Because pastry chefs baking pie has already been done, here's a UCLA biophysicist tackling the intricacies of pie-making, using science to explain the best way to a flaky crust. According to scientist Amy Rowat, butter acts as the key ingredient to a perfect crust: Its fat content creates a looser "gluten-protein network," which is usually responsible for creating density between proteins and carbs (like the interior of a loaf of bread.) And because butter "is something that melts at a higher temperature," its water content evaporates into steam, which leaves behind air pockets that create a flakier crust texture. There are also animated diagrams of fat-to-flour ratios and why adding a bit of alcohol can help "prevent the formation of gluten-protein networks." Go, watch the science unfold.
Watch a Scientist Explain the Best Way to Make Pie Crust
A biophysicist breaks down phase transitions at a molecular level.