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Baking as Therapy

Anyone who has worked with dough, successfully or not, knows a little of what I want to talk about today. For me, dough is a therapy. It's something that once I get my pastry mat and rolling pin set out on counter makes me almost immediately calm and peaceful. Even on those days when I know that I have a 8 or 9 hour day ahead of making pies the world around me seems a little better, a little calmer and of course...a little sweeter. Rolling the mat out, dusting it with the first round of flour and placing the rolling pin at the corner. Such a basic thing, something that people have been doing for decade upon decade. Pulling that chilled disc out of the fridge and getting that first turn at rolling it out. Might have to hit it a few times with the pin or your hand to soften it up. The fridge has done its job well, especially if you chilled it overnight. Little baking therapy session begins right about now. Heart picking up it's pace a bit yet? Mine is. I know that as I write this the next part of my morning will be with dough. This thought used to make me nervous and sometimes truthfully when I start rolling that disc into a round circle I still get nervous. Will it roll properly? Will it be too thin? Will the edges be too jagged? Don't sweat it! It's taken me a while but I have learned and become ok with dough not being perfect. Each disc has a mind of it's own. It's ok. Use some flour, turn the sheet over, dust the underside with flour, dust the top with flour, coat your pin with flour and your hands too if needed. Step away if you have to. Glare at it a little squinty eyed and all. Stick your tongue out - swear at it if needed. Unlike so many other areas of our lives currently this should be enjoyable. Take out a little aggression on the dough as rolling, it's forgiving. If all else fails and it's just not working out - roll it up and put it back in the fridge for a bit to get your thoughts straight - kind of like a dough time out. Pull it back out and do it all again. Don't be so hard on yourself for crying out loud. You're making something that 100's or 1000's of people struggle with. Don't let the dough get ya down! Roll it out and put it in your favorite pie tin. Crimp the edges or leave them hanging for a top crust. When crimping I flour my fingertips so that it not only sets a bit better but if your dough is a little moist it helps with the structure. I always freeze the formed crust (especially after crimping). I tend to freeze a crimped crust for at least a few hours so that it better maintains it's shape while baking.


There are so many recipes out there for pie dough. I prefer an all butter crust. I use 363 grams of King Arthur's All Purpose flour (AP Flour), 14 TBSP cold, cubed unsalted butter, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 cup of ice water, a pinch of sugar sometimes. Sometimes a little vodka...in the dough or in your stomach (up to you). As one of my mentors always says...keep everything chilled - even yourself! Keep your mixing bowl in the freezer, keep your flour in the freezer, you can keep butter in the freezer and grate it into your mixture, use your fingers to mix or use a fork or a pastry cutter. You can keep water cold by adding ice and straining the ice out as you slowly add it to your dough mixture. This should be the size of small pebbles when you're done mixing. I use a food processor when it's a big pie dough day otherwise there would be a lot of wine involved (both the alcohol kind and the other kind).


Keep in mind if you are a novice or a pro - pie is humble and kind. It's for sharing or eating all on your own.


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