Bakeology: On Pie Crusts and Gluten Formation

Pie Crusts and Gluten Formation

Welcome to the first post in the Bakeology series!

Since pie season is upon us, and the holidays are right around the corner, I figured my first Bakeology post, very fittingly, would focus on the star of my holiday meals:  Pie!  More specifically, pie crust.  And gluten.  And what is all that about?  I just recently tried a pie crust recipe with vodka in it, and had great success.  The crust was buttery, flakey, and delicious.  But why?  What does the vodka do that makes this recipe better than one with 100% water?  Let’s explore…

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First, what is gluten? 

Gluten is a strong, sticky, stretchy protein found in foods made from wheat and similar grains that helps give dough its elasticity.  When you add water to flour, the two wheat proteins, glutenin and gliadin, combine and form gluten.

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Pesto Swirl Bread Rolls

Pesto Swirl Bread Roll

This past weekend, I decided to go with a savory baking adventure instead of the usual something sweet.  I was inspired after devotedly watching Bread Week on “The American Baking Competition“.  I told you all I was going to make my first attempt at free-form bread this weekend, and I wasn’t about to let you down.  (I’m only three posts in, after all – a little early to be making false promises, don’t ya think?)  Pesto Swirl Bread Rolls were the challenge, and I brought my A-game to the kitchen to tackle it.

Read more sweetness…