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I experiment some with pie crusts and have seen recipes that include vinegar as well as eggs. What does the vinegar do and what does the egg do. I have heard the vinegar promotes tenderness but have read on one of the posts here that it speeds gluten formation.

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From On Food and Cooking:

Acidity in the dough - as from a sourdough culture - weakens the gluten network by increasing the number of positively charged amino acids along the protein chains, and increasing the repulsive force between chains.

And weaker gluten structure is definitely a good thing for pastry doughs!

From the same source:

[Eggs] supplement gluten structure with tender protein coagulum, tenderize products; slow staling

So eggs help provide a more tender structure, again good for pastry doughs.

  • I've got some recipes for Flaky and Puff pastry that call for lemon juice, however the same book omits them from the shortcrust pastries. – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Dec 11 '11 at 21:35

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