Rubbing Butter into Flour
When making pastry, such as a shortcrust, by hand make sure you only use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour. Avoid using the whole of your hands as the palm is the warmest part and can melt the butter which, in turn, may cause your finished pastry to be heavy and tough. Rub the butter chunks briefly between your fingertips, breaking it into smaller pieces while coating with the flour rather than rubbing them together. Also, keep the palms of your hands facing upwards, as this will help with the action of breaking up the butter chunks, and lift the mixture high out of the bowl as this will aerate the mixture and help give it a light texture when baked. This is a great technique to keep in mind when making scones and pastry.