How To Use A Rolling Pin Properly

This baking tool can prove to be useful and handy.
topshot of someone's hands rolling out a dough

For beginner and aspiring bakers, you may think that you will never need a rolling pin, especially if you love baking cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. Even if you do need one, using an alternative tool for this seeming unitasking tool is practical. However, if you plan on baking any dish that needs a crust or cut-out cookies for a holiday, you may want to have this useful tool on hand. 

There are two kinds of rolling pins: the traditional rolling pin and the French dowel. These two rolling pins are different in the shape of the pin. It can also be either a roller or a rod.

Here are the two types of rolling pins you may find on the market: 

different rolling pins lined up on a wooden table
The traditional rolling pin has handles on each end while the French rolling pin, also known as a dowel, is a long piece of wood, either straight or tapered. Both are used to roll dough out evenly.
Photo by Shutterstock

1 Traditional Rolling Pin

A traditional rolling pin is typically a rod with handles on each end to easily grip the rolling pin. The traditional type of rolling pin can also be a roller where the handles are separately attached from the center roller. This is so that the roller can move and roll independently of the handles as it is held firmly in hand.


2 French Rolling Pin

A French rolling pin is a rod without handles. It’s basically a long wooden rod with straight sides from end to end and is also known as a dowel. Another kind of French rolling pin is the tapered version. This is useful for creating and rolling out round or circular pieces of dough since it can easily pivot from its center to create perfectly rolled-out dough rounds. 

Now that you know the different kinds of rolling pins, this is how to use it properly: 

  1. 1 Lightly flour the work surface you will be working on to prevent sticking. (Alternatively, place your liner, whether parchment paper, plastic wrap, or silicone mat, on the work surface.) 
  2. 2 Lightly flour your rolling pin and rub the flour all over the roller portion of the pin to prevent sticking.
  3. 3 Place dough to be rolled out onto the center of the working surface. 
  4. 4 Place your rolling pin on the center of the dough, with your hands on each end. 
  5. 5 Roll the pin away from you. Return the rolling to the center, where you started, then roll towards you. Apply a firm but light and even pressure throughout the roll. 
  6. 6 Remove the pin and turn the dough 90 degrees clockwise. If sticking, lightly flour underneath the dough as well the rolling pin as necessary. (If using a liner, turn the liner.) 
  7. 7 Repeat Step 5 and 6, rolling away then toward you and turning the dough, as many times as needed to evenly roll out the dough to the desired thickness and diameter. (If needed, chill the dough for at least 10 minutes if the dough becomes too soft to handle or rest the dough 30 minutes if the dough is too elastic to roll out.)
  8. 8 Once rolled out, proceed with the recipe as directed. 

It’s a lot of steps to remember and follow, but the methodical process of rolling out dough will result in perfectly lined pie plates, evenly baked pizza crusts, and flakey pastel and chicken pot pie crusts. 


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Want to test your newfound skills? Here are recipes to try: 

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Alfajores (Shortbread Cookies) Recipe

Basic Sugar Cookies Recipe

Classic Egg Pie Recipe


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