Don’t touch my pie! A chat about fats

When asked how to make a perfect pie, be it sweet or savory, I always answer that the secret is in a well-made pastry. Crunchy, in the right thickness – neither thin nor thick, without being excessively greasy and which melts in the mouth.
And that, my friends, is not easy! A perfect recipe is not enough if the handling is not right, if the temperature control, beat, baking and so many mentos are not minimally controlled.
There are countless masses, of complicated French names[theso-called[asdenominadaspâtes d’office]that many people twist their pout to talk, to those that only our grandmother knows how to make: a handful of flour, a little finger of water and that margarine tablet for cooking.
A sweet pastry confectionery basically contains 4 ingredients: sugar, fat, eggs and flour. The variations go according to the percentages of each one. Now a little more sugar for the dough that is going to receive a more acid filling, like the pâte sucrée, now absence, such as the pâte brisée.
Therefore, understanding the function of each ingredient in the dough is important so that you can decide which is the best option for your pie and also how to handle these ingredients in the right way.
For example: success in producing a dough will depend on how the flour and fat are combined. When beaten in excess, the flour develops gluten, which despite being the great love of bakers, for us confectioners, we would often prefer it to be extinguished from the world of cooking! This is because it produces a network that provides elasticity [super necessária nos pães! Imagine a força que essa rede não tem para segurar o monte de gás dentro do pão, que parece querer explodir!] which will cause the dough to retract when baked.
Your dough retracts and you never understand why you always did it right? Well, beat your dough less, so that the gluten does not develop, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes under refrigeration so that, if the gluten has been developed, it relaxes thereby losing elasticity and preventing retraction . With that, half of your problems will be solved.
Another important item is the type of fat to be used – that’s where I wanted to go for this post! In some remote past the pies, the most delicious and that melted in the mouth, were made with animal fat [banha, gordura de pato, etc] and they were stupidly light, they barely touched their mouths and puuuuu, they already fell apart! We then went to butter, which is also a fat of animal origin… With some theories on health, our butter lost a little space and one day the margarines appeared, which took over our table, our fridge and all the pleasure gastronomy of our love handles.
Professionally there are N types of fats, one specific for each type of production: specific for croissants, specific for puff pastry, for cake … these are fats that have a higher melting point, which will result in easier handling during the preparation of a dough puff for example!
These margarines, for professional use or not, are produced through a chemical process called hydrogenation – or chemical hydrogenation. To put it simply, it is nothing more than the addition of hydrogen to vegetable oil, which then becomes fat, pasty … Such as hydrogenated fat! The melting point increases, as does the stability in the oxidation process, which in butter is unstable.
In our body, butter, fat of animal origin, is absorbed as something natural and therefore is easily metabolized, which is not the case with margarine, which is foreign to our system, because it is produced artificially. In addition, after the chemical process, bleaches need to be added to remove the unpleasant odor that remains in the fat and also remove the gray tone that they have. Some synthetic chemical additives including dyes, flavors, thickeners and synthetic vitamins are also added to make the product attractive. But this is not a text against margarine, so I stop here!
So, would you agree with me if I said that for a pie dough that doesn’t spend more than 15 minutes in the oven, the margarine [não a linha professional] it cannot be a good start for a dough that crumbles in your mouth. Right?
At this point you must be asking yourself: So Joyce, what fat should I use? It depends! [eu odiava quando meus professores me davam essa resposta!] But seriously … it depends on many factors! Everything will depend on the purpose of your pie and the result you need to achieve. If you still have doubts, follow a rule: do not put anything you would not eat in your products.
My grandmother used to make a delicious patty with lard and devoured everything with me. In addition, I smeared bread and butter every morning with a warm drizzle. He lived to be 92 years old. If health is your problem, make your choice, aware that not everything that marketing promotes is real. Watch out for margarines. My choice is butter, and it always will be!
In the next post we’ll talk a little bit about the types of pasta and the variations of the 4 basic ingredients, and understand a little bit why so much different pasta.
Up until!

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