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Pie Crust...Do You Add Lemon Juice or Cider Vinegar?

Funwithfood Sep 18, 2010 12:38 PM

I tried to conquer pie crust this summer.

The crust had an off taste because I indadvertantly purchased whole wheat pastry flour.

But, I also thought the flavor of cider vinegar tasted odd: For those who have tried both lemon juice and cider vinegar, which do you prefer and why?

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  1. q
    qianning RE: Funwithfood Sep 18, 2010 12:58 PM

    fwiw, i use white vinegar.

    1 Reply
    1. re: qianning
      MsMaryMc RE: qianning Sep 21, 2010 12:03 AM

      Me, too. I got it from my mom. Her pie crusts were exquisite--can't argue with that.

    2. roxlet RE: Funwithfood Sep 18, 2010 01:41 PM

      I'm not sure why you would use either and IMO, either can give a weird taste. Flour, butter/crisco, salt and sugar plus ice water. That's it!

      2 Replies
      1. re: roxlet
        Janet RE: roxlet Sep 18, 2010 11:36 PM

        That is the correct way to make pie crust. Why put acid in it?

        1. re: Janet
          Kelli2006 RE: Janet Sep 20, 2010 11:52 PM

          The addition of the acid in white vinegar cuts the gluten strands in the pie dough making for a more tender product.

          Making it with an alcohol that prohibits the formation will achieve the same end.

      2. j
        jindomommy RE: Funwithfood Sep 18, 2010 01:49 PM

        How much vinegar did you put in? I only add 1 t for a double pie crust. I can't taste the vinegar. I've used apple, red wine, and white. I think red wine is the best.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jindomommy
          momskitchen RE: jindomommy Sep 18, 2010 02:00 PM

          Nope, never use vinegar or lemon juice, nor can I see why you would.

        2. Breadcrumbs RE: Funwithfood Sep 18, 2010 02:17 PM

          I have always added white vinegar to my ice water before adding the water to the dough. This is what my mother did and, her mother. I've taken two hands-on pie making classes, one was on crusts only, the other on pies. The crust class instructor was a well-known pastry chef and she added white vinegar to her standard "no-fail" recipe. The other instructor did not use any acid, just water.

          I found the following resource on-line that speaks to "Why add vinegar" if its of any interest:


          1. w
            weem RE: Funwithfood Sep 18, 2010 03:57 PM

            I haven't tried either, though I am still experimenting with different crust recipes. I just got my mom's "no-fail" crust recipe, which I'm looking forward to trying. It includes vinegar.

            I gather vinegar or lemon juice would be added for their chemical properties, and that the right amounts wouldn't affect the taste. But it's not inconceivable to want to affect the taste. I once tried a pie crust recipe that had lemon zest in it, which added a nice brightness to the overall flavor.

            1. s
              shadowbaker RE: Funwithfood Sep 18, 2010 04:00 PM

              Try the basic pie crust recipe in the Pie and Pastry Bible. No fail... uses cider vinegar and cream cheese.

              1 Reply
              1. re: shadowbaker
                lightning81 RE: shadowbaker Sep 18, 2010 08:22 PM

                I use the same recipe and its always turned out perfect. In other recipes, I've used an egg yolk, cider vinegar, lemon juice and a little ice water all blended together. This also yielded a tender crust I used for many different things.

              2. h
                HillJ RE: Funwithfood Sep 18, 2010 04:11 PM

                Neither lemon juice or cider vinegar but I have used seltzer water for a flaky result.

                1. f
                  foodie06 RE: Funwithfood Sep 18, 2010 04:53 PM

                  I use the Cooks Illustrated recipe that calls for vodka. It is perfectly flaky and delicious.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: foodie06
                    biondanonima RE: foodie06 Sep 21, 2010 12:40 PM

                    I used to use lemon juice because that's how my mom did it but now that I've found the CI vodka recipe I will never, ever use another pie crust recipe. It's totally delicious and the easiest dough I've ever worked with.

                    1. re: biondanonima
                      Davwud RE: biondanonima Sep 24, 2010 06:09 AM

                      This is the best recipe to use especially if you're a beginner at it.


                  2. Chefalicious RE: Funwithfood Sep 18, 2010 05:29 PM

                    Vinegar person here too. I`ve just always added it to my ice water because that`s what my mom did.

                    1. h
                      happybaker RE: Funwithfood Sep 18, 2010 08:29 PM

                      My understanding is that vinegar or lemon is used to slow the formation of gluten, especially in the summer months when things get gooey faster.

                      I've used a tsp of white vinegar and could not tell the diff, flavorwise. But I also have been known to leave my crust in the fridge for an hour to relax. When I have the time to do that, I do not use the vinegar and all is well.

                      I think apple cider vinegar could have too strong of a flavor...

                      1. Funwithfood RE: Funwithfood Sep 20, 2010 07:42 PM

                        The double crust pie from Pie & Pastry Bible adds 1 Tbsp cider vinegar.

                        I'm wondering if Vodka will also reduce "over-browning", in addition to tenderizing.

                        (Either 1 Tbsp is too much, or lemon juice would be less noticable...)

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Funwithfood
                          qianning RE: Funwithfood Sep 21, 2010 05:07 AM

                          1 Tbsp does sound like a lot, and white vinegar or vodka are less likely to "flavor" the crust than lemon juice or cider vinegar.

                          1. re: qianning
                            Funwithfood RE: qianning Sep 21, 2010 12:19 PM

                            Adding less (maybe 1 1/2 tsp.) might also help with the "crust droop" I experienced...maybe it was just too tender?

                            (I like the idea of vodka, and I always have that on hand!)

                            1. re: Funwithfood
                              qianning RE: Funwithfood Sep 24, 2010 05:25 AM

                              i use about a teaspoon of white vingar (added to the ice water) per crust. i've never used vodka, but understand it works well, and would guess the proportions are about the same.

                          2. re: Funwithfood
                            roxlet RE: Funwithfood Sep 24, 2010 07:40 AM

                            Yes, I just looked at that book this week, and I stand corrected. But I didn't use it, nor did I use RLB's recipe this time either...

                          3. m
                            mrsgreer RE: Funwithfood Sep 21, 2010 12:21 PM

                            never heard of it. my crusts come great. 2.5 c flour, 1.5 stick butter, 4 tbsp shortening, 4 tbsp ice water, 1/2 tsp salt.

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