Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pies and Tarts Part 2 - How to Roll Dough

Lots of people are afraid to roll dough, and for good reason – without the proper equipment, it's hard to do! Typically one would roll dough out from the center, in all directions, until the dough would be the thickness desired. Oftentimes the dough would stick to the pastry board or counter or to the rolling pin. The dough had to be the perfect texture and wetness for the dough to roll easily and well. And getting it even throughout was an anxiety attack waiting to happen. The process was especially difficult for those who only made pastry once in awhile, but wasn't easy even for a seasoned pastry maker. For the last twenty years I've experimented with various techniques to make this whole process a pleasure, rather than a chore – methods so easy that even children can have great success with them. It's all a matter of having the right tools.

I almost always roll my dough inside of a Hefty® 2.5 quart jumbo food storage bag. This sturdy plastic allows you to flip over the dough, peel off the plastic and flour the dough while you are working it. I do that multiple times as I am rolling the dough.

To prepare the plastic, cut off the zipper and then cut open two other sides so that you now have a hinged piece of sturdy plastic. Flour the plastic and place the dough inside.

To roll the dough to an even thickness, I like to use one of these tools:

Dobord -Available at:

The Dobord has grooves cut into the two sides that allow you to drop the bottom down to 4 different levels for 4 different thicknesses of dough. It's terrific for rolling out cookie dough and larger, rectangular or square shapes.

Perfect-A-Pie (rings) - Available from

This tool comes as a set of three rings for rolling out perfect rounds of dough (I also use it for cookies, etc.). The rings are very thin (maybe 1/16th inch), so I have two sets that I use one-on-top of the other when a thicker pastry is needed.

For either of these tools, you will need a rolling pin long enough to sit on the edges of the tool. You'll want a solid wood pin without ball bearings.

Roll the dough until the pin sits perfectly flat on both edges of the ring or mold ( if the dough fills the mold, cut out a little so that you can be sure that the dough is rolled as far as it will go and that the pin is completely flat across the whole length of the dough).

You're now ready to cut out cookies or shapes, or to transfer the dough to a pie or tart plate.

1 comment:

Kathy_in_Colorado said...

Wonderful! so happy I found you! This is some of the info I have been in need of - thank you!