This flaky all butter sourdough pie crust will take your Thanksgiving and Christmas pies to the next level. If you prefer savory pies and tarts, this recipe makes an amazing sourdough quiche crust or base for any savory tart.
My sourdough pie crust recipe is based on a traditional all-butter pastry or pâte brisée. I have substituted sourdough starter for part of the flour and all of the liquid.
For this recipe to work, it is important that you are using sourdough starter that is kept at 100% hydration. This means that your starter is fed with equal parts flour and water, by weight.
If you have been feeding your starter with a ratio of one cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water, then you are basically keeping it at 100% hydration because one cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water weigh close to the same amount. It will be close enough that it should work fine in this recipe.
If you have a starter that you routinely feed with a different ratio of flour to water, you can bring it to 100% hydration by feeding it a few times with equal parts flour and water, by weight.
For example, a cup of sourdough starter weighs about 9 ounces. If you use a cup of starter for pancakes or biscuits then you would feed your starter with 4 1/2 ounces (127 g) of flour and 4 1/2 ounces (127 g) of water. Do this a couple more times and your starter will be pretty close to 100% hydration and ready to go.
If you need me to clarify any of this, please leave a comment! If you don’t yet have a sourdough starter, learn how to make one here.
If you don’t own a kitchen scale and you are new to playing with sourdough, I would definitely invest in one soon. It will make your life so much easier and open you up to lots of wonderful bread recipes that rely on weight rather than volume measurements.
My favorite everyday digital scale is this one by Escali. (You’ll see it in the photos below.) I bought mine when I was living in Sicily and I have used it almost daily for 10 years without having to replace it!
I also love this bigger scale by OXO. The display pulls out so you can see it even if you are weighing something in a big bowl, which is really nice! Although I use both, I definitely keep my little red Escali scale on the counter and reach for it most often.
Okay, now that you know your starter is at the proper hydration for this recipe, you’ll also want to make sure that it has been fed recently and then chilled in the refrigerator. As long as you have fed it within a week, the flavor will be perfect for this sourdough pie crust.
If it has been longer than a week between feedings, feed it the day before or a few days before you want to make the pie dough and keep it in the refrigerator overnight to ensure that the starter is well chilled.
The longer the starter goes between feedings, the stronger the flavor gets. In the sourdough biscuits or pancakes, it’s fine to use sourdough starter that has been hanging out in the fridge for longer than a week. But in this pie crust recipe, you really don’t want the flavor to be too strong, especially when using it for sweet pies.
And one last thing. I make this pie dough in a food processor so that’s how I’m going to teach you to do it.
Yes, it can be made by hand and I have done it that way, but it is faster and easier in the food processor. This is the method I have settled on after making this pie crust several times over the last few years.
If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a pastry blender to work the butter and sourdough starter into the flour.
Okay, now we’re ready to make sourdough pie crust!
First, slice up your butter. Once it’s sliced, put it back into the refrigerator or stick it in the freezer for a few minutes. You want the butter to stay very cold!
Measure out 8 ounces (227 g) of your sourdough starter. If you don’t have a digital scale yet, measure out a scant cup of sourdough starter.
Next, measure out 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour. If measuring by weight this is 187 grams or 6.6 ounces.
To the flour, add a tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of table salt.
Put all the dry ingredients in the food processor.
Pulse to combine the flour, sugar, and salt.
Distribute the cold butter evenly over the top of the flour.
Pulse until the butter breaks up into small chunks. The smaller pieces should be around the size of peas with some larger pieces mixed in.
You don’t want to chop the butter up too much because it will continue to get worked in during the next step.
Spread the sourdough starter over the top of the flour/butter mixture.
Pulse until the mixture just starts to clump together a bit. You should still be able to see the butter pieces, although they will be smaller.
The dough should feel like it will come together if you pinch it with your fingers.
Dump the crumbly mess out into a large bowl or on a pastry board or countertop. I like to use a big bowl to kind of contain it all in one spot.
Using your hands, quickly work the dough together into one big mass. It should stick together pretty easily.
If for some reason your dough is very crumbly and won’t hold together at all, sprinkle a tablespoon of ice cold water over the top and toss together then try again.
I have never had to add water, but if the hydration of your sourdough starter was off, this is a possibility. Just add cold water in small amounts until you can get the dough together.
Divide the dough into two equal pieces. I use a bench scraper for this.
Take one of the pieces and shape it into a disc on a piece of plastic wrap.
Press it out a bit and wrap it in the plastic.
Repeat. Now put your discs of pie dough in the refrigerator to rest or place them in a freezer bag and put them in the freezer to use within a few months.
At this point, you can use your sourdough pie crust for one double crust or two single crust pies or quiches, using either 9- or 10-inch pie plates. I think the sourdough flavor pairs best with apple, peach, cherry, and lemon pies.
I will be using this batch of sourdough pie dough for my lemon cream pie and will be sharing that recipe later this week! I’ll include photos and instructions for rolling out the dough and blind baking a crust along with that recipe.
In the meantime, I’ve added links to some pie recipes that I think would be delicious with a sourdough crust. Scroll down past the recipe to find them!
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Pie and Quiche Recipes: