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Alcohol in Baking

By Cook's Illustrated Published July 2012

Does any of the vodka in the Foolproof Pie Dough recipe remain in the baked crust, or does it completely burn off in the oven?

Because alcohol binds with water during cooking, trace amounts will remain in food as long as there’s still moisture. This includes our Foolproof Pie Dough, which we partially moisten with vodka since alcohol—unlike water—does not contribute to gluten development, so you can use more liquid, which in turn leads to a tender, easy-to-roll dough. When we sent a filled, double-crust pie made with the dough to a lab for analysis, it found that 5 percent of the vodka’s alcohol (or about 1/4 teaspoon) remained—far too little for any of its flavor to be detected. In a single crust that was “blind-baked” without filling, the trace amount of alcohol left was too tiny to be measured.

In sum, the alcohol that remains in our Foolproof Pie Dough after baking is minuscule, even if it’s baked with a filling, which gets in the way of alcohol vaporizing.