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Cover: Founding Flavors

04Oct 12

The Versatility of Short Dough

While I’m still getting acquainted with the various types of dough used in baking, I’ve come to have a greater appreciation for short dough.  It is one of the most commonly used types of dough in bakeries because it can be used for so many items such as cookies, tarts, and cake bottoms.  Its texture is crumbly, which is attributed to a couple of factors.  First, there is a higher fat (butter) content.  Second, the technique for mixing the ingredients together calls for the butter to be thoroughly mixed in, as opposed to left in clumps for making a flaky dough.  Because the butter is thoroughly mixed in with flour, which contains protein, gluten strands are prevented from being completely developed and instead are ‘shortened’.  This shortening of the gluten strands is what ultimately creates the crumbly texture.  Some additional online references can be found on Gourmet Traveller or The Biscuit Doctor.

The first short dough recipe I tried focused on the classic approach to making short dough.  It had a simple taste and color, which made it easy for using as a base for other pastries.  I ended up rolling out the dough to make cookies that I covered with royal icing and decorated using a brush and food coloring.  Additionally, I tried alternative short dough recipes consisting of chocolate flavored short dough and hazelnut short dough.  At this point, I realized you can really get creative with short dough because the primary ingredients consist of sugar, flour, and butter, followed by whatever else you want to include.  So I decided to create a chocolate pistachio flavored short dough and changed up some of the primary ingredients and measurements to be a bit more health conscious.  For instance, instead of using refined sugar, I used the same amount of unrefined sugar, which is better for you because it has not been stripped of nutrients and minerals during the refining process.  In addition, I reduced the amount of butter from eight tablespoons to six.

As I compared the tastes of the various short dough flavors I baked, I have to say that they were very, very similar.  If you plan to use the short dough as a base, the subtle flavors of items like chocolate, pistachio, and hazelnut should work well in complimenting the final pastry.  However, if you plan to serve the short dough as a cookie, I suggest playing around with the flavors and measurements to create a stronger or more noticeable taste.

While there are endless recipes for making short dough, below is my recipe.  One thing I did notice was that the dough was slightly difficult to roll out, most likely because of the reduced amount of butter.  I ended up wetting my hands to knead the dough.  And, after doing this two times, the dough was much easier to shape.

Cheers,
Sonia
www.foundingflavors.com

Chocolate Pistachio Short Dough
Author: 
Recipe type: Baking
 
Ingredients
  • Bread flour: ¾ cup
  • Butter: 6 tablespoons
  • Cocoa powder, unsweetened: 1 tablespoon
  • Egg: roughly ¼ of one egg
  • Pistachios, finely grinded: 2 tablespoons
  • Unrefined sugar: ¼ cup
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  2. Cover dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
  4. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface. Depending on the use for the short dough, use cookie cutters to create shapes or line tart pans with short dough.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes.

 

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