turned cherry wood bowl

Rolling Pins

I do a lot of craft shows and I am shocked at how few people cook any more. They may look at the pins on my table and comment that their grandmother had one of those but they personally had never used one. So they are a bit confused at the shapes that deviate from the typical cylinder with handles.

The long, slim rolling pins without distinct handles are very efficient. The French excel at making pastries and breads. This style of rolling pin is called a French rolling pin. You put flour on your palms and let the thinner ends roll in the hand as you roll out dough. No flimsy handles to break, no bearings to wear out. It is just an efficient tool for the purpose.

The extra length and rather straight shape (slightly thicker in the middle) allows the pastry chef to roll up the delicate pastry on the rolling pin and then unroll it on to the pie plate without tearing the pastry. No sheets of wax paper, no pastry cloths. It is elegantly simple and efficient.

Indian flat breads, called chapattis, require a shorter and thinner rolling pin. This is the standard bread in Indian cuisine and so many are made fresh at each meal. Thus speed and ease of use are important. The smaller, thinner pin is easier to handle quickly and the chapatti is not large like a pie crust so the pin does not need to be as long.

Using dry flour from time to time on hands, rolling pin and rolling surface keeps any type of dough from sticking. Having the right moisture content of the dough is also important. It is just a trial and error process.

I learned to bake pies on a sailboat while underway. All my less than perfect experiments were readily devoured by hungry crews and repetition honed my skills.
I can't imagine a kitchen without several types of rolling pins. Maybe people will rediscover the joy of preparing delicious food in their own kitchens. Then they will learn what a rolling pin is for and the merits of different models.