You May Want To Start Adding Vinegar To Your Pie Dough. Here's Why

Is there any dessert more delicious than pie? Sure, we love cookies, cake, ice cream, and brownies as much as the next person, but there's just something about a golden-crusted pie brimming with fruit or custard that makes us weak in the knees.

Pie is one of those desserts that, once you nail it, is fairly easy to make. But it does require learning some tips and tricks along the way, most of those aimed at the sometimes challenging task of producing a tender, flaky crust — not a tough, brittle dough. Among the methods pastry chefs use to create a bomb pie crust are, variously, using ice water to bind it, using plenty of cold fat such as butter or lard, and chilling the dough before rolling it out into the pie pan (via The Spruce Eats). Another tip we learned about crafting a beautiful crust? A little vinegar tipped into the ingredients.

Using vinegar for a tasty pie crust

A fair share of bakers seem to agree on the addition of one unexpected ingredient to their pie crust recipes: vinegar. According to Martha Stewart, vinegar is believed to tenderize pie crust by inhibiting the formation of gluten; to keep the dough from oxidizing, which yields a browner crust; and to simply add a nice bit of flavor. As noted in the article, there isn't straightforward scientific evidence for any of these assumptions, but some people still swear by the vinegar addition.

Let's look at the gluten theory. Some bakers say that including vinegar in a pie dough will help prevent the formation of gluten, which starts to form as soon as the water and flour are combined. Since gluten produces a sturdy, tough dough as opposed to a tender crust, inhibiting this process is said to yield a better dessert (via Martha Stewart). However, the theory doesn't seem to hold weight scientifically. Nonetheless, a lot of bakers still go for the vinegar.

"The addition of vinegar to pie dough was originally thought to tenderize the gluten ... but there isn't any good scientific evidence proving that it makes a difference," said Lisa Ludwinski, owner of Detroit's Sister Pie bakery. "We keep it in our recipe for its tangy flavor and our respect for tradition."

If your curiosity is piqued, you can try stirring ½ to 1 teaspoon of white or cider vinegar into the ice water used in your favorite pie crust recipe. Happy experimenting!