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rolling out pie crusts


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I find rolling out all-butter pie crusts between two sheets of plastic wrap to be really bothersome. The wrap always wrinkles, I have to straighten it every few rolls etc, and it sometimes tears the crusts upon removal. Are the expensive, silicone-coated rolling pins and silpat sheets worth the investment? Are they really nonstick, or just in theory?

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I roll pie dough out on a flour dusted table with a flour dusted pin. Your not doing any harm adding more flour in this time tested traditional method. You don't have to be stingy with the flour either, it's not going to penitrate your dough unless you fold it in.

If you must, I suggest buying two silpats and rolling anything and everything between them.

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Cook's Illustrated tested the Roul'Pat silicone mat with two sticky doughs, cinnamon bun dough and cookie dough. The performance was a big flop.

Because the top surface of the Roul'Pat is nonstick, we had assumed that it would require little, if any, flour when we rolled out the doughs (although no such claim is made on the packaging). We were wrong. Both the bun dough and the cookie dough clung tenaciously to the Roul'Pat when rolled without flour--just as they did to the countertop when rolled without flour. In the end, we found that we needed just as much flour to roll our doughs on the Roul'Pat as we did on the countertop.

Bottom line? Save your counter space for your counter, not a Roul'Pat.

Save your money!

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Also--on the off chance that you're not doing this already-- chill the dough for 30-60 min before rolling out. Then, roll out as Sinclair describes above.

My pie crust is 1/2 butter and 1/2 lard and this works just fine.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I find rolling out all-butter pie crusts between two sheets of plastic wrap to be really bothersome.  The wrap always wrinkles, I have to straighten it every few rolls etc, and it sometimes tears the crusts upon removal.  Are the expensive, silicone-coated rolling pins and silpat sheets worth the investment?  Are they really nonstick, or just in theory?

I took my silicone mat with me to my father-in-law's house for Thanksgiving, for the purpose of rolling out pie dough. After rolling out 5 crusts on it, I've decided I will go back to using a pastry cloth. On the silicone mat, no matter how much flour I used, the crust still stuck, and was very difficult to roll out evenly because of the sticking. Some spots were too thick and others were so thin that holes were created, and there was no correcting the situation. It was a mess.

The most effective apparatus I've found for rolling out pie dough is something I ordered from QVC a few years ago, but I think other ways could be found to produce the same thing, without ordering what I have. It's a large plastic oval, and a special cover is made for it from cloth; the cover is constructed much like a shower cap, with elastic stretching along the edge, so that the cover fits over the plastic oval. (I don't seem to be able to articulately describe things today. Please bear with me!) The cover is made of a fairly thin white cloth. So I guess what I'm saying is, you could take a large woven, non-terrycloth kitchen towel (or just a piece of cotton cloth; muslin would work well), fit it around a large cutting board and safety pin it together in back, and replicate my setup. If it wobbles or creeps, take a terrycloth towel, wet it down and wring it out, fold it (to provide a little padding) and put it under the cutting board. I'm betting it will work really well.

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I usually just use the flour on the table method myself, but I can pass on a little secret when using a silpat: you may have noticed that one side of the sheet is very smooth while the other has sort of a woven texture to it. If you use the textured side rather than the smooth side, and dust it with flour, the flour will be trapped by the little bumps in the texture and stay under the dough rather than pushing out to the sides as you roll out. Also, if you make sure the table is clean and just a little bit damp before you lay out the sheet, the smooth side will stick and and keep the sheet from sliding around.

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I usually just use the flour on the table method myself, but I can pass on a little secret when using a silpat: you may have noticed that one side of the sheet is very smooth while the other has sort of a woven texture to it. If you use the textured side rather than the smooth side, and dust it with flour, the flour will be trapped by the little bumps in the texture and stay under the dough rather than pushing out to the sides as you roll out. Also, if you make sure the table is clean and just a little bit damp before you lay out the sheet, the smooth side will stick and and keep the sheet from sliding around.

Good to know. I will try it. The beautiful thing about the silpat is, that it's so easily transportable. Given my particular family configuration (a nice way of saying my father-in-law does not cook, and if I want a holiday dinner, I have to bring everything and cook most of it myself), I make pies away from home a lot. Maybe I can rescue the silpat solution, after all.

Thanks!

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I usually just use the flour on the table method myself, but I can pass on a little secret when using a silpat: you may have noticed that one side of the sheet is very smooth while the other has sort of a woven texture to it. If you use the textured side rather than the smooth side, and dust it with flour, the flour will be trapped by the little bumps in the texture and stay under the dough rather than pushing out to the sides as you roll out. Also, if you make sure the table is clean and just a little bit damp before you lay out the sheet, the smooth side will stick and and keep the sheet from sliding around.

Damn that's a good idea...

I'm really surprised about the disappointing performance of the roulpat. I'm so happy with the silpat that I sort of assumed the roulpat would also be a great product.

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I have both the roulpat and silpat, and the performance is very much the same. The roulpat does well for firmer doughs, but for wet and sticky doughs, it is only a little less sticky than a melanine tabletop. You still need some flour to prevent sticking. It's nice to have such a nice, large surface that's easy to clean though, so I still always use it.

Also, the nice thing about the mat is that it makes it easy to transfer the dough because you can pick the whole thing up. And if the dough does happen to stick, you can always pick the whole thing up, flip it over, and peel the mat away from the sticking dough. A thin flexible cutting board also does much the same, so if you can find one of the harder to find large ones, you might as buy that instead - they're much more inexpensive.

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Make certain your dough is well chilled! You shouldn't have so much butter/fat in your dough that it's sticking or your room is too hot or your dough is too hot A little flour on your table should be all you need.........if your needing more, I think you need to work on your pie dough recipe or technique for making it.

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I used to always use two sheets of waxed paper for rolling out my crusts, especially pie crusts, because they are usually very fragile.

But I have since learned, like Wendy said, that rolling out on a well-floured board isn't a problem, and is easier (though there is cleanup at the end). I can roll anything out that way. Sweet dough, puff pastry, pie crust.

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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I don't think anyone has mentioned the surface they are rolling on. I roll on the granite counter on my kitchen with a marble rolling pin. Before that, for many, many years, I rolled on a marble board. The coolness of the marble or granite helps a lot. I don't think anything is 100% foolproof, though. The marble boards are not expensive and are often on sale. On another thread someone also suggested icing down the marble board before starting (and drying it, of course).

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I don't think anyone has mentioned the surface they are rolling on.  I roll on the granite counter on my kitchen with a marble rolling pin.  Before that, for many, many years, I rolled on a marble board. The coolness of the marble or granite helps a lot. I don't think anything is 100% foolproof, though. The marble boards are not expensive and are often on sale. On another thread someone also suggested icing down the marble board before starting (and drying it, of course).

I use a marble board for rolling out short sticky pie doughs. I also use it for candy making. In the past I have been able to get scrap marble pieces from monument companies or counter top companies for almost nothing. When a large piece breaks they can rarely sell the scrap. Once at my grandmother's I even used the marble top of an old victorian end table as a work surface. If your marble board won't go in the refrigerator, icing it works great. A bag of ice or a zip-top bag full of ice just placed on top for a few minutes.

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I use a big unbleached canvas cloth underneath the crust, and a special knit "stocking" around the rolling pin. Both are well-floured, and there's very little sticking. If the dough does stick in one place, I slide a thin spatula underneath and re-flour that area. No need to wash this set-up when I'm through -- just roll up the rolling pin inside the cloth. If the cloth does get a cinnamon or onion flavor to it :shock:, it can be tossed in the washer for easy cleanup. My mother used this set-up, and she was right!

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I have the old-fashioned pull-out cutting boards in my kitchen. One of those gets pulled out and placed on the pebbly shelf liner you can buy at the hardware store (so it won't slide around). It's either that or have tile grout marks in my pastry. :wacko:

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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I find rolling out all-butter pie crusts between two sheets of plastic wrap to be really bothersome.  The wrap always wrinkles, I have to straighten it every few rolls etc, and it sometimes tears the crusts upon removal.  Are the expensive, silicone-coated rolling pins and silpat sheets worth the investment?  Are they really nonstick, or just in theory?

Try rolling it when it is very cold. If its sucre you can cut in pieces and knead a little before rolling. For brisee try walking it out a bit with the pin, i.e., push down on dough in both directions to let it know what you are doing. I never though rolling stone cold dough would work but at school I learned it does! I am no longer intimidated by it! Good luck.

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I roll out 15 ten inch sucre, and 8 9 inch sucre every day- plus 4 cream cheese dough. You don't need any special mat or pin. I roll on a stainless bench with a wooden pin and flour. Keep rolling, it takes time and practice. All that "between two pieces of wax/ parchment/ plastic" is not a help. Use flour, keep turning the dough, and make sure that it is rested (made yesterday or six hours before), cool, (and not cold).

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I roll out 15 ten inch sucre, and 8 9 inch sucre every day- plus 4 cream cheese dough. You don't need any special mat or pin. I roll on a stainless bench with a wooden pin and flour. Keep rolling, it takes time and practice. All that "between two pieces of wax/ parchment/ plastic" is not a help. Use flour, keep turning the dough, and make sure that it is rested (made yesterday or six hours before), cool, (and not cold).

yes, and this method even works on a plastic laminate faux wood counter in my apt.! :smile:

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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