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Whenever I make pies or biscuits, I'm obsessed with maintaining the solid, cool state of the butter. In all seriousness, I would do the entire mixing/shaping process (before baking) in a walk-in freezer if I could. So, in the absence of doing that, I do everything else imaginable (before and after preparation) right up until placing the product into the oven of keeping everything very cold (but not actually freezing it).

My latest test involves placing the (dry) flour into the freezer 30min - 1hour before mixing the wet ingredients. It seems to help but I'm not yet sure if that's just luck or something else. Upon thinking more about this, technically moisture would have a greater chance of condensating on the flour grains, thereby facilitating more gluten development. This of course is entirely dependent upon the environmental conditions of the kitchen.

Based on all this, my question is the following: is technically advantageous to cool or freeze dry flour before performing subsequent operations for baked goods?

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    You can obsess all you like, but I don't think actual professional pasrty makers who HAVE walk-in coolers/freezers available actually work in them, on the whole, so the obsession might be more about obsessing over one variable and less about technical benefits of focusing only on that one variable, if folks in the business don't see a need to.
    – Ecnerwal
    Nov 8, 2022 at 19:07

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I would argue it potentially is a very small disadvantage, but likely doesn't matter at all for most recipes.

Cold butter in flaky pastries helps make things flaky because it is in large enough pieces that it creates separation in the dough as it heats up and the little bit of water evaporates. If you use warmer butter, it coats the flour and prevents it from holding as much water and/or as much structure. The flour temperature wouldn't likely contribute much to the butter's chunkiness.

Using cold flour will not have a huge effect unless you are doing a no-knead recipe, where the lower temperature could slightly inhibit rising. Otherwise it will probably warm up by the time you finish mixing the dough. If it doesn't warm up, then you are baking something colder than the recipe calls for, which means the baking time could be slightly off, which could mean that your baking soda, etc. will take longer to activate. It is unlikely that this will happen unless you are doing very little or zero kneading, though.

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    There are some recipes where intentionally delaying the baking soda reaction can be very beneficial, I've adjusted both my biscuit and corn bread recipes to involve a step to re-chill the dough before I add liquids to prevent the leavening reaction until it's in the oven. (Including a slight adjustment to the baking times to compensate, as you suggest would be necessary.) Nov 8, 2022 at 22:53

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