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Often, when I'm blind baking things, I'm always unsure whether or not the dough is finished. I always put a piece of foil between the crust and the rice.

Is there an easy way to check the middle of the crust, or do I need to rely on timing or remove the rice on top to see? Removing the rice is difficult without making a mess, so I'd very much like to hear some tips :-)

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

assuming you put a piece of foil between the crust and rice, just lift up an edge to check it..

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Sorry, should have clarified. I already have foil between the crust and the rice, but it's difficult to check the middle of the crust without having rice everywhere afterwards. – jmoeller Jul 11 '10 at 20:14
@jmoeller: heh, that's why I use beans... – Shog9 Jul 11 '10 at 22:42
I guess I'll have to switch to beans or something :-) – jmoeller Jul 12 '10 at 7:52
I have something similar to this which may make it easier to check. – Stephen Paulger Jan 25 '11 at 10:42

You can use cling film instead of foil, then when put in the hot oven, it will shrink at the edges a little and almost pull the top in to make it contain the rice a bit. This can make it easier to lift the rice in and out. The cling film won't melt though. you do need the cling film to be wide enough though, or if not you need to overlap a few layers. Still easier to use beans though as there are fewer to pick up if anything does go wrong....

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Depending on the tin you're using, you may not need any filling at all.

The main reasons you use beans/rice when blind baking are to prevent air pockets underneath the pastry from expanding, which causes the bottom to rise up, and to prevent the pastry from shrinking. You don't specify what type of pastry you're making, but for a simple shortcrust I find you don't need to worry about shrinkage. And I use a flan tin with a loose (separate) bottom, which not only makes it dead easy to get the flan out after cooking, but also isn't airtight so you don't have the problem with air bubbles. If you don't have a tin like this, you can always just prick the bottom of the pastry shell with a fork so that air can escape.

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