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This Serious Eats article explains it very clearly: First he presents the "old school" understanding of what is happening: Old school pastry books will tell you that when you cut butter or some other solid fat (like shortening or lard) into flour, what's happening is that you are encasing pockets of flour inside a shell of fat. Add water, and the flour ...


First, be sure to keep the butter as cold as possible. Cut it into small cubes and chuck it into the rest of the ingredients. Some people use what is called a pastry cutter, but many don't own one. What I usually do is either pull out my food processor with the blade attachment and pulse until the dough comes together (adding a few drops of cold water if ...

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