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

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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. fwiw, i use white vinegar.

    1 Reply
    1. re: qianning

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

    2. 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

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

        1. re: Janet

          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. 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

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

        2. 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:

          http://www.ochef.com/1214.htm

          1. 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. 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

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

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

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: foodie06

                    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

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

                      DT

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

                    1. 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. 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

                          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

                            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

                              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

                            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. 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.