Powered By Blogger

Friday 13 August 2010

When to be blunt!

When to be blunt! I don’t just mean speaking direct, but whilst we are on the subject allow me to rant at you! STOP using sharp blades to cut pastry, it is not etiquette and above all it is using the wrong tool for the job. If you use a knife for dressing pastry, then it is considered correct to use the blunt back edge and not the sharp blade, as less friction is applied this allows the pastry to have a fuller edge by being more relaxed.

Let me explain, for centuries bakers and pastry chefs have used a tool such as the Dough Cutter with a wooden T-handle to cut through their bread dough and pastry as the sharp edge of a blade on a knife can cut and drag on pastry and not only that, you are in danger of cutting yourself when trimming pie casings.

Why do you think pastry cutters are blunt and not sharp like a knife?

Just the other day I was watching a daytime television programme; here a new young female celebrity chef was demonstrating how to make sausage rolls. As much as I like this young lady and I know we will see more of her, I still found myself shouting at the screen at her as she made several errors. Firstly she overfilled the pastry, then having made three long sausage rolls placed on a baking sheet, she proceeded to score the pastry and then she attempted with some difficulty to cut and divide the rolls into equal lengths using a knife and as she drew the knife across the pastry she worked into the other rolls on the baking sheet. What a hash she was making, you need to cut down when dividing sausage rolls and then score each individual piece, otherwise you cut across the scoring and the contents are more prone to falling out during cooking. On a positive, her recipe was sound, it was just her execution that let her down on this occasion, I’m sure too she was under pressure from the time she had slotted to make these.

When I am making en-croute items, I invariably use my pizza-cutting wheel to trim my pastry edges, this really allows me to trim accurately and up close without damaging the finished look.

My dough cutter is often described by some as a herb chopper (bless them for they do not know), a herb chopper has a curved bladed edge, whereas dough cutters are flat edged. I bought my old dough cutter in a Brocante in France for 4 euros and at a guess it is around 60 years old. You can find these old tools on French & German ebay at a snipp or was that a cut?


  1. Marc-Frederic, I too sometimes find myself shouting at the screen whilst watching cookery shows. My husband says "Why do you even watch? You should be ON the show!" But I enjoy them.

  2. Hi Jean, I too think you should go on tv sharing your recipes, they sound great!