The Trick To Rolling Out Pie Dough Evenly

Pie dough is a sticky subject — and not just because it has a tendency to actually stick to your countertops when you're rolling it out. No, it is because, as is the case with most pastries, pie dough is temperamental. Even though it is often made with just flour, butter, a touch of ice-cold water, and a few pinches of salt and sugar to taste, pie dough is complicated because it relies on keeping your butter chilled, not overworking your dough into a cardboard-like consistency, and rolling it out enough to use — but not so much that it rips (via Reader's Digest).

There are always things that could go wrong and a lot of different baking hacks to help prevent your pie crust from becoming stodgy. Some recipes call for adding vodka to create an extra flaky crust and others recommend grating a frozen block of butter into the dough to better incorporate it. But most recipes won't tell you how that last step — rolling out your pie crust — can make or break your bake.

Be gentle when welding your rolling pin

There are quite a few things that can go wrong when rolling out your pie dough, starting with the fact that it can stick to your counter. Luckily you can fix that by simply flouring a piece of parchment paper. The next is warming up your pastry: It is important to keep your pastry as cool as possible before baking so you must double chill your pie crust to make sure your butter doesn't bleed into your flour. The final and possibly the worst thing that can happen while rolling out your crust is that you overwork it and ruin the desired flaky texture.

To avoid this, Cook's Illustrated advises against rolling back and forth over the same section of dough repetitively as this will activate the gluten in the four and create more of a tough "bready" texture instead of a crisp one. So instead of wielding your rolling pin like an overzealous baker in a cartoon, be gentle.

Southern Living suggests placing your rolling pin in the center of your dough, rolling it away from your body, and then turning the dough so that you are rolling out a new piece. Repeat until the dough is flat and be sure to never roll back over the same part of the pie toward yourself. Also remember to use even pressure while rolling out your crust so that it will bake evenly and to always work with chilled dough and flour underneath to keep it from sticking. 

Taking these precautions should help you achieve the ultimate pie pastry!