Pies are such adaptable creations. They may be either sweet or savory and are both fantastic! My very favorite element of any pie is the pie crust, which lends a flaky buttery texture and taste to every mouthful! Yet, preparing pie crust is a challenging process with several issues, such as the dough shrinking.
In general, a pie crust shrinks when the dough is not rested enough or is left out at room temperature for an extended period of time. While dealing with pie crust, it must be kept cool until it is placed in the oven. The pie crust will shrink if the oven is not adequately warmed.
There are several reasons why pie crust shrinks and how to avoid it. Understanding why your pie crusts shrink may help you prevent having a tiny, cracked pie. Continue reading to learn the 8 greatest techniques to prevent your pie crust from shrinking.
- 1 Why is the crust of my pie shrinking?
- 2 1. Let enough time for your dough to rest.
- 3 2. Keep the dough cool.
- 4 3. Avoid overworking your dough.
- 5 4. Carefully lay the dough in its pan.
- 6 5. Preheat the oven.
- 7 6. Avoid using too much water.
- 8 7. Prepare your pie dough in two pans.
- 9 8. Avoid using a glass baking dish.
- 10 What exactly is blind baking?
Why is the crust of my pie shrinking?
In general, a pie crust may shrink if you don’t give your dough enough time to rest or if you don’t keep it cold enough. Some reasons your pie crust may have shrunk include an insufficiently hot oven, using the incorrect pan to bake it in, or overworking the dough.
Making pie crusts is a frequent part of my repertory throughout the winter months, due to both the holidays and the colder weather.
Be certain that your pie crust does not separate from the pie pan!
I’ve used Ceramic Pie Weights for as long as I can remember, and they’ve rescued my pie crusts on several times. As a general guideline, for every 9-inch pie, use around 2.2 pounds of pie weights. I use these Ceramic Pie Weights, which you can get on Amazon!
When it’s cold outside, I like a nice chicken pot pie, and Thanksgiving and Christmas aren’t complete without my being saddled with making a profusion of pies and cobblers, including my renowned peach cobbler.
I’ve learnt a thing or two about producing wonderfully flaky and cooked pie crusts from scratch as a result of my time spent preparing them from scratch.
I’ve dealt with my fair share of shrinking pie crusts, and now that I’ve learned how to avoid them in the future, you can too by following along!
*Also, I just published a post titled The Greatest Pie Weight Substitutes. This post goes through all of the pie weight substitutions you could have at home right now to utilize for your pie making adventures. This article may be found here!
I usually use pie weights when pre-baking a pie crust to keep it from poofing up.
1. Let enough time for your dough to rest.
One of the most common causes for your pie crust shrinking is that you did not allow your dough to rest properly. Allowing your dough to rest allows its gluten to relax, which helps to keep your dough from shrinking when baking.
You must rest the dough for your pie crust at specific points throughout the process of preparing and shaping it.
This rest is crucial because if you don’t, you risk overworking your dough and increasing the likelihood that your pie crust may shrink.
The important times to let your dough to rest while handling it are as follows:
- During & following the mixing of your dough
- After rolling out your dough
- Once you’ve put your dough into its pan.
When mixing your dough, you may notice that it does not come together as intended. There might be many reasons for this, but one of the most common is that you worked too slowly, causing your once-cold components to warm and alter form.
Before returning to work, place it in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is cold again. This may clearly result in a less-than-ideal end for your crust, so if this happens to you, you will need to chill the dough.
By the way, I just published an article titled The Best Ways to Keep Pie Crusts from Shrinking. This article explains why your pie crusts can be shrinking and how to prevent it! This article may be found here!
Because of the high humidity-prone environment in which I reside, I find that I have to bake crusts on a frequent basis throughout the warmer months.
If your dough comes together easily, you must still rest it until it is cool after you have combined it.
This usually takes 30 minutes in the fridge and 15 minutes in the freezer.
The last critical point at which you will need to rest your dough is after you have rolled it out. Since rolling out your pie crust works the gluten in the dough, it is critical that you let it rest for at least five minutes after this step. You don’t need to relax it right now.
You just must let it alone.
The last critical point at which you must rest your dough is after it has been molded into its pan. At this point, you should certainly chill the crust, which I suggest doing by placing it in the freezer until you’re ready to bake it.
2. Keep the dough cool.
As a general rule, ice-cold components must be utilized while forming the dough for your pie crust. This implies that your butter and milk or water should be cool throughout the dough-making procedure. If you don’t do this, your pie crust will most likely shrink.
Other from letting your dough to rest, one of the most essential things you can do to keep your pie crust dough from shrinking is to make your dough using cool ingredients.
The butter should be kept in the freezer until you are ready to use it, and you should work swiftly to make your dough before it begins to warm.
If you are unable to work quickly enough to keep the butter from warming, place it and the dough you are working on in the freezer for a few minutes to cold again.
While creating your dough, your water should likewise be ice cold.
I really use ice water while creating my pie crust doughs to guarantee that my water remains cold for as long as I may need it.
If you’re using milk instead of water, it should be cold as well, but I don’t advocate adding ice in it since the ice will dilute your milk as it melts.
If your milk or water is warming up quicker than you can create your dough, I suggest putting both your liquid of choice and your dough in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to allow them to chill.
Why should your dough be cold? Because keeping your dough refrigerated makes the fat in it more firm, reducing the risk of your dough shrinking.
*By the way, I recently blogged on How To Use Pie Weights Correctly. In this post, I discuss how to properly utilize pie weights to get the right formed pie every time. This article may be found here!
3. Avoid overworking your dough.
Overworking the dough might cause the pie crust dough to shrink as a whole. This is particularly true if you use a food processor instead of your hands. Overworking the dough may make it firm and tough, increasing the likelihood of the pie crust dough shrinking.
While making cake batter, just blend the ingredients until they are barely incorporated. Pie crusts are similar in this regard.
It’s OK if there are some visible particles of solid butter or other fat in pie crusts. This is really desirable since it will melt into savory pockets of crust.
Just combine the ingredients in your pie crust dough until they come together.
*Side Note: You may also be interested in whether it is possible to bake a square pie. I just published an essay on How To Make A Square Pie, which you can read here!
The longer you knead your dough beyond that point, the more likely it will shrink while also getting harder and difficult to consume.
4. Carefully lay the dough in its pan.
In general, pie crust shrinks as a result of being forced into a pan and repeatedly reshaped. Overhandling the crust in the baking pan is the same as over-kneading your dough. Instead, carefully lay your crust onto the pan and press the dough into the shape.
The more you stretch pie crust dough, the more it stretches back, therefore if you don’t want it to shrink, avoid stretching it as much as possible while placing it in its baking pan.
To help you achieve your aim of avoiding overstretching the dough, I suggest rolling it out until it is big enough to cover the whole pan you are using.
If you have extra dough on the sides of the pan, that’s fantastic because you can simply cut it to the shape you want around the pan.
It is preferable to have too much dough surrounding your pan than not enough dough in your pan.
You can simply trim it to your chosen shape or size, but if you have to stretch a little dough out into a lot, you risk getting a badly shrunken crust out of the oven.
*Also, I just published an article on How To Make A Pie Without A Pie Pan. This article discusses all of the alternatives to a pie pan and what you should do differently with each one. This article may be found here!
5. Preheat the oven.
In general, one crucial strategy to keep your pie crust from shrinking is to make sure your oven has achieved the proper temperature and has been at that temperature for some time before inserting your pie crust. Failure to do so may result in your crust melting before baking and shrinking.
*By the way, I just published an article titled Which Oven Rack Should You Use To Make The Perfect Pie. This article explains what occurs when you bake a pie on each oven rack and why one is better than the others. This article may be found here!
One of the main reasons your pie crust continues shrinking is because the temperature in your oven is too low.
To assist avoid this, first preheat your oven and then let it at that temperature for at least 5 minutes before inserting the pie crust.
This confirms that your oven has achieved the desired temperature.
*Side Note: I just published an article on How to Repair and Avoid Cracked Pie Crusts. This article discusses how to prevent and repair pie crusts from breaking in the oven. This article may be found here!
6. Avoid using too much water.
In general, if you use too much water while creating your dough, the pie crust will shrink. Excess water will evaporate and cause your dough to shrink during baking. Follow the instructions properly and don’t add too much water while preparing your pie crust dough.
I suggest adding a teaspoon of water at a time when adding more amounts of water to your dough as you attempt to incorporate it as required.
If you use high-quality butter as your fat in the recipe, you may be able to avoid using more water than the recipe asks for.
Additionally, be certain you use ice-cold water. Using lukewarm water may cause your butter to melt, making it oily. To keep it cool, I normally prepare a dish or cup of water with a few ice cubes in it.
7. Prepare your pie dough in two pans.
In general, one strategy to keep your pie crust from shrinking is to use a pan to set the crust before baking it. You will need two pans that are the same shape and size as you will be placing one on top of the other to set your crust that will be in between the two pans.
I do this every time I create a pie crust since it has never failed me in the years since I discovered it.
I do that by coating the bottom of the pan that will be on top with nonstick spray. Next I transfer it to a pie crust that I’ve previously prepared in another pan.
Following that, I softly push down on the top and throw my crust in the freezer for approximately 30 minutes to firm.
I remove the top pan before baking or filling my crust and continue as normal. When I placed it in my preheated oven, it maintained its form.
*Side Note: You may also be interested in learning How To Make Several Pies In The Oven At Simultaneously. I just posted an article on The Correct Way To Bake Several Pies Evenly At Once!
8. Avoid using a glass baking dish.
Overall, baking your pie dough in a glass dish is a simple and easy cure for shrinking pie crust. You can avoid shrinking pie crust by baking it in a ceramic or metal pan instead. Since glass does not carry heat well, the dough loses heat rather than retaining it.
While preparing pies, I always seek for Ceramic Pie Pans. I just discovered a Set of Two Ceramic Pie Pans for Baking that work great for making pies in the oven. On Amazon, you can get this Set of Ceramic Pie Pans!
Since glass is a very slick surface with little grip, baking your pie crust in a glass baking dish may cause your pie crust to slide down and shrink. You may prevent this by switching the pan in which you bake your crust.
Moreover, since glass is not a strong conductor of heat, heat will exit the dough during the baking process rather than being retained. As a consequence, the dough may contract.
What exactly is blind baking?
Blind baking is the process of baking your crust completely or partly before filling it. This prevents overbaking of certain pie toppings that need shorter bake time than the crust itself. Pre-baking also keeps the pie crust from becoming mushy when baking with wetter ingredients.
I do this with the vast majority of the crusts I make since I’ve discovered that blind baking has a lot of fantastic advantages regardless of whether I’m making a savory or sweet dish.
These advantages include a decreased danger of soggy crusts when preparing items with wetter fillings, a smaller risk of overbaking what I’m attempting to create when it contains a filling that doesn’t need to bake as long as the crust, and a lower risk of the crust not being properly cooked.
Also, when cooking no-bake delicacies with a crust, such as one of my personal favorites, no-bake lemon icebox pie, blind baking is occasionally required.