Baking filter: how to toughen up?
June 18, 2016 2:32 PM   Subscribe

Today we made these pineapple cakes. They taste great, but the shortbread is very crumbly so that they're hard to pick up without falling apart. MeFite baking scientists: how would we want alter this to make the pastry part tougher -- a little bit chewy instead of crumbly?
posted by duoshao to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Your flour was probably very dry, and so you needed more liquid to make the cookies hold together better. I would take out about 1/4 cup of flour and see if the dough held together well with the liquid provided. If not, I would sequentially add a teaspoon or so of water, mix it up, Until the dough held together nicely when pinched into about an inch-diameter ball.
posted by djinn dandy at 2:52 PM on June 18, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks Djinn Dandy, but I should have mentioned (in case it matters) that before baking the dough was not crumbly at all and held together well. In fact it was quite sticky, I guess because of the loads of butter.
posted by duoshao at 3:07 PM on June 18, 2016

Butter makes crumbly texture. I would add another yolk, and substitute shortening for part of the butter (I know there are already a couple tbsp in there but if you are finding that it's still too crumbly, try subbing out like half a cup of the butter for shortening, in addition to what's in there already.)

You can also melt the butter first instead of creaming. In fact, I'd try that first, before messing with the shortening.
posted by fingersandtoes at 3:12 PM on June 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

Best answer: The pastry in the cookies is a variety of pate sucree. I would try Martha Stewart's recipe instead. I suspect that adding the egg yolks as your recipe suggests is overworking the dough. It is also important to either work quickly with chilled butter initially or to chill the dough thoroughly at the end.
posted by djinn dandy at 5:56 PM on June 18, 2016

Is there a chance you under-mixed (or, less likely, over-mixed) it? The physical action causes the gluten to form a protein network; if that's lacking you can sometimes get excessive crumb.
posted by introp at 10:27 AM on June 19, 2016

Best answer: Yup, I was going to say you over-mixed,and, yes, chilled ingredients except for the fat, which should be soft soft soft but not warm.
posted by Lornalulu at 5:52 PM on June 19, 2016

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