Rolling pins

debrak2008December 26, 2013

I have Christmas cash to spend and want a new rolling pin.

My basic need is one with those rings so that I can roll dough evenly and to the right thickness. The rings you can buy I am concerned will not fit correctly on my old wood rolling pin. Some say the rings stretch out so I thought a new rolling pin with rings would be the way to go. DH suggested SS so the dough doesn't stick??? So many I am looking at don't have handles. Sorry but I don't understand how or why you would want a roller without handles. Trying to make things easier not harder.

Since I have never bought a rolling pin in my life (using one from my mother which is many years old), I need your advice.

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I bought those rings and they fit perfectly on my old rolling pins, and some are very old, like yours, they belonged to my mother.

I find those rings useful for all sorts of things, too. Very handy.

Mine are the Wilton rings.

I've learned I have to flour up my rolling pin before I roll, otherwise the dough sticks, I'm not sure it wouldn't stick to a SS rolling pin, though this one claims to be non-stick. And this one does too.

Happy baking

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 1:10PM
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Learn something new every day.
Never heard of rings for rolling pins, or as this person, Debbie Davis, calls her patented system a "depth measuring rolling pin".

I found it amusing watching her roll out and cut biscuits. Someone should tell her that you don't twist and turn the biscuit cutter. And that a little dusting of flour would go a long way to stopping her dough sticking to her pin.


Here is a link that might be useful: Depth Measuring Rolling Pin with Rings.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 4:06PM
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Like Ann mentioned I saw someone on tv twist and turn the cutter when she made biscuits. Can't remember who it was now, but I know not to twist the seals the edges, in that the biscuits won't rise.

I had the urge for a french rolling pin a couple of years ago and I bought it. I love it. It's long and easy to use.

I've never seen or heard of rings to measure the thickness. I'm not sure when I would use them. Pie crust is thin, would the ring be think enough, or would you not use it for pie dough.

I like a thick biscuit dough and just pat it out vs rolling it.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 9:04AM
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For sugar cookies often the recipe will say roll out to 1/4" or such. I am not good at estimating and tend to roll out too thin and uneven. I've had other recipes for baked goods that called for a certain thickness.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 9:10AM
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I use a rolling pin that's long and straight, about an inch in diameter, and rounded at the ends - like a short broom handle, sort of. I find it much easier to use than my rolling pin with handles. I just lay my hands on the top of it and push it gently from the center of the dough to the outside. I have a rolling pin with handles that's cute, the handles are red, but it doesn't roll evenly. I think the handles got bent or something. It's more of a decoration than a tool.

I have no idea, actually, where my straight rolling pin came from. I just don't remember - probably an estate sale.


    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 9:38AM
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I've noticed the 'rings' before. Some are just thick rubber band type things...doubt would last very long. I'm not sure it's a bad thing. Especially when needing help in judgement? Or new at rolling?
I prefer a French style, a solid wood one piece. Just a tried and true method that gets one used to the feel of the dough and getting good at thickness with practice. I've been give gadgets over the years, and try them, but end up back to basics.
A good wooden French long tapered pin made out of hardwood and sanded smooth and not allowed to dry out, kept oiled when storing, is a good friend for years.
Caught my husband using a thick edged drinking glass for biscuits for Thanksgiving...smash and spin, lol. I grabbed a proper tool, showed him a good proper way..."how did you know that!?", "makes sense"..." anne_t taught me". Always listen to anne_t advice, lol.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 12:56PM
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I use a metal soup can to cut biscuits with, lol. Holes punctured at the end to release air pressure.

I didn't think about oiling my french rolling pin, Sleevendog. I don't know why, since I oil my wooden cutting boards.

This post was edited by jasdip on Fri, Dec 27, 13 at 13:51

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 1:50PM
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I just am not good at estimating weight, volume, or any type of measurement. I say why estimate when you can measure precisely!

I think its one of those skills you either have it or you don't. I think it is great that many of you do have this skill.

I'm thinking maybe I should just get some of those rings for less than $10 and try them on the old roller. The worse thing that happens is I have to ditch them and I lose $10.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 2:39PM
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My rolling pin is around 50 years old and I bought it myself. It has the red handles and I love it. I bought the rings several years ago and did use them successfully. However, its been years and I have no idea where they are. I have a pretty good eye for the thickness of whatever I'm rolling out.

Sometime 'way back when, I also bought the wooden one with the tapered ends and really liked it, too. Haven't seen it for years. Might have had it in the first or second RV and DH just put it with all the other stuff he took out of them and put in plastic trash bags out in the storage building. I've lost so many things that he's done that to. Since we're downsizing, he said he's going to start cleaning out the storage building. Guess I'd better be with him when he does that because he indiscriminately tosses stuff out. Gee, I might find all kinds of my treasures out there!


    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 3:42PM
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-Look for an extremely smooth finish whether you choose an American pin that has handles, or a straight or tapered French pin. A very tight grain to the wood (if you choose wood) and a smooth finish. A smooth finish will prevent dough sticking and it should also resist absorption of fats and moisture.

-An American pin should have enough "heft" so it aids in the rolling out without you having to put a lot of "umph" into it to provide the flattening force. French pins are much lighter.

-Check to make sure it has good balance between your hands. Not heavier on one side than the other. If choosing an American pin, you want the handles to be comfortable - about 5-inches long, and the pins total weight to be about 4.5 pounds for a 15-inch length with a 3-inch diameter pin. Mine is a measly 9-3/4-inches with 3-1/4-inch handles. If you have storage space for a 15-inch pin, you will really like not having rolling pin overlap marks on the pastry from using a dinky 9-3/4-inch pin.

-Pins were once only made with hardwoods (commonly maple), but now you have a lot of choices - stainless steel, porcelain, marble, nylon, silicon or polypropylene. Wood is still the hands-down favorite.

-I once had a collection of pins hanging in my kitchen on hand-wrought metal hangers, and now I'm down to three - the classic American pin with two handles which turn independently on steel ball bearings, and is the pin I received as a gift as a new bride in 1971, a French torpedo-shaped pin I got because Chris Kimball said it was the best for rolling out pastry, and a cherry wood noodle cutter pin (which has a rack and hangs on the wall). I do find all three very useful, which is why I got rid of all the others.

-An American pin should move smoothly on the bearings. Today they will have nylon ball bearings, but both stainless steel or nylon bearings should last "forever". It should be heavy enough you don't have to apply a lot of pressure while rolling, but not so heavy and big it's hard to handle or lift.

-French pins are lighter and longer, which really does work well for pastry and cookie dough, and come straight or tapered at the ends in a torpedo shape. Once you are accustomed to using a French pin, you will find them very light and quick. It's kinda' like the difference between the American pin being a pick-up truck (good and sturdy) and a French pin is akin to a sports car (light and swift). The French pin with tapered ends allows you to work in a sweeping arch movement, not just up and down in a straight sweep.

-Classic French pins are made of beechwood, but those made with nylon have all the benefits of wood with the additional hygienic advantage because you are able to scrub them, and some are even dishwasher safe.

-I think you can "feel" the thickness of the dough with French pins better than an American pin, because your hands are much closer to what you are working on. The extra length is also a big PLUS.

-I recommend you have both styles of pins, but if you only get one, get a 15-inch American pin.

-For anyone who makes a lot of pastry, if you ever see a set of Perfect-A-Crust pie crust molds, snatch them up. They are plastic colored rings (each size is a different color) for forming and cutting 8-, 9- and 10-inch pies. The perfect size and the perfect thickness. Beats the heck out of the rubber bands you attach to the end of an American pin.

Some quality brand names:

-Matfer Wooden & Nylon French rolling pins
-J.K. Adams Tapered rolling pin
-Thorpe (American) rolling pin


    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 7:13AM
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I have one rolling pin and have had the same one for over 34 years. It is a french pin with the tapered ends. It is all I need.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 9:40AM
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Due to limited practice I'm not great at rolling dough out to a desired uniform thickness. But I'm worse at keeping "rubber bands" from scoring my dough into a smaller usable sheet than they already limit you to by design. Don't let your mind wander for a split second!

Ann - LMAO at that video! That sticking dough should have been the black and white "torturous old way clip" not part of the sales pitch!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 11:02AM
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No kidding. I certainly wouldn't be buying her product based on that video.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 11:19AM
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I liked the question, "A quarter of an inch, what is that?" Couldn't one merely look at a ruler, if in question?

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 11:43AM
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Well it might seem simple to just measure with a ruler but you would need to measure all around and also in the middle. I have rolled out cookie dough many times thinking it was all even only to find it was much thinner on one side than the other or thicker in the middle.

Cooking is only fun to me if it is fairly easy. Once things get too complicated its no longer fun. Since I have been having this issue forever I doubt I will suddenly develop the natural talent to roll out dough to the exact thickness needed in recipes.

I don't understand the concept of the torpedo shaped rolling pin. Would that just add to the unevenness?

grainlady, thank you for the info on rolling pins. I always thought they were all the same! but I again I never purchased one.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 12:25PM
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I started out with a "standard" American pin, short and lightweight, but years ago in a second-hand shop in Julian, CA (known for apple pies!), I found the American pin grainlady was describing. It's a Thorpe with metal ball bearings. It has some weight, is long, already well seasoned and smooth as silk, and my favorite feature, if you hold it up by both handles and reach a finger over to spin it, it just spins smoothly, quietly forever. Rolling out a pie crust is child's play with this pin.

A suggestion for those who don't like the band-type spacers because they limit the size of your dough and can score it, I have used various sized wood strips from the hardware store alongside my dough. As long as your rolling pin is long enough to rest between two strips it works well, but it does have limitations, too.

I'm enjoying this discussion, so carry on!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 1:40PM
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A friend came over to visit and I showed her my rolling pin. She bakes a lot of pastry and did not like my pin. Said it was too short in length of the pin, the handles, and in diameter. I measured it and it sounds like the one grainlady has (not the one she recommends). I also remembered that my teenaged DD has a fondant roller. It is long, no handles, short diameter. Like a french pin. (She has her own drawer in the kitchen with baking supplies.)

So now the plan is to get a larger american pin like the one grainlady recommends (hopefully one with rings included) If I ever feel the need for a french pin I can get out the fondant roller.

I'll post a photo of what I end up with! Thank you all for the posts. This has been quite the learning experience.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 11:11AM
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I have the rings and they work great. Even after a number of years, only using them a few times a year, they haven't dried out or cracked. They're a life safer for someone like me who only does cut out cookies or pie crusts occasionally.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 6:06PM
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When I posted, I had forgotten you asked about pins. I guess I've always just winged it, and not worried about evenness. I never knew you could get rings to help with height. I'm intrigued now.

I saw an episode of Top Chef where a contestant wanted to make empanadas, but didn't have access to a rolling pin for the dough. She bought a large bottle of wine and used that for her rolling pin. She ended up winning that day's competition for the dough she made. I found it amusing.


    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 7:37AM
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Update: I can't find a rolling pin I want with rings included. Upon hearing my dilemma DH suggested he could make wood strips in whatever sizes I want.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 1:59PM
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You can get wooden dowels (round or square) at most hardware or hobby stores in a variety of sizes to use instead of the rings. I ordered my set of rings from King Arthur, and the sheet included in the package has this name and address.

3C Systems, Inc.
P.O. Box 23
Wynnewood, PA 19096

1/16" - thin pie dough
1/8" - cookies, etc.
1/4" - puff pastry, etc.
3/8" - biscuits, etc.


    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 3:36PM
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