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Cutting Butter/fat into flour?

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

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  1. 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

      hmmm... grating?

      that sounds interesting

      1. re: achilles007

        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

          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

            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.

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

          1 Reply
          1. re: Uncle Bob

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

          2. 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

              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

                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

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

              3. 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.