The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Shrinking Pastry

Mad_Kiwi's picture
Mad_Kiwi

Shrinking Pastry

Hi there fellow bakers. This is my first post here so sorry if it's been discussed before. I'm having trouble with shrinking pastry while making meat pies. The puff pastry tops always seem to shrink in the oven and pull away from the base breaking the seal. Any ideas what might be causing this? Here is what I'm using and my ratios.

• 200g Anchor butter
• 250g French T45 flour
• Pinch salt
• 75mls cold water (approx)

I'm rolling it out and doing 2 folds, then baking in a convection oven @180*C (355 Fahrenheit)

Any tips would be greatly appreciated :)

semolina_man's picture
semolina_man

How much rest time is included?

Mad_Kiwi's picture
Mad_Kiwi

I leave it in the fridge overnight and pastry is usually still very cold when putting it in the oven

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

pierced in the top crust?    (fork, knife, toothpick, skewer)

if yes, any plugged by a wash?

Does look like this happens more on the outside pies near to the edge of the sheet pan supporting a tray of pies. Convection.  How about rotating pies? Or avoid placing pies close to the edges of the sheet pan spacing the pies more?

Another thought... how about cutting smaller top crusts so the just float on top of the pie filling?  

Mad_Kiwi's picture
Mad_Kiwi

Thank for the reply. 

Yes I put three knife holes in the top after an egg wash. I guess there is a chance the egg is getting in the holes 🤔

I could try putting 3 pies on 2 rays rather than 6 on 1 and see if that does anything. 

Mad_Kiwi's picture
Mad_Kiwi

Although I am using a convection oven.

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

That might improve circulation.  Still ... what about rolling out a thinner crust?

Mad_Kiwi's picture
Mad_Kiwi

Tops are currently 2cm thick. Is there a thickness you'd recommend? 

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Raw?  If not then the top crusts are way too thick. They look a bit underbaked as well.  How do the lower crusts look after removing from the pans?  The recent picture baked longer.

Mad_Kiwi's picture
Mad_Kiwi

Sorry 2mm. bottom dough is shortcrust and I have no problems with. Might try bake a bit longer too. thanks 

semolina_man's picture
semolina_man

Do you have photos or a link of what you are trying to achieve?  In other words, is there an example you can point to, which has the appearance or final result that you are seeking? 

 

Why don't all the items in the photo have the same appearance? 

Mad_Kiwi's picture
Mad_Kiwi

Here's what I'm after. basically a nice tight seal.

 

meat pie

Mad_Kiwi's picture
Mad_Kiwi

The reason the pies on the edge puffed up more is because the filling is different. the 2 on the edge (with black sesame seeds) are butter chicken and the rest are beef. Some seeds may be blocking the vents. That could be a factor

semolina_man's picture
semolina_man

Does the inspiration photo show a shortcrust pastry? 

 

Were the pies in your first photo baked sequentially, simultaneously, on the same level, different levels?

Mad_Kiwi's picture
Mad_Kiwi

As far as I know meat pie tops are usually Puff Pastry. Yes the pies were all baked at the same time on the same tray/level

semolina_man's picture
semolina_man

I have baked meat pies, but only with shortcrust pastry, not puff pastry.  Certainly personal and regional preferences can be different. 

 

The pie lid (top) with seeds appears to have not received evenly distributed heat, causing uneven expansion of the pastry.  Reasons for this could be the seeds, or location of those pies in the oven.  All home ovens I have used have uneven heat throughout.  One way to improve oven heat distribution is with a stone. 

 

Could the pies with seeds have been nearest the oven convection fan? 

Mad_Kiwi's picture
Mad_Kiwi

Thanks for the thoughts. Very interesting. I put them in the middle rack but as they were on the edge this could have happened. Like I stated earlier, I might try less pies but over 2 racks. I'm also thinking the seeds could have clogged the air vent causing seem to burst. 

semolina_man's picture
semolina_man

Baking requires control of variables.   It's a good idea to try again. I think the seeds are playing minor role, but it's good to try without them. 

 

Some suggestions: 

 

- well-rested dough (refrigerated overnight and not rolled again before baking)

- thin top crust (rolled out the night before, then rested)

- fewer pies in the oven

- middle oven rack

- middle of oven, in other words not near the fan

- use a baking stone to increase thermal mass and therefore heat distribution

Mad_Kiwi's picture
Mad_Kiwi

Found this online. Shrinking can be due to gluten:

 

Let’s talk about gluten.

The first 2 rules exist almost exclusively to control the amount of gluten formation. Huh? Okay, I’ll break it down for you.

 

Gluten is two proteins that are found in wheat that, when hydrated and agitated, form a felt-like network. They are responsible for the structure in your pie crust. You need a certain amount of gluten to create a flakey crust that won’t just crumble or fall apart after slicing. But gluten is also what makes your pastry shrink or become tough when it should be delicate.

 

There are several key steps in pastry making that are all about making sure only the appropriate amount of gluten forms. Gluten forms best in a warm environment, so back to the #1 rule of keeping it cold. Cutting in the butter coats some of those gluten strands so that they cannot form a tight, cohesive network.

 

This brings us to the second rule of pastry. You need to work quickly once you begin adding the water because gluten needs to be hydrated before it forms. The faster you work and the colder your water, the less gluten has a chance to form.

semolina_man's picture
semolina_man

Resting dough in the refrigerator allows gluten to relax and therefore eliminate or reduce shrink.