2

I'm regularly baking pies again and I might want to get into pastry a bit more and looking for tools to help me out.

I have seen about a dozen videos about creating the perfect pastry dough and I cannot decide between the Dough Blender and the Dough Cutter/Scraper. The dough cutter seems more versatile white the blender should do it's job of blending the butter with the flour the best. However, the people using the cutter made it look easier then the people with the blender where the dough and butter mixture stuck between the blades and you still had to push it out with your hands or another tool. Whereas holding two cutters you can clean them by simply scraping them against each other and to shove the blend together with one scraper and chopping with the other looked very efficient.

So I am very much leaning towards buying two good sturdy cutters. But every pro makes his tools look so easy to work with. I am just going to make a dough two times a week at the most and I am looking for the right choice.

-edit-

I understand my question is a bit hard to answer. The short question is:

Do I need to be a Japanese ninja to blend my butter and flour with 2 scrapers/cutters?

  • I'm confused about the choices here - you seem to be considering buying two cutters, but not a cutter and a blender? Is the actual question just about what tool(s) to use to cut butter into flour? – Cascabel Jan 31 '18 at 22:10
  • I just use my Cuisinart... :/ No special tools needed... well... assuming you have a food processor. – Catija Jan 31 '18 at 22:15
  • @Cascabel My question indeed is what tool is best. Let's reiterate, in this video that guy shows how good the scrapers/cutters handle the blending of the dough. So why do I need a blender if a blender can only blend and I still get all the butter and flour stuck in between the blades. – Madmenyo Feb 1 '18 at 10:04
  • @Catija Food processors tend to warm up to dough which is considered bad by the experts. I actually got a MagiMix XL but why use it and clean it again when you can blend it with a hand tool in like 5 minutes. – Madmenyo Feb 1 '18 at 10:08
  • FWIW I've always found the blenders a pain because you soon end up pushing the butter back together with it (my technique may be at fault i suppose) and I've never seen anyone using dough scrapers for pastry (I can't watch you linked vid now, but will later). I've eventually come to the conclusion that much as I find it tedious, my best option is to cut the fat into small pieces as I drop it into the bowl of flour and try to coat those pieces with flour as I go, then just get in there with my fingers to rub the fat and flour together. – Spagirl Feb 1 '18 at 12:39
4

While mrog's answer is excellent, I'm going to make an opinionated and firm recommendation based on personal experience: you want a dough blender. Specifically, you want this type of dough blender, rather than the one you linked to.

Here's the reasons why this is superior to other options:

  1. "wire" design for the cutters makes it easy to "knock off" stuck dough/butter using a spatula or butter knife, and often to not have to knock off at all;
  2. Thumb rest provides better leverage for rapid butter-cutting (I can do a pie crust dough in under 3 minutes with one of these), and time is your enemy when working with cold butter;
  3. Dough blenders allow you to do your cutting in a mixing bowl, instead of the flat surface that bench scrapers* require, saving on cleanup.

Of course, as mrog notes, YMMV.

(* the thing you link to as a "dough cutter" was known as a "bench scraper" back when I was a pastry chef)

  • I completely agree with using a wire blender, just not the exact one in the picture you shared. I used to have one a lot like it, and the handle would spin around whenever I used much pressure. I really like this design: amazon.com/dp/B00004OCNK – mrog Feb 2 '18 at 5:12
  • Thank you, but whats up with the keeping clean just before you make it a mess anyway. Is it a inside joke or something? A couple video's I have seen give these handy tips and a minute later they mess it up anyway and it makes me smile each time. Anyway, I will follow your and @mrog advice and get the type of blender you recommend. – Madmenyo Feb 2 '18 at 7:32
  • @mrog yeah, the handle is better on that one but I really find that having the thumb rest makes a huge difference in leverage and speed. – FuzzyChef Feb 3 '18 at 5:53
  • @Madmenyo I don't quite understand what you're asking. – FuzzyChef Feb 3 '18 at 5:53
  • also, please select a response as "the answer", either @mrog's or mine, if you've accepted one. – FuzzyChef Feb 3 '18 at 19:36
4

It's really a matter of personal preference. I like using a pastry blender, but not all pastry blenders are worth using. It needs to be sturdy. And you really don't want a handle that might rotate when you push down on the dough, so pay attention to how the handle is fastened to the blender. When the dough starts to build up in the blender, just use your other hand to knock most of it back into the bowl.

The other method I was taught was to use two butter knives, one in each hand, and slide them against each other while cutting through the dough. This method works, but it takes longer.

I haven't tried using a pair of dough cutters. It should work, but it's going to require a flat work surface. The other two options (blender and knives) work well in a mixing bowl.

Regardless of which method you choose, it's going to be a bit awkward until you get some practice. Anyone with near-average dexterity should be able to master any of them with time.

  • 2
    Yeah, my tendency is to say "use a blender, because it means you can do your butter cutting in a bowl, which really saves on cleanup". Also, for dough stuck between the blades of the blender, it's really easy to knock it loose using either a spatula or a butter knife. Mind you, when I was a professional baker, we used a robot-coupe. – FuzzyChef Feb 1 '18 at 22:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.