How to Consistently Make a Flaky All-butter Pie or Galette Crust

Last year, I set out on a quest to make consistently excellent pie and galette crust. It had to be flaky and fork-tender while also having enough structure for roasted butternut squash "pumpkin" pie and the juice explosion that is peach season. In terms of process, I wanted to skip any equipment and keep it simple with just a rolling pin, pastry scraper, and my counter. I also wanted to get away from the "add water until it comes together" instructions. Meticulously measuring grams of flour only to add an indeterminate amount of water doesn't work well for me nor does it make sense. Pastry is the scientific interplay of fat, gluten, and moisture so my technique needed to reflect that. 

I was on a roll during the holidays and thought my successful Thanksgiving pie meant I had nailed the process. Visions of happy emojis danced in my head as I started to write this post. Then, my dough went off the rails. The subsequent galettes appeared golden and flaky but the texture was a little tough. At the time, I was still using the now abandoned vodka trick - explained further down in the post. After reading several comment threads on the Interwebs, it was clear that "all looks and no substance" was a common issue. I did a little more reading and watched some video tutorials to better understand the science behind my failed pie crust. After several experiments, things finally came together and I was able to create a reliable technique.

I'm going to walk through much of what I learned and how I applied it to my galette and pie dough recipe. The instructions are quite specific since I was hoping to create a repeatable process for an amateur baker like myself. If you have an alternative idea or general feedback I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

As it turns out, Erik B. and Rakim were wrong. You should definitely sweat the technique.

Tartine Bakery's Morning Buns

I put together a Cooking Wishlist a few months ago that included Tartine's legendary morning buns. There happened to be some croissant dough in my freezer last weekend so I decided to give the recipe a try. The morning buns were a success, but dang, I forgot how dangerously delicious they are. And by dangerous, I'm referring to the flaky bits that launch in all directions with each and every buttery bite. You've been warned.

Bread Class: Thoughts and Notes

I will happily get lost for hours in all things related to technology and cooking. As I sat in a recent bread class, it occurred to me how similar the two fields are. Am I going to code my way to a better sourdough loaf? Not really, no. But once you understand the fundamentals of baking and technology - the basic building blocks and rules - you can create anything. It's incredibly empowering and rewarding.

The bread class I attended was at Grist and Toll, an urban flour mill in Pasadena, and this post is basically a brain dump of thoughts and notes from that session. Graison Gill led the group and did a fantastic job of sharing his passion for the process. After the class, I approached loaves 51 and 52 with a deeper understanding of how to connect with my dough and bring out the best in it. Yes, I'm in a loving and committed relationship with Moomin the Starter. We're quite happy together.