Handled or not? Silicone, marble or maple? French taper or straight? There are many questions when purchasing and using a rolling pin. Much of the answer you already know. It depends on what you like to bake, and how you like to bake it.
Strictly speaking, it does not matter what you use for a rolling pin, but some tools are better than others. A wine bottle will do the trick in a pinch, just make sure its a tall cabernet bottle or some other long bottle with straight sides. A chardonnay bottle will cause more frustration than it's worth.
If you are a pie baker, the french tapered style is perfect. Having the pin taper toward the ends helps push the dough out into a circular shape. In addition, because of the taper, the outside edge will remain as thick as the center, or even a little thicker. A straight rolling pin tends to run off the edge of the dough, causing the outside edge to become thinner than the middle. Once you have your center at the correct thickness, you can simply perfect the edges to complete a larger circle of dough.
Cookies, on the other hand, demand a thick, straight pin. Cookie dough requires a cooler rolling temperature than pie crust and, even though the proportional amount of butter is less, it has more liquid in it due to the addition of eggs. Cold cookie batter is very firm, and the firmer it can be rolled, the crisper the edges of the end result. Using a heavy, straight pin helps roll the dough evenly and easily. To roll the dough out to the exact thickness required by the recipe, use side guides so you do not roll too thin or off the edge.
Once a decision on barrel style is made, the question of material arises. Marble, silicone or maple? Many inexpensive wooden rolling pins are made from beech, a lightweight, light colored wood. Although beech pins look pretty good, they will generally have a rough exterior finish and will not have sufficient weight to handle much body in a dough.
Marble makes a beautiful looking pin. Kept refrigerated, marble pins retain cool temperatures and can be quite effective at rolling cold pastry quickly. Once marble wars, however, expect lots of stickiness. Because marble is so smooth, it does not hold flour very well on its surface, which can contribute to dough sticking. Another issue with marble pins is that they are very heavy, and can crack or break fairly easily.
A newer addition to the rolling pin arsenal is the silicone coated metal pin. These pins have a great modern look to them, with industrial aluminum handles and juicy colored silicone. The main issue with these pins is the fact that they are warm. Be sure to get one with handles that have ball bearings and sufficient weight. These pins are very expensive. Cheaper ones tend to be too light to use effectively and will require more flour.
Another new style in rolling pins features a metal barrel with non-stick coating and rubber handles. These pins work very well and can be refrigerated for added effectiveness. The steel has a good weight to it, but they are not too heavy. The price for these pins is in the middle to high range, and they will last given proper treatment.
Finally, a word on the traditional maple rolling pin. These pins have a fantastic natural weight to them, and many are sanded to a high polish that is smooth yet able to take on some flour. These pins look great, and used properly, give fantastic results. A good way to improve the performance of a sticky pin is to use a sleeve and roll the dough out onto a fabric covered board. Lightly flour the fabric and the sleeve and even the stickiest dough will roll easily.
The most important thing to keep in mind when purchasing a rolling pin is making sure the pin has the proper weight and feel for what you want to do. A person who has arthritis or other mobility issues in their hands will likely want a heavier pin that can do more work for them. Alternately, this same heavy pin might not work so well for someone who habitually uses more force when they roll. If possible, try a pin out first, at the very least in the store on a counter. Happy Baking!
Source by Gretchen Spreitzer