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Based on a comment made here Australian Meat (Chunky steak) Pie: loss of Gravy/Sauce after cooling/freezing - Seasoned Advice (which I thankfully read before it was deleted by a moderator), I have been looking into the making of a Hot Water Crust Pastry.

The process itsself seems to be clear.

I swiftly found, however, that the ratio of the 3 main ingredients (flour, water and lard) vary considerably in almost every recipe.

What effect do these different ratios have on the final result?


Samples found:

The Wikipedia Cookbook:Hot Water Crust Pastry - Wikibooks
suggested ratio:

  • water: 100% of flour
  • lard : 50% of water

Liam’s Nan’s Sunday Dinner | The Great British Bake Off
suggested ratio:

  • water: 38.46% of flour
  • lard : 60% of water

Scotch pies recipe - BBC Food
suggested ratio:

  • water: 44.44% of flour
  • lard : 75% of water

Glasgow Guide: Scottish Recipes: Scotch Pie
suggested ratio:

  • water: 45% of flour
  • lard : 35% of flour (77.77% of water)

Easy & Authentic Scotch Pie Recipe - Scottish Scran
suggested ratio:

  • water: 48% of flour
  • lard : 83.33% of water

Scotch Pie Recipe with step by step instructions and photos
suggested ratio:

  • water: 51.11% of flour
  • lard : 86.95% of water
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  • Er ... what are you talking about? That question was not deleted. It's liable to be closed as a duplicate, but it hasn't been yet. – FuzzyChef Jun 21 at 18:33
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    @FuzzyChef The comment was deleted, not the question. – Mark Johnson Jun 21 at 18:44
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    BTW, if you do the math, three of those recipes have roughly the same flour::lard ratio. It seems like it's mostly the amount of water that varies. – FuzzyChef Jun 21 at 18:48
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    @FuzzyChef At the moment I'm trying each one out, but there are only so many 250g pies that one can eat in one day. – Mark Johnson Jun 21 at 18:54
  • @FuzzyChef You're correct, they have roughly the same ratios (flour-fat-water) overall, except for the first recipe, that one has significantly more water and less flour – Juliana Karasawa Souza Jun 22 at 9:32
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So, first of all, the method you chose for listing the ratios is not exactly the most effective in depicting the ratios for comparison...

Usually we just list ratios as parts or with the quantities themselves (using g = mL for water is acceptable), makes everyone's life easier when trying to troubleshoot a recipe. Example for the first recipe:

2 flour : 2 water : 1 lard or 170g flour : 170g water : 85g lard

Now onto what should be expected

Pastry crusts in general have 3 basic ingredients: flour, solid fat and water.

Note that I use the term "solid fat" because it is not necessarily lard, it can be butter, shortening, or other fat that's solid at room temperature. Why is this relevant? Your 2nd recipe (Liam's Nan) uses both butter AND lard, so your final ratios look more like this:

2.6 flour : 1.1 solid fat : 1 water or 650g flour : 275g solid fat : 250g water

Doing the maths, there is no much variation between your recipes, all of them are roughly 52-56% flour, 19-23% fat and 21-26% water, except for the first one, which is 40% flour : 20% fat : 40% water.

A crust with a higher water content, like your first recipe, tends to be more elastic before baked, and tougher / chewier after baking, and they can also take a filling that's richer in liquid without getting soggy, and the crusts with a higher fat content tend to be harder before baking and crumblier / flakier after baking, and require a filling that's drier or has the water "bound" with a starch, like cornstarch or flour.

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    Thank you, the last paragraph was the information I was looking for sonce it gives me an idea what to look for when 'experimenting'. – Mark Johnson Jun 22 at 9:40
  • Ratios in German baking school were percentages either on flour or water not a combo. The above 40 20 40 ratio gives me headache. Anyway, the wetter doughs are for thinner shorter pies. Drier for 6" tall family size – Pat Sommer Jun 26 at 16:55

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