Let’s talk rolling pins. Today there are so many different shapes and sizes of rolling pins all made from different materials and all weighing different amounts. Spending an hour on the baking isle in the kitchen store staring at a wall and muttering to yourself about which pin goes with which dough can get you some strange looks (I would know!). Because of this, when I was in culinary school I became fascinated with rolling pins-collecting them, conducting experiments with different kinds of dough versus pins, even going as far as hanging a giant one on the wall in my kitchen...my husband is a saint.
After all the frenzy of collecting and obsessing over rolling pins, I have narrowed it down to my favorites. These are my go-tos and have pride of place on my kitchen counter; you never know when the need to knead will strike!
Let’s start with the traditional rolling pins you see everywhere. They are usually made of some sort of wood and have a middle “pin” around a dowel with two handles on either side. These are classic because they do an average job for most doughs. With a little arm strength they will get you through cookie dough or chilled dough and with a little more flour they will navigate well through those sticky southern biscuits. I would say that if you can only have one rolling pin in your kitchen because your not obsessed like me, this would be it. I have found, however, that these are the best pins for ...playdough. For the kids. That is it.
These pins are called French rolling pins and are by far my favorite. I have titled this section “Frenchie” because that is what I call mine at home. She has been with me the longest of all my rolling pins. They are characterized by a long single piece of wood that is tapered on either side and thickest in the middle. These pins are especially great for those control freaks out there, like myself, that want to control the amount of pressure that is put on the dough. Because there are no handles on the sides, you have to roll from the middle with the palms of your hands and the pressure that is placed on the dough is entirely under your control. My homemade biscuits are a thing of legend in our family and they require the bare minimum of rolling. The less they are touched, the fluffier they are. I use this rolling pin every time I make biscuits or have a sensitive dough that requires little pressure.
These are all the rage in the decorative cookie and fondant scene. They are long with a standardized girth and usually come with bands on the end that guide you on the thickness of rolled out dough. The best part about this rolling pin is the way the acrylic material reacts with the dough. When I make my cut-out sugar cookies I always use my acrylic pin. Other rolling pins will cause the dough to heat up faster and stick easier. I like to use the acrylic because the dough separates easily from the surface of the pin without having to be floured every turn. It also evens out my dough and ensures that my cookies come out level and flat on the surface, which makes for a pretty iced top. It works the same way on fondant as well.
This is a heavy rolling pin that is form over function for me. It sits on my counter because it looks pretty, not because I use it all that often. Its best application is with a temperature-controlled dough, such as pie or laminate. You can place it in the freezer for a couple of minutes before use and it will keep the fat in your dough chilled while rolling, which makes it great for my pie dough. I also use it when pre-rolling pasta because of the pressure required with pasta dough. The weight lends a hand with the tough dough, but since it is hard on the wrist, it is not my everyday staple. However, it’s super cute and makes for a great baked good photo op!
I hope this helped you pick out a good pin for that upcoming baking project! Let me know if you have any questions; I'd be happy to help!