pastry blender tutorial

I got a request last week to do a little tutorial on using a pastry blender. This is the one I have if you were looking to buy one for yourself. A food processor is often used to replaced a pastry blender, but in my opinion, there is no substitute for a little elbow grease! You would use a pastry blender for biscuits, scones, pie crusts, pastry doughs. . . anything where you want bits of butter distributed through the dough. Last week, I used it to make scones.

You start with COLD butter. Cold is the key here. You don’t want the butter melting. Cut up the butter into 1/4″ cubes. If it starts getting melty because you have hot hands, stick it in the freezer until it’s solid again. Cold is the key.

pastry blender

Toss the cubed cold butter into your dry ingredients that have already been whisked together. If you don’t whisk the ingredients, the leavening agent could stick to the butter making your food taste bad. And we don’t want that, do we?

pastry blender

Pastry blender! Side note, when I was growing up, I thought that this was for mashing potatoes. It works for that too, but I missed out on years of pastry making because I didn’t know what it was actually for. Anyways, grab the pastry blender and begin to mash the butter into the dry ingredients. We’re looking for the butter to be broken up into little pieces and coated with the dry ingredients. Coarse ground meal is the texture we’re looking for. But really, who knows what coarse ground meal looks like?

pastry blender

This is too chunky. Too many big pieces.

pastry blender

Ah, and we’ve arrived. Check this out.

pastry blender

It’s ok if there are still some bigger chunks in the mix. It’s better to err a little bit on the too coarse side than on the too blended side. If things are getting melty at this point, feel free to put the dough in the freezer again. Cold. Seriously.

pastry blender

And this is the final way to judge success. After you have added the rest of your wet ingredients to the dough (in this case, it was cream), you do a quick knead to the dough – and quick is key, no melting butter, remember? Keep your hot hands in the dough for as little time as possible. Once done, you should see chunks of butter in the dough. That’s exactly what we’re looking for! When you bake your items that butter will melt into a little pocket of goodness. It lends a flaky, buttery, tender texture.

pastry blender

Alright, tutorial ‘pastry blender’ done! Let me know if you have any questions!


  1. Posted February 1, 2010 at 11:03 am | Permalink | Reply

    The scones look great! I used my pastry blender this last week to make some yummy biscuits!

  2. Posted February 1, 2010 at 11:25 am | Permalink | Reply

    Neat! I don’t think I knew what a pastry blender even looked like. This is a great tutorial!

  3. Posted February 1, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

    yay! thanks. i think that the consistency was where i got slipped up prior. i will try this out later this week when i get some more butter (used the last on some cookies this morning)

  4. Posted February 2, 2010 at 8:26 am | Permalink | Reply

    I read your post the other day, I’ve never heard of cutting the flour and butter, I was quite amused by the image I had of you trying to cut up flour and butter with two knives! Here we just ‘rub in the flour and butter’ with our hands.

    I remember having to scoop it up and rub from my pinkie fingers to my index fingers when we learned as children and it seemed like a lot of work. Now it doesn’t take long as an adult – maybe I’m more skilled or my hands are just bigger!

    When you mentioned your pastry blender I thought it was electric, I’ve never seen one of these – does it really make it easier or quicker?

    • Elizabeth
      Posted February 2, 2010 at 11:20 am | Permalink | Reply

      You actually can use two knives but it takes a lot longer! The pastry blender does make things go pretty quickly and a little less messy than using your hands!

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  1. By Vanilla Bean Scones « think liz. on April 15, 2010 at 8:02 am

    […] and with coffee the next morning. If you are unfamiliar with using a pastry blender, I wrote a tutorial on using one awhile back. I was afraid that they would be too sweet, but they surprised me, even […]

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