Why Does My Premade Pie Crust Shrink?

Baking a pie can be a perfect end to any meal, but it can also be incredibly frustrating when the crust shrinks. There’s nothing quite as disappointing as pulling your pie out of the oven and seeing that the crust has shriveled up and left you with a disfigured dessert.

Luckily, the reason for this common problem is simple: the dough is not given enough time to rest. In this article, we will explore why giving pie crusts adequate resting time is crucial to prevent them from shrinking.

Gluten and Resting Time

Premade Pie Crust Shrink

Pie crusts are notorious for shrinking during baking, resulting in a less-than-perfect appearance and a less-than-perfect tasting dessert. The main reason that pie crusts shrink is due to the gluten in the dough, and the fact that it is not given enough time to “rest”.


Gluten is a protein found in wheat flour that gives dough its elasticity and helps it to hold its shape. When making pie crusts, the dough is typically worked and manipulated until it reaches a consistency that is the right mix of tender and flaky.

But if the dough isn’t given adequate time to rest, the gluten is not able to relax and will seek to contract, causing the dough to shrink during baking.

Resting Time

Resting time is a crucial step in the pie dough-making process. Resting allows the dough to rest after being shaped and cut, which gives the gluten time to relax.

During this time, the gluten strands in the dough will gradually unwind and loosen, making it easier for the dough to keep its shape during baking. When the rest period is skipped, the gluten strands become too tightly wound, and the dough will shrink as it bakes.

Not resting dough can have disastrous effects on the final product. If the gluten in the dough is too tight, the pie crust will be tough and unappetizing. Additionally, without enough time to rest, the dough will continue to shrink and pull away from the edges of the pan, making it difficult to add fillings and resulting in an unattractive presentation.

Resting time is critical in the pie dough-making process, as it allows gluten to relax, which will prevent shrinking during baking. By allowing enough resting time, bakers can achieve an optimal consistency and appearance in their pie crusts, resulting in a delicious and visually appealing dessert.

Rolling Out the Dough

Pie crust is an important aspect of the pie as it provides the base and texture for the entire dessert. However, many people struggle with pie crust because it can be difficult to get right.

One of the most common problems that people face is that their pie crust shrinks when it is baked. This can be frustrating and can ruin the appearance and texture of the pie.

Not Given Adequate Time to Rest

The main reason that pie crusts shrink is that the dough is not given adequate time to rest. Resting time allows the gluten to relax, which is a critical point in the pie dough process.

The gluten needs to relax so that it does not shrink during baking. If the dough is not allowed to rest, the gluten will be stretched and will snap back when it is baked, causing the crust to shrink.

Things to Keep in Mind

When it comes to rolling out the pie dough, there are some important things to keep in mind. First, make sure that the dough is chilled and not too warm. If the dough is too warm, it will be more difficult to handle and will not roll out properly.

Second, use a light touch when rolling out the dough. If you press too hard, you will stretch the gluten and the dough will shrink during baking.

Some Common Mistakes

There are also some common mistakes that people make when rolling out pie dough that can cause the crust to shrink. One of these is using too much flour on the rolling surface.

While it is important to flour the surface so that the dough does not stick, too much flour can dry out the dough and cause it to shrink. Another mistake is rolling the dough too thin in certain areas.

This can cause the crust to bake unevenly and can lead to shrinkage.

Uneven Crust Thickness

An uneven crust thickness can also cause shrinkage. If the edges of the crust are too thin, they will bake faster than the rest of the crust and can shrink. To prevent this, make sure that the edges are not too thin and that they are rolled out evenly with the rest of the crust.

Pie crust shrinkage can be prevented by giving the dough adequate time to rest, using a light touch when rolling out the dough, avoiding common mistakes, and ensuring that the crust is rolled out evenly.

By following these tips, you can make a beautiful, flaky pie crust that does not shrink during baking.

Pre-baking the Crust

Pie crusts can be tricky to make, but with the right techniques and steps, they can turn out beautifully.

Shrinking During the Baking Process

One common problem with pie crusts is shrinking during the baking process, which can lead to an unattractive and uneven crust. Adequate resting time for the dough is critical to prevent shrinking, and pre-baking the crust is another important step in achieving a perfect pie.

The purpose of pre-baking a pie crust is to partially cook it before adding the filling. This is especially important for pies with moist or heavy fillings, as it will help prevent the crust from becoming soggy.

Pre-baking also helps to set the structure of the crust, which is especially important for pies with fragile fillings, such as custards or cream pies.

Properly Pre-bake a Pie Crust

To properly pre-bake a pie crust, start by rolling out the dough to the desired size and shape. Place it into the pie dish, trimming any excess dough around the edges.

Next, prick the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork to allow steam to escape during baking. This will prevent the crust from puffing up or bubbling.

Next, line the crust with parchment paper or aluminum foil and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. The weights will help keep the crust from shrinking and puffing up during baking.

Bake the crust in a preheated oven at 375°F for 15-20 minutes, or until it is lightly golden brown. Remove the weights and parchment or foil, and continue baking the crust for another 5-10 minutes, or until it is fully cooked and golden brown.

It is important to avoid over or under pre-baking the crust, as this can lead to problems with the final product. Under-baking the crust can result in a soggy bottom, while over-baking can lead to a dry and hard crust.

It is best to check the crust frequently while baking to ensure it is cooking evenly and to avoid these issues.

Pre-baking a pie crust takes a bit of time and effort, but it is well worth it for a perfectly cooked pie. With these tips and techniques in mind, you can create a beautiful and delicious dessert that will impress your family and guests.

Oven Temperature

The oven temperature is a critical element when it comes to cooking or baking. The temperature largely determines the outcome of the recipe. The temperature influences the cooking time, texture, color, and taste of the food being prepared.

Therefore, it becomes crucial to know and maintain the right oven temperature while cooking.

How to Properly Set Oven Temperature

To ensure that the oven is at the correct temperature, it is advisable to use an oven thermometer besides the built-in indicator. The oven thermometer should be placed inside the oven before preheating.

Preheating the oven to the desired temperature is a crucial step that should not be skipped. Preheating the oven helps to ensure that the temperature is consistent throughout the cooking time.

Effects of High or Low Oven Temperature

High or low oven temperature can significantly affect the outcome of the recipe. If the oven temperature is too high, the food will cook too quickly, resulting in a burnt exterior and an undercooked interior.

On the other hand, if the oven temperature is too low, the food will take too long to cook resulting in dry and tough food.

The effects of oven temperature on baked goods are also significant. If the oven temperature is too high, the baked goods will rise too fast and collapse before setting, resulting in a dense texture.

If the oven temperature is too low, the baked goods will not rise enough, resulting in a dense and heavy texture.

Maintaining the right oven temperature is also crucial when it comes to food safety. Cooking at the right temperature ensures that harmful bacteria are killed, making the food safe to eat.

The oven temperature plays a significant role in the outcome of the recipe, and therefore it is important to maintain the right temperature throughout the cooking process.

With proper preheating, the right temperature, and an oven thermometer, the food can be cooked to perfection.

Does Freezing Pie Crust Keep It From Shrinking?

Freezing pie crust can prevent shrinking and slumping. Dough should be frozen for at least an hour or overnight. Freezing makes the dough more firm and stable. It reduces the likelihood of the crust losing shape.

Freezing the dough before baking is a common practice. Parchment paper can be used to line the dough. Appropriately weighing and distributing pie weights is necessary.

Baking with frozen dough requires no additional thawing time.

Properly baked pie crusts are golden brown with crisp edges. Cold dough must rest at room temperature before it can be rolled out or shaped.

Why Does My Dough Keep Shrinking?

If your homemade pizza dough keeps shrinking, there may be an issue with the gluten network. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, plays a crucial role in the texture of dough.

Overworking the dough or using too much flour can create an overly strong gluten network.

A strong gluten network can cause the dough to retract or shrink when stretched or rolled out. This can be frustrating when trying to create a perfectly shaped and sized pizza.

One solution is to allow the dough to proof for longer, giving the gluten time to relax.

Bringing the dough to room temperature before shaping can also help relax the gluten. The cold dough can cause the gluten to tighten up, making it more challenging to work with.

Dough that is properly proofed and at room temperature should be easier to shape without shrinking.

Experiment with different techniques to find the best way to achieve the perfect pizza dough consistency.

Is It Ok to Use Premade Pie Crust?

  1. The Controversy over Premade Pie Dough: There has been debate about whether using premade pie dough is acceptable or not. Some people consider it cheating and feel that a homemade pie crust is necessary for a truly delicious pie.
  2. The Advantages of Using Premade Pie Crust: Using premade pie dough can save time and effort in the kitchen. It can also produce a consistent and reliable result, especially for those who are not confident in their pie crust making skills.
  3. The Quality of Premade Pie Dough: While the quality of premade pie dough varies by brand, many options taste just as good as homemade. It’s important to read reviews and try out different brands to find one that you like.
  4. Using Premade Pie Dough for Convenience: For busy lifestyles or those with limited time, premade pie dough can make it easier to bake a pie. It also allows for flexibility in flavor combinations, as it can be paired with any filling.

It’s Up to You – Ultimately, whether to use premade pie dough or make it from scratch is a personal choice. There is no shame in using premade dough, and it’s perfectly acceptable to do so.

To Recap

There are several reasons why a premade pie crust may shrink:

  • The dough is not given adequate time to rest, which allows the gluten to relax and prevents shrinking.
  • Overworking the dough can activate the gluten, causing the pie crust to become firm and shrink in the oven.
  • Evaporation of water during baking can cause the crust to shrink.

To prevent shrinking, it is recommended to avoid overworking the dough, let it rest adequately, and avoid tight gluten strands. Additionally, letting refrigerated crusts stand at room temperature or microwaving them before unrolling can help.

So the next time you bake a pie, make sure to schedule enough time to let the dough rest before baking. With the proper preparation, you can ensure that your pies come out looking perfect every time.

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