Why You Should Use Your Potato Masher To Blend Pastry Dough

In order for your pastries to bake up extra flaky, it's important to incorporate the butter (or whichever fat you're using) evenly throughout your dough (via The Spruce Eats). Often, a pastry cutter is used to achieve those ideal butter disbursements that result in perfectly palatable pie crusts. But does using a pastry cutter make all the difference?

According to Cook's Info, pastry cutters work by slicing fat (usually cold butter) into small pieces and evenly blending those pieces into the flour-based pastry dough. Additionally, Cook's Info says the reason you want small bits of cold butter in your dough is that when the butter melts in the oven and steam rises, it creates the flaky air pockets that we all love to crunch into. This process can't happen if the fat is already melted, so it's important to use cold butter in recipes like pies, scones, and biscuits (via Chicago Tribune).

It's clear that a pastry cutter is an important part of your baking success, but if you don't have one handy, a potato masher might be your best bet.

Do the mash

No, it's not time for mashed potatoes, but your desserts can definitely use the help of your potato masher! According to Allrecipes, this handheld tool works cold butter into your dough in a similar way that a real pastry cutter does, making it a suitable stand-in.

At the core of their purposes, a pastry cutter and potato masher are both designed to smash ingredients and mix them together. According to Food52, they're also interchangeable to the extent that you can use a traditional pastry cutter to mash potatoes. You might even find a potato masher to be slightly easier on your cold dough because its long handle keeps your hands further away from it. Hands that are too warm can make it difficult to keep your dough as cold as it needs to be for the best results (via Chicago Tribune).

So if you don't have a pastry cutter, but still want to pull off a perfect apple crisp, reach for the potato masher and get ready to experience delicious crumbly bliss.