By venting the steam, docking keeps the dough from billowing or heaving as it bakes. It’s an important step for crisp cookies that are baked all in a single sheet and not cut up until they come out of the oven.
Docking is simple.
Just roll out your pie dough and lift it into the pan. After pressing it in and shaping the edge, prick it all over with a fork. Don’t forget the sides! Do this whenever you need to fully or partially bake the crust before adding the filling.
Docking the crust serves the same purpose as using pie weights, and the two methods can be used interchangeably. Like using pie weights, this is another method used when pre baking a pie crust and is no more complicated than pricking the crust with a fork before baking.
The only time when you might want to use pie weights instead of docking is when the filling is very liquidy, as with quiche or other pies that will be fully baked in the oven.
In these cases, some bakers feel that the liquid can seep into the holes left by docking and make the crust soggy.
How to Dock a Pie Crust
The holes made by the fork or docking tool will fill up when the pastry bakes, so you don’t have to worry about the filling leaking through the crust to the pie pan below.
Be sure not to make the holes too big, as they should be large enough to vent the steam from the pie, but not so big that the holes tear the pastry apart.
Dock Your Pie In Two Simple Steps
Roll out your pie dough.
After you’ve rolled out the dough you can prick holes into it so that the steam escapes while it’s baking.
Press the dough into the pan. Once it’s ready, shape the edge by pricking it around with a fork, including the sides. You can also change up this method by using pie weights, which serves the same purpose.
Bubbles Aren’t the Worst Thing
Docking is helpful for tart crusts, crackers, pizza, flatbreads, and more.
Without docking, it’s true that cracks in the dough can lead to leaks, and leaks can create a messy end product and a hazard in the kitchen.
Other times, however, it just creates some bubbles in the dough. Some culinary experts believe that “bubbles are extra points.” A toasted bubble doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can create character, expansion, and a perfectly edible bite.
Dock If It Makes Sense
Whether or not to use docking technique depends on the desired end result and is most prevalent in baking.
Even pet treats are docked before they’re baked.
I don’t dock when I make my Perfect Fall Apple Pie. But I do slice a star on top.
Make sure to make incisions in the surface of your crusts, breads, and rolls before baking so that the dough rises just the way you need it to for your recipe. Learn how to make a delicious butter pastry crust from scratch for a sweet and savory pie. I use this All Butter Pastry Dough.