Perfect pastry depends firstly on a proper balance of ingredients, hence a good recipe is essential. To start off with, use a recipe that you know works well for others, then experiment with rolling the dough, without overworking it to achieve a soft, flaky tender pastry.
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The difficult part is using just the right amount of flour when rolling the dough, to keep it from sticking to the pastry board or rolling pin.
Too much flour will render a tough pastry and not enough will make dough too sticky to roll and easy to tear. How much flour you need to roll dough, often depends on the rolling pin and how it performs.
So a rolling pin that feels good in your hand, is the right size for the dough you want and works well, is an essential baking tool. Pastry boards and rolling pins over time, will become a matter of preference to the baker. But if you're new to making pastry, it may need to try different models of rolling pins before you find the right one.
While some home bakers insist on a particular kind and size of pastry board, others do not rely on anything more their counter or a large wooden board for rolling pastry. I've known some that use the top of their chest freezer to roll pastry. I usually use my countertop. There are innovative boards, some of which have pie crust measurement guidelines, while some are designed for easier storage.
If you've used the same type of rolling pin for a long time and you struggle to achieve perfect pastry, a change of pin and/or board may solve your pastry problems. I've used a wooden pin for eons and they remain my preferred choice.
I have had the occasion to try a Farberware® Nonstick Pin.
The nonstick coating allows rolling without continuously dusting the pin with flour. I found it very effective and it produced great results. So a nonstick pin may be a good choice for you.
Wooden rolling pins comes in various lengths with or without handles. There are also long thin French pins, with or without length-adjusting rings, as well as tapered models. Other choices include those with a nonstick or silicone coating, those made of marble or stainless steel.
You'll also find a good variety of specialty pins that indent the dough repeatedly, making it easier to roll and cut multiple small (dough) pockets.
It's not unusual to find more than one rolling pin in today's kitchen and pins can be a challenge to store. And care, especially for wooden baking tools is essentials if you want to protect these.
It's a good idea to give storage a thought before increasing your baking tool items. Being able to easily find and retrieve the right kitchen tool for the task at hand can save time and frustration.
Regardless the size of your pastry board, you do need a good amount of counter space when baking.
You'll need room for rolling out the dough, for the recipe (book) and ingredients, your flour canister and pie plate or whatever you will be putting the dough in. If space is a problem, you might want to declutter your counter before starting to bake.
Making pastry doesn't have to seem like a chore. With the right tools, you can achieve good results that you'll be proud to serve.
A Rolling Pin Can be Handy for More:
When you need crumbs for your recipe, there are several ways you can make bread, cracker or dry cereal crumbs. You can use a food processor or grinder, or you can cut corners and make it really simple and quick, with nothing to clean.
Place the dried bread, cereal or crackers into a small freezer bag and roll your rolling pin over it a few times.
Place the bag in such a way that the contents do not come out or partially close the zipped plastic storage bag. Apply pressure to the rolling pin as required to crush the contents.
It only takes a couple of minutes and then you're ready to measure the crumbs for your recipe. Repeat the process as required. Bread should be completely dried before crushing.
Simple and no mess! Nothing to wash, just discard the bag.
Rolling Pin Care (is really worth doing):
How do I care for a wooden rolling pin? Can I put it in the dishwasher? Wooden rolling pins will virtually last a lifetime with very little fuss. The secret is not to leave it too long in water and to dry it completely before storing. Dishwasher cleaning is not recommended for a wooden rolling pin, since it can cause the wood to dry (heating cycle) and crack. The detergents are also too harsh for wood.
Just handwash it in hot sudsy water immediately after use, but not soak it or allow it to sit in the water for a few minutes. Use only a plastic scouring pad if pastry residue is difficult to wash off. Rinse well and dry it completely with a towel. Store it in a drawer or cupboard. It generally is not necessary to condition wooden rolling pins as careful washing and drying is usually sufficient. My wooden pins are decades old and are still in excellent condition.
If however, your pin has had too much heat and there is fear of the wood cracking from excessive drying, you could use a salad bowl oil or mineral oil rub to condition it. Ensure that the oil you use is safe for wooden food bowls or bread boards. Wooden rolling pins are the most popular, but there are choices available.