This Sourdough Pie Crust is buttery, flaky, tender and impossible to mess up! Butter and sourdough discard impart a rich flavor, and is the perfect base for savory or sweet fillings.
A good pie crust is crispy, flaky and tender yet sturdy enough to stand up to juicy fruit or rich custard fillings without becoming chewy or soggy. Learning how to make it opens a world of possibilities: galettes, mini galettes, sweet and savory pies, empanadas, tarts and so much more! Pie crust can be difficult to get right. I’ve had my share of tough, dry, leathery pie crust with the dreaded soggy bottom. However difficult to achieve, it’s not impossible.
- Foolproof flaky pie crust
- Tips for success
- Baking with Sourdough Discard
- What You Need
- Step-by-step Instructions
- How to Laminate Pie Dough
- How Much Does This Recipe Make?
- How to Roll Out Pie Dough
- How to Bake the Crust
- Recipe FAQs
- More sourdough pastry ideas you may enjoy
- Extra Flaky Sourdough Pie Crust
Foolproof flaky pie crust
Pastry dough requires delicate handling. As a sourdough baker, I have a tendency to overwork my dough which results in excess gluten development, great for sourdough bread not so for tender pie crust.
It took me quite some time to get my crust perfect, time and again I’d go through the entire process of making dough, rolling it out, assembling a complicated pie, only for all my butter to leak out of the crust and my pie to bake up tough and soggy.
If this sounds like you, here are a few helpful tips I’ve learned through the years that have greatly improved my pie-crust skills!
Tips for success
Start with cold butter and ingredients: As pie crust bakes water locked in the large pieces of butter evaporate creating steam that become lots of flaky layers. If your dough is too warm, the butter will melt resulting in a dry, rubbery crust. Starting off with cold pieces of butter and ice cold water will help your chances of success!
Weigh your ingredients: Pie dough depends on exact ratios of flour, fat and water. Measuring your ingredients by weight is more accurate than volume.
Don’t be tempted to add too much water: Gluten is activated when water is added to flour. Adding too much results in excess gluten formation and a tough crust. If your dough feels too dry and doesn’t feel like it’s coming together, be conservative and only add a few tablespoons of ice water at a time.
Chill the dough: If your dough starts to feel greasy, it means your butter may be melting. Wrap your dough up and place it in the refrigerator to cool down before you continue to work with it.
Laminate the dough if you tend to overwork it: Most of my pie failures were a result of me kneading my dough too much. If you have the tendency to do the same, try laminating your dough. It’s an extra step, but almost guarantees your crust will be tender and flaky!
Baking with Sourdough Discard
When incorporated into buttery pastry, sourdough discard imparts a delicately tangy, almost cheesy flavor that’s not overly savory. Since you won’t use it to make bread rise, you can use unfed sourdough or sourdough discard straight from the refrigerator. Active sourdough starter will have a milder flavor than discard that’s been kept in the fridge for weeks, both will work but you’ll get slightly different results.
Looking for more ways to use up excess sourdough starter? Check out this list of my favorite Sourdough Discard Recipes.
What You Need
Sourdough discard: Dissolve the sourdough discard completely in water, this makes it easier to incorporate it into your dry ingredients. You can still make this recipe without sourdough discard, just add 28 grams of water and 28 grams if all-purpose flour to the recipe.
Water: Activates the gluten in the flour and binds all the ingredients together. Don’t be tempted to add too much to your dough. Use ice cold water for the best results!
All-purpose flour: Low protein flour imparts a tender texture to this crust, another type of flour may require more water. Don’t substitute another type of flour.
Salt: Use kosher salt or sea salt.
Butter: Butter coats the flour in fat and tenderizes the crust. Substitute your favorite plant-based alternative or use shortening.
1) Dissolve the sourdough discard in water
2) Rub the butter into the flour and salt using your hands or a pastry blender
3) Stir the dissolved starter into the butter and flour mixture
4) Gather dough up into a ball turn it out on to a piece of plastic wrap, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
5) Roll the dough out into a large rectangle and laminate (optional)
6) Divide in half and gather each portion into a disc, wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using
7) Roll the dough out and place it into your pie plate
8) Bake at high heat (425 F) according to instructions in your favorite recipe
How to Laminate Pie Dough
Laminating or folding your dough is totally optional! If you’re already successful with creating tender pie crusts then you can totally skip this step.
Lamination involves rolling your dough out into a large rectangle then folding it, similar to creating rough puff pastry. This step is completed after you’ve created your dough and let it rest in the refrigerator. It creates layers of flour and butter which results in a flakier pie crust.
1) Roll your chilled pie dough out into a circle about ⅛-inch thick
2) Fold the dough in half and then into quarters
3) Divide the dough into 2 portions, roll out into a square and fold the corners into the center to form 2 round discs
4) Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling it out
How Much Does This Recipe Make?
This recipe makes enough for 1 double crust pie or 2 single crust pies. You can also use this pie crust to make 1 large galette or 4 mini galettes.
How to Roll Out Pie Dough
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it warm slightly (this will make it easier to roll out and prevent it from cracking).
- Unwrap the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface (I like to roll mine out on a piece of parchment).
- Place a rolling pin lightly dusted with flour in the center of the dough and roll outward from the center to the edge, applying even gentle pressure
- Using a dough scraper, lift the dough and complete 1 quarter turn. Roll outward again and repeat.
- Dust a small amount of flour under the dough to prevent it from sticking.
- Repeat until your crust is about ⅛-inch in thickness and overhangs on your pie plate by 2 to 3 inches.
How to Bake the Crust
Par-baking: Bake the dough at 425 F with pie weights for 20 minutes, remove weights from the bottom crust and continue baking at 375 F for 7 minutes or until the crust is just beginning to brown.
Blind Baking: Bake the dough at 425 F with pie weights for 20 minutes, remove weights and continue baking at 375 F for 7 minutes or until the crust is just beginning to brown.
Baking a Double-crust Pie: Assemble your pie. Bake the pie at 400 F for 40 to 45 minutes or completely browned.
You may not have added enough water to your dough. Different brands of flour may absorb water at different rates. The flour you use may need more water. If your dough is crumbly, add water a tablespoon at a time.
If you notice the butter in your dough begin to melt stop working, wrap your dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 30 minutes before continuing.
It depends, most single crust pies, especially custard pies require par-baking since they don't usually bake long enough and at high enough temperature to fully bake and crisp the crust. Double crust pies usually bake for long enough to allow the crust to fully cook and crisp up so they don't need to be par-baked.
More sourdough pastry ideas you may enjoy
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Extra Flaky Sourdough Pie Crust
- pie plate
- Rolling Pin
- bench scraper
- 226 grams unsalted butter cold
- 56 grams water plus more if needed
- 56 grams sourdough discard
- 210 grams all-purpose flour
- 6 grams salt
- Prep: Cut the butter into ½ inch cubes. Place them in the refrigerator until ready to use. Stir the sourdough discard in water until almost completely dissolved. Set aside.226 grams unsalted butter, 56 grams sourdough discard, 56 grams water
- Cut the butter into the flour: In a large mixing bowl, toss the butter, salt and all-purpose flour together making sure all the butter pieces are completely coated. Use your fingers to squeeze the butter pieces into flat discs, continue working the butter into the flour by rubbing everything together using your palms.210 grams all-purpose flour, 6 grams salt
- Make the dough: Make a well in the center of your flour mixture and pour the discard mixture in the center. Use a stiff spatula or sturdy wooden spoon to toss the flour and discard mixture together.
- Using your hands, begin lightly kneading and bringing the dough together, until it comes together in a cohesive mass (it’s ok if it looks a little dry). Add more water a tablespoon at a time if the crust is too crumbly.
- Wrap the dough in a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Laminate the dough: Unwrap the dough and place it on a clean, floured surface. Dust your rolling pin with flour and flatten the dough out into a large rectangle, about ⅛-inch thick.
- Fold the dough in half, fold it once more, until it's only a quarter it's original size.
- Divide the dough in half.
- Chill: Round the dough into two discs. Wrap each portion of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using.
- Roll out the dough: Set the dough out at room temperature for 15 minutes. Unwrap the dough and set it on a lightly-floured surface. Dust your rolling pin in flour. Flatten the dough out into a large circle, perform a quarter turn after each time you pass the rolling pin over the dough. Continue until you've rolled the dough out into your desired size.
- Carefully transfer the dough to a pie plate. Chill the dough covered in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before baking.
- To par-bake: Line chilled pie dough with a piece of crumpled parchment paper. Fill with pie weights (see note). Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment with pie weights, return the crust to the oven and continue baking at 375 F for 7 to 10 minutes or until the bottom begins to brown.
- To blind bake: Line chilled pie dough with a piece of crumpled parchment paper. Fill with pie weights (see note). Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment with pie weights, return the crust to the oven and continue baking at 375 F for 15 to 20 minutes or until the bottom is completely browned.
- To bake a double crust pie: Assemble your pie. Bake the pie at 400 F for 40 to 45 minutes or completely browned.
- Storage: Refrigerate the dough for up to a week or freeze for up to 1 month.