Yogurt Crust (Wheat or Spelt)



by Cat, August, 2007 (updated September, 2007, June 2008, May 2010)

(Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

I absolutely love this way of making pie crust, and it has the added benefit of  making the minerals and other nutrients in the grain more available by use of yogurt and the overnight soak. The result is very flaky and richly flavored. I prefer to use spelt, as it has more of a nutty flavor than wheat, but both are really good.

The first version uses more yogurt for a nice tart flavor that goes well with savory pies such as mince meat or Lebanese Spinach Pie. The second version uses only a small amount of yogurt and is thus suitable for sweet pies made with fruit or pudding, or lightly-savory quiche.

Yogurt Crust (Presoaked whole grain) Crust Recipes

Although you can use all white flour in these recipes, white flour doesn’t benefit much from a presoak (yogurt), health-wise. Presoaking flour is important for whole grain flour, however, as it begins the breakdown of the toxic lectins present in the bran and germ of the whole grain.

I include two version of the type of crust below.

  • Version 1 is more tart and I highly recommend it for crusts used with savory fillings.
  • Version 2 is less tart and lightly sweet, and when baked, it resembles a cookie crust in flavor and texture. I highly recommend it for sweet pies, tarts and kuchens. I provide variations for different amounts of crust (1- or 2-crust, and different size pans)

Yogurt Pie Crust I

Plain Yogurt

Plain Yogurt

(Photo, left, from Cheesemaking.com (4))

This is an all purpose dough for two 10-inch tart or pie shells, or one 10-inch 2-crust pie, or 8 – 10 individual pocket tarts.  Recipe is from Nourishing Traditions (1).

Spelt poses a special problem because it is water soluble, and with all the yogurt, it makes the dough too soft. The solution is either to use less yogurt of more flour; I prefer to use more flour.


  • 1 cup plain (unsweetened) whole milk yogurt (cream-on-the-top)
  • 1 cup (½ pound or 2 cubes) real butter, softened
  • about 3 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour or 3 cups whole spelt flour (freshly ground is best), plus additional flour as needed
  • 2 tsp Unrefined sea salt
  • unbleached white flour for dusting pastry cloth


  1. Cream yogurt with butter.  Blend in flour and salt. If too moist, add a bit more flour, ½ tsp at a time. If too dry, add a bit of filtered water, 1 tsp at a time.
  2. Cover and leave in a warm place for 12-24 hours (overnight is good).
  3. Dust a pastry cloth with the white flour, then roll out the dough to size
  4. If making a pre-baked tart shell, prick will with a fork and place in cold oven.  Turn heat to 350 degrees and bake 20 – 30 minutes.
    • If making individual pocket tarts (as for spinach or mince pies), divide dough into equal portions.  Roll each to ⅛ inch thick circles.  Fill with filling, then bring up three sides and seal.
    • Bake as instructed in pie recipe.


4/19-20/2014: The 20th is Easter, and I’m roasting a leg of lamb which I like to accompany with Lebanese Spinach Pies. I like using this yogurt crust recipe for those pies but have not made it for some time. This time I’m making a half-recipe and using hard white whole wheat instead of spelt. My spelt version calls for 1 ¾ cup flour for a half-recipe, so I started with 1 ½ cup of whole wheat. It was hard to mix with the ½ cup each yogurt and butter, so I added about 1 Tbsp water and that brought it to the right texture. I’ve updated the recipe (above) appropriately, for a whole recipe (3 cups whole wheat or 3 ½ cups whole spelt). Covered tightly with a sheet of waxed paper around the ball of dough, placed that in the bowl and covered bowl with cloth. It gets cold in the house at night, so I set it on top of a trivet on my pilot-lit stove so that it will not get too hard to work tomorrow.

Yogurt Pie Crust -II

Tarte aux Poires (Pear tarte)

Image, right, is my popular Tarte aux Poires, which uses this pre-soak crust recipe pressed into the quiche pan.

I prefer this version (over previous), adapted from Make a Home Mom (2)(MAHM) blog,  for fruity or other sweet pies. It uses less yogurt, mixed with ice-cold water (so you don’t have to cream the yogurt with butter, which is difficult to do), than the previous recipe.

The recipe is for a 2-crust pie in 9″ pan. See Modifications, below, for other pan sizes and single-crust variations.

This recipe is very similar to regular pie crust recipe, except part of the moisture is from yogurt.  One should use pastry flour, which is a soft wheat flour (less gluten). Spelt flour is more like pastry flour than hard or all-purpose flour, so is a good substitute, and actually, I prefer its nuttier flavor.

When using wheat, start with 3 Tbsp water (you start with less if using spelt); then add more as necessary. Makes one 2-crust set, or crusts for 2 single-crust pies, or about 14 each 4″ rounds for tarts/turnovers. See below for other pan sizes, one-crust ingredients.

MAHM recommends 11th Heaven’s Homemaking Haven blog (3) for a tutorial with pictures (doesn’t include the soaking part).

Ingredients & Equipment for two-crust 9″ pie 

  • 2 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour OR whole spelt flour (freshly ground is best)
  • ¾ tsp Unrefined sea salt
  • ¾ tsp sugar
  • ¼ cup melted butter (or olive oil)
  • ½ cup cold butter or lard, cut in slices or chunks
  • 2 Tbsp homemade yogurt or buttermilk
  • 3 – 7 Tbsp ice water (if using wheat) or 2 – 5 Tbsp if using spelt
  • Equipment:
  • 9″ pie or tart pan
  • mixing bowl
  • pastry cutter or fork


  1. Sift flour, salt and sugar into large bowl
  2. Stir in melted butter (or oil), then cut in cold butter/lard with pastry cutter, until pieces are small and mostly uniform ‘pea-size’.
  3. Mix yogurt and 3 Tbsp ice water (if using wheat) or 2 Tbsp (if using spelt), then mix into flour/butter mixture, adding more ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, if necessary. Don’t overmix, but it should form a ball.
  4. Cover with waxed paper and let rest on counter in a cool spot overnight (12 hours or so, 60 – 68°F).
    • NOTE: if your kitchen gets too cool at night, the dough may be hard to roll out or press into a pan. I set the covered bowl on a trivet or rack placed on my pilot-lit gas griddle (turned off). Another option is to place it in a pilot-lit oven (turned off), or any other oven at the lowest setting. This warming keeps the butter in the dough from getting too hard.
  5. Optional: when ready to use, I warm it up slightly (to soften the butter, making it easier to roll-out or press into the pan) by setting the bowl on a rack placed on top of my pilot-lit gas griddle (turned off). Another option is to place it in a pilot-lit oven (turned off), or any other oven at the lowest setting.
  6. Roll out on well-floured surface or waxed paper. If dough is too soft (too moist), use a bit of coconut flour for rolling. Alternately, press dough into pan(s); I prefer pressing dough into pan for my Tarte aux Poires recipe and for tarte-like Kuchens.

Testing for 9″ 2-crust 

Tested 6/21/10: Made half recipe, with mix of spelt, oat and barley. Easy to make, good flavor and rolls nicely. See Testing Details, below.

Yogurt Crust II: Modifications for different size crusts

Unless otherwise noted, these versions use spelt flour; if using wheat flour, add more warm water for the presoak.

Round pans

My small 7.5” round ceramic pie pan 

  • 2-crust: 1 ⅓ cup whole grain flour (or ⅔ cup whole, ⅓ c white), ½ tsp salt, 7 ½ – 8 Tbsp total butter (2 ½ – 3 Tbsp melted, 4 ½ – 5 Tbsp cold), 1 tbsp yogurt,  2 – 2 ½ Tbsp warm water (or more if using wheat) [NOTE ingredient amounts modified per Rhubarb Custard pie testing, 6/8/12.]
  • single crust: ¾  cup whole grain flour (or ½ cup whole, 2 Tbsp white), scant ¼ tsp salt, 5  Tbsp total butter (1 Tbsp melted, 3½ Tbsp cold), 2 tsp yogurt, ½ Tbsp warm water (or more if using wheat) [not tested]

8″ round pie pan 

  • 2-crust: not available yet
  • single-crust: ¾ cup whole grain flour (or ½ cup whole, ¼ cup white), ¼ tsp salt, 5 Tbsp total butter (1 ½ Tbsp  melted, 3 ½ Tbsp cold), 1 Tbsp yogurt, ½ Tbsp warm water (or more if using wheat) [tested 10/4/16 for Tarte aux Poires]

9″ round pie pan

  • single-crust: 1 ¼ cups whole grain flour (or 1 cup whole, ¼ cup white), ⅜ tsp salt, ⅜ tsp Rapadura (optional), 6 Tbsp total butter (2 Tbsp melted, 4 Tbsp cold), 1 Tbsp yogurt, 1-2 Tbsp warm water (or more if using wheat)
  • 2-crust (see above): 2 ½ cups whole grain flour (or 2 cup whole, ½ cup white), ¾ tsp salt, ¾ tsp Rapadura (optional), ¾ cup total butter (¼ cup melted, ½ cup cold), 2 Tbsp yogurt, 3 – 7 Tbsp water (if using wheat) (or 2 – 5 Tbsp if using spelt)
  • single + lattice top crust: 2 cups whole spelt (or 1 ½ cup spelt, 1/2 cup white), 1 tsp salt, 10 ½ Tbsp total butter (4 Tbsp melted, 6 ½ Tbsp cold), 1 Tbsp yogurt, 1-2 Tbsp warm water 

10″ round quiche pan (single-crust)

1 ½ cups whole grain spelt flour (or 1 cup whole, ½ cup white), ½ tsp salt, ½ – ¾ tsp Rapadura (optional), 7 Tbsp butter (3 Tbsp melted, 4 Tbsp cold), 1 – 1 ½ Tbsp yogurt, 1 – 3 Tbsp warm water (or more if using wheat)

NOTE: this flour mix uses spelt, so needs less relative moisture than either the 9″ or 9×13″ pan versions. If using wheat flour, will need about 1 Tbsp additional water, Also makes a bit more than needed for the quiche pan, unless you want a thick crust.

Square or Rectangular pans

9″ square pyrex pan (single-crust, press into pan)

  • 1 ½ cups whole grain flour, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp rapadura, 7 Tbsp total butter (3 T melt, 4 T cold), 1 – 1 ½ T yogurt, 1-3 Tbsp warm water.
  • This recipe was tested 4/28/13 using part wheat, part quinoa flour and almond meal, rather than spelt. See Peach Kuchen testingI’ve not tested this with spelt, but it would likely need less water. Start with 2 tsp and add more as needed, 1 tsp at a time.

6” x 8″ pyrex storage pan, with red lid (single crust, press into pan)

Originally tested this size pan for Tarte aux Poires; see also Fruit Kuchens testing for 6×8 pan.

The original estimate was based on 110% of 8″ pie pan recipe above, then adjusted to increase total flour by 2 Tbsp; may need more than 3 Tbsp cold butter (see 11/10-11/19 testing, below); updates in red text:

  •  cup whole grain flour (or ¾ cup whole, 2 Tbsp white plus 1-2 Tbsp white if needed)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp Rapadura, or up to 2 tsp if want it especially sweet (optional),
  • 5 – 5½ Tbsp total butter (2 Tbsp melted, 3 Tbsp cold, + 1 T cold if needed),
  • 1 Tbsp yogurt plus1 – 2 Tbsp warm water

9″ x 13″ pyrex pan (single-crust, press into pan)

Tested 6/21/10; see Peach Kuchen testing.

  • 2 cups whole grain flour (or 1 ½ cup whole, ½ cup white),
  • ½ tsp salt,
  • scant ⅛ tsp stevia or 2 Tbsp Rapadura (optional),
  • 9-11 Tbsp total butter (3 Tbsp melted, 6 – 8 Tbsp cold) [changed from 3 Tbsp melted, 5 Tbsp cold],
  • 2 Tbsp yogurt, 1-2 Tbsp warm water.

Testing details for 9″ 2-crust recipe

Testing 6/20-21/10: Made for small pie, with 3/4 cup spelt, 1/4 cup each barley and oat, 3/8 tsp each salt and sugar, 2 Tbsp melted butter and 1/4 cup cold butter (6 Tbsp total butter). Mixed 1 Tbsp yogurt with 2 Tbsp ice water, but it was too much liquid – spelt doesn’t need as much. So I added 1/4 cup additional spelt and then again, before texture was right (total 1/2 cup extra added). This was probably too much handling. Wrapped in waxed paper for the overnight rest. Next day, pressed it (rather than rolling) into pie pan to make a small berry kuchen (half the Peach or Plum Kuchen recipe). Result: crust is more tender than I thought considering how much I worked it. It was easy to press into pan, too. Nice flavor. Next time, I’ll use original amount of flour but start with only 1 Tbsp water for half recipe (2 Tbsp for full recipe).

Thanksgiving 2010 mishap: I tried making 2 single-crust pies at the same time for Thanksgiving, using my 9″ pie pan and 10″ quiche pan. For the crust I intended to use: 1 3/4 cup whole spelt and 1/2 cup each whole oat & barley flours; 3/4 tsp each salt & sugar, 13 Tbsp butter (1 cube plus 5 Tbsp) and 1.5 Tbsp yogurt mixed with 2 Tbsp water.

The butter was supposed to be 4 T melted and 9 T cold. But I mistakenly melted 1 cube (8 T), and when I mixed it with the dry ingredients, the dough was very “wet.” So I cut in only 4 T cold butter (instead of 5). And I used only 1 Tbsp water with the 1.5 Tbsp yogurt. The dough was very soft so I formed it into a ball and let it rest, thinking all was well.

Outside temps have been hovering below zero, so admittedly my house was probably not as warm as usual. The crust was quite hard to roll out – it kept splitting, leaving cracks. I filled in the cracks, but it was very fragile and impossible to crimp the edges in the pan. I lined the crust with parchment and filled with dry beans for the first baking. When I removed the parchment & beans, pieces of the crimped edge fell off. After the second 10 min bake, tiny cracks formed in the crust as it set. I brushed a bit of egg over the cracks, so the filling wouldn’t leak through.

Conclusion: The crust was nicely crumbly and had good flavor, but if I do 2 pies together next time, I’ll follow instructions and use 4 Tbsp melted butter, then cut in 9 Tbsp cold butter. And I’ll use 2 Tbsp water with the 1.5 Tbsp yogurt. But I’ll probably have the best luck if I mix each crust separately.

Testing details for 9″ x 13″ kuchen

Testing 1/4-5/13: I had been having great success with this recipe since 2010, until August 2012 when I decided to give up grains for 3 weeks to see what would happen when I restarted them; I used a ground almond and coconut flour crust in the meantime. When I made this recipe again after that experiment, it just wasn’t right. It wouldn’t hold together for the overnight rest. I tried adding more water but that made it tough. More butter helped but it still wasn’t right. I used 1 1/2 cups whole spelt and 1/2 cup whole wheat (total 2 cups flour). Sifted with stevia and salt, then worked in 3 Tbsp melted butter followed by 5 Tbsp cold butter (total 1/2 cup) << here is the error – s/b total 12 Tbsp butter (3/4 cup). Mixed 1 Tbsp yogurt with 1 Tbsp cold water and mixed that in but way too dry. I added another 2 Tbsp water, and it sort-of formed a ball but felt dry. Next day it was difficult to press into the pan because it was dry. It baked well and isn’t tough, but I think it could have used more butter. My regular recipe (9” 2-crust) uses 2 cups wheat flour, 1/2 cup butter and 4 Tbsp lard, total 3/4 cup fat, and 4 – 7 Tbsp water.

Testing 1/29-30/2013: for kuchen: This time I used 2 cups flour (1 1/2 c spelt, 1/4 c each kamut and barley), plus stevia and salt as in original; 3 Tbsp melted butter (as b4) and 7 Tbsp cold butter (10 Tbsp total). Felt much better and actually formed a ball readily. It was cold in my kitchen the next morning so dough was stiff and a bit hard to press into pan, but it was not too dry. Filled with peaches & raspberries, then custard for kuchen. Perfect!

Testing details for 6″ x 8″ Tarte aux Poires

Testing 11/10-11/19: My pan comes with a red lid (I will use it for a Tarte aux Poires): Sifted: ⅝ cup whole wheat (½ cup plus 2 Tbsp) and 2 Tbsp unbleached white flour (total ¾ cup flours), ¼ tsp salt, and ½ tsp Rapadura. Cut-in 2 Tbsp melted and 3 Tbsp cold butter (cut into smaller squares). Did not need more cold butter. Mixed together 1 Tbsp each yogurt and cold filtered water. It was a bit too damp and soft so added another 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour, one at a time, mixing with hands. Covered to rest overnight on counterattack 11:15AM. Next day, pressed into pan.  Will use Tarte aux Poires recipe size for 7½ – 8 inch pan size, to finish the tarte. Result: I probably used too many pear-quarters, because the crust wasn’t quite high enough to contain the custard. Perhaps use ¾ cup whole wheat and 2 Tbsp white flour (total ⅞ cup flours); may need a bit more butter. See Tarte aux Poires testing 10/11-12/19 for final result.


  1. Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig
  2. Make a Home Mom (MAHM) recipe (makeahomemom.blogspot.com/2009/09/soaked-pie-crust-recipe.html)
  3. 11th Heaven’s Homemaking Haven blog (rtheyallyours.blogspot.com/2006/09/tackling-shortening-free-pie-crust.htm)
  4. Cheesemaking.com (cheesemaking.com/store/p/164-Yogurt-Bulgarian-1-packet.html

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