There's no denying the allure of a perfectly flaky pie crust, tenderly enveloping a luscious filling. While the art of pie-making may seem simple, achieving that dreamy, flaky texture can be a bit elusive. However, the secret to mastering this culinary marvel lies in an unexpected hero: cultured butter. Using cultured butter can elevate your pie crust to new heights rather than regular butter thanks to the fat content is contains.
To understand the magic of cultured butter, we first need to unravel the distinction between it and regular butter. While both are derived from cream, cultured butter undergoes an additional fermentation process. This process introduces live bacterial cultures into the cream, which transform its flavor, aroma, and texture. The result is a butter that carries a slightly tangy and complex profile, distinguishing it from the milder taste of regular butter — but this isn't the only element that sets it apart. Cultured butter also tends to have a higher percentage of butterfat than regular butter.
Fat is the unsung hero of pie crusts. It creates layers and pockets within the dough that, when exposed to heat, melt and evaporate, leaving behind those coveted flaky pockets. The fat's physical presence also acts as a barrier, inhibiting the formation of gluten, which can make pastry tough rather than tender.
Why More Butterfat Yields A Flakier Pie Crust
When it comes to pie crust, the higher the fat content in the butter, the flakier the result. This is where cultured butter shines. Cultured butter typically has a higher fat content than regular butter, usually around 82-85%, whereas regular butter hovers around 80-82%. This extra fat content equates to a higher ratio of fat to flour in your pie crust, contributing to those delectable layers that shatter with each forkful.
The flakiness achieved with cultured butter can be attributed to its rich fat profile. As the pie bakes, the water content in the butter evaporates, creating steam that puffs up the layers. Combined with the high butterfat content that keeps the pie dough tender, this dynamic duo results in a tender, flaky crust that crumbles with every bite. So the next time you embark on a pie-making adventure, let cultured butter be your secret ingredient, and watch as your pies become flaky, golden works of art that leave everyone craving more.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.