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Nov 14, 2012 12:54 PM

All butter pie dough held in substandard refrigeration for 24-36 hours - use?

I've been working on a massive bake sale order for our school of chicken pot pie that sell for upwards of $45 each.

Rich stock done. Chicken breast roasted and shredded. All butter pie dough done. Next day is assembly day and my fridge has failed. ARGH. The stock and the chicken are being thrown out. The pie dough was held for about 24, maybe 36 hours at 60 degrees. It was fairly pliable when I transferred it all to our working freezer.

Safe to use? It seems like it should be. I hate to lose it too. It includes more than five pounds of organic butter.

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  1. It would be safe to use but the quality is the issue. At that temperature for so long, I wonder if the flour absorbed the butter which would make a dense crust. Fairly pliable isn't a good sign if it's been that way for a long time.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chowser

      First of all, I would test some of it to see.
      Second might be able to use one of those techniques from the innovative vodka pie crust method to save it - processing the existing dough with some additional flour.You would have to fiddle with the water quantity a bit though.

      good luck!

    2. Your pastry crust is very likely OK.I wouldn't think twice about the quality or using it.Over working at any temperature is where real degradation and toughness happens,and yours wasn't.

      7 Replies
      1. re: lcool

        Warm butter is a problem w/ flaky pie crusts. It's why you need to keep the dough as cold as possible. It's the butter that melts and makes a flaky crust. If it's melted/absorbed into the flour, it won't be flaky.

        1. re: chowser

          You maybe correct,only maybe.People were making and holding pastry crust under more adverse conditions with inferior flour for decades.Flaky crust and how to achieve it predate the refrigeration that most take for granted.A time or two I have left a "well made" disc in a cupboard,60*f-65*f overnight,made with lard or butter or a combo,re chilled,rolled and used.
          Never lost a flake or a bit of tenderness to the mishap.Not once in more than 50 years of pastry making.

          1. re: lcool

            Why do recipes call for ice cold water and cold butter, in your opinion? I've always been taught/read that the cold butter is what makes the flaky crust. Warm makes a more tender crust, but I prefer a flaky crust. Both are good, though. I just love pie.


            "if you want a flaky crust, the fat should be cold.


            "Tender is one characteristic and flaky is another characteristic,” she said. For a flaky crust, “you need big slabs of cold fat.” The fat acts as a spacer in the dough; when it melts, it releases steam that puffs the dough apart. For tender crusts, you want to grease the flour with fat so that it can’t soak up water to form tough gluten. "

            1. re: chowser

              my mom made and still at 90 makes exceptional pie with pretty much perfect crust - normally with crisco not butter - that is both tender and flaky. she gave the vodka crust variation with water one try lastyear and commented that it was tender but not flaky. I dont remember a huge focus on chilling to the nth degree during my growing up days, however nor on large flakes of fat, not did shealways chill the dough before rolling out - yet the pies were always perfect (state fair blue ribbon perfect). What I do remember is that she has the proverbial light touch and cool touch and rolls out her pastry very easily and quickly. There is really no substitute for working on a skill and repeating it over and over. My twice a year pie baking does not compare.

              1. re: jen kalb

                Lard and crisco are far less sensitive to heat than butter. Crisco even less than lard.

                1. re: JudiAU

                  its also softer and thus, I think contributes to the easier to roll characteristic.

              2. re: chowser

                chowser,keeping in mind JudiAU didn't make the crust with WARM BUTTER.She was finished and chilled BEFORE the frig got unfriendly.Even then,at 60*f good butter does not sweat,nor is it a sit around in a tee shirt temperature.

                I don't have an argument with your references AT ALL.But I do take exception with the implication that people weren't making excellent,light,flaky pie crust in the summer without the advent of refrigeration and AC as we know BEFORE the 1960's and later.
                Just bunk...Yes it's easier,maybe with the modern frig,AC and machine etc but I am old enough to know lack of isn't a deal breaker.

        2. These pie crusts were made by hand and still have very large globs of visible butter in them. I have a lot of experience with pie dough and they were in beautiful condition, not overworked. The The pastry was more of a greyish color though which in the past I've noticed if I've refrigerated for a few days rather than frozen. I've always assumed that it was the water going throughout the dough. I don't recall it make a difference though.

          Good call to test. I have a potluck tomorrow and although the pie would be blind-baked shell for pumpking, probably could give me a reasonable idea if they are just horrid in terms of texture.

          2 Replies
          1. re: JudiAU

            Sprinkle a small piece w/ cinnamon sugar and bake. That would be a good/delicious way to test. I wouldn't throw it out, either way. There are many ways to use the dough, even if it's not the quality you want.

            1. re: JudiAU

              Water does often turn flour greyish under refrgeration,bakes to a fine colour.