There are 2 styles of rolling pins styles – American and French.
American-style have cylinder with a center rod running through it, with handles at each end.
French are made with a single piece of wood that is generally tapered at both ends, which makes it easier to maneuver (compared to untapered).
American-style rolling pins come in a variety of materials; wood (traditionally maple), marble, stainless steel, silicone, and non-stick like Teflon, each with their own benefits and drawbacks.
What to look for when buying
- For French rolling pins look for those with shorter tapers, if they are too long they will interfere with the straight edge used for rolling. For most people they can be awkward to use, and can take longer to do the same job.
- For American-style rolling pins, choose those with sturdy comfortable handles, and one that is weighted nicely.
- Chose one where the rolling surface/center cylinder is at least 12" long, this will make the most efficient use of your time when rolling out dough and pastry.
- Most gluten free dough's are delicate and tend to tear easily because they lack the strong gluten proteins that allow it to stretch. Because of this it's best to roll out the pastry between two pieces of floured wax or parchment paper. Since the dough/pastry won't stick to the rolling pin using this method, it doesn't truly matter what type of material the rolling pin is made from. Although if you didn't use parchment, and relied on flouring the rolling pin and pastry to prevent sticking.
- Marble and stainless steel rolling pins are geared towards rolling out pastry and should be well chilled before using (as they can retain the cold and keep the butter from melting in the pastry while rolling it out). However, my preference is an American-style rolling pin made from silicone or maple.
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