Whether you’re making pie crusts, biscuits, or shortcakes, among the first steps is to reduced the fat into the flour—a shorthand way of telling you to break the fat into tiny pieces and also coat them v flour. Exactly how much you cut in the fat affects the structure of the last pastry, and to a lesser extent, therefore does the device you use.

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The more thoroughly you reduced in the fat, the an ext you “shorten” the dough, and also the an ext homogenous, crumbly, and also shortbread-like it will certainly be. Recipes the say to reduced in until the dough each other coarse cornmeal are going because that a tender result. Because that pie crusts and also biscuits that room meant to it is in flaky, the recipe must tell you to leave few of the fat in pea-size pieces, with the rest in crumb-like bits come ensure part tenderness. (If the piece of fat room too big, you’ll acquire gaping holes in the pastry whereby the fat was.)

Start v well-chilled fat and also work quickly. In warm weather, chilled the flour and also the bowl, too. Start with mini pats the butter (cut a rod lengthwise right into quarters and then into thin pats) or small chunks the shortening, lard, orsuet, and also toss lock in the flour, distributing castle evenly before cutting in.

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Many tools, one technique. my favorite device for cutting in is mine hands. Together I obstacle the bits that fat between my fingertips and also thumbs, I regulate just just how flaky mine biscuits will certainly be. Don’t usage your palms: they’re as well warm.

For large jobs, or if ns pressed for time, I count on a food processor fitted with the metal blade. It takes just a couple of short pulses to reduced in the fat. Avoid as shortly as you have actually the wanted texture; a couple of superfluous pulses will certainly make the consistency also fine.Another reliable tool is a hand-held pastry blender with number of parallel curved metal tines (rigid knives seem to work much better than versatile wires). Press the tines right into the fat, tossing the piece in the flour and also stopping occasionally to scrape the fat native the tines. A fork functions the same way except the you have to be more careful no to smear the fat. Some pastry-supply stores sell forks through wide-spaced tines just for this purpose, but it’s difficult to get an excellent results uneven you’re an extremely adept.

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You can also cut in fat using two table knives. With a knife in each hand, drag the knife blades through the flour and fat, slide the blades across each other to trap the fat, cut the fat right into smaller and smaller pieces.