.. great reply!

                          I'm thinking maybe it would be good also-- after the grating period is done, to throw the cheese shavings into the freezer again, and when colder again. take'em out and use a pastry blender to mix well.

                          1. re: greygarious
                            lulubelle Apr 16, 2010 01:26 AM

                            This is how I do it. After I finish grating the butter into the flour I toss the whole bowl back into the freezer for 15 minutes or so, just to make sure everything is really cold, then proceed. It is so much easier than the two knife or pastry blender method.

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