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Rolling dough to a particular thickness can be a challenge, but these techniques and tools can help.



4 Ways to Use Rolled Dough

An evenly rolled layer of dough gives you a precise thickness for cookies, pies, and other pastries. Learning how to roll dough to a specific thickness will help you make:

  1. Cut-out cookies, such as sugar cookies and gingerbread
  2. Pie crust, for tarts, quiches, galettes, and double-crust pies
  3. Decorations for breads and pastry-covered dishes
  4. Pasta such as homemade ravioli

How to Roll Out Dough in 6 Steps

Here’s how to roll out pie dough and cookie dough to the perfect thickness.

  1. Shape the dough. Shaping your dough before you roll it out will set you up for success. To do this, turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Fold the plastic wrap over the dough and use your hands to press and pat the dough into your desired shape—typically rectangle for cookie dough or a round disk if you’re making pie. For pie dough, let the dough disk chill in the fridge for about an hour before rolling to allow the gluten to relax. If you’re making cookies, you can use the dough right away.
  2. Spread it out. If your dough block or disk looks uneven in places, use a plastic bench scraper to smooth it out before you remove the plastic wrap.
  3. Choose a rolling pin. French tapered-style rolling pins and rolling pins with handles will both work for rolling out dough, but an adjustable rolling pin—a dowel style with interchangeable rings that elevate the rolling pin’s cylinder—will allow you to roll dough to the perfect thickness without the guesswork. If you don’t have an adjustable rolling pin, try pastry rulers. Select two rulers (you can also use dowels), line them up with the edges of your dough block, and position your rolling pin so that it rests on the rulers. These will act as guides, preventing you from rolling the dough too thin.
  4. Roll out your dough. Unwrap the dough and place it on the countertop between two large sheets of parchment paper or two new sheets of plastic wrap. (This prevents over-flouring. If you decide to use flour, use a pastry brush to remove excess flour.) If the dough feels too soft to work, return it to the fridge for a few minutes. If it’s too stiff, let it rest at room temperature until easy enough to work. Starting in the center of the dough block or disk, use even pressure to roll the dough away from you. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat, turning the dough until it reaches the desired thickness.
  5. Cut out shapes. If cutting cookies, flour your cookie cutter and cut shapes as efficiently as possible, since re-rolling the dough scraps will toughen up your cookies. Transfer cut cookies to a baking sheet lined with a piece of parchment paper or a silicone mat. If making a pie, you can choose to trim the dough now, or you can wait until after you’ve transferred it to the pie dish. To transfer the dough from your work surface to the pie plate, gently roll it onto your (well floured) rolling pin, then unfold the dough onto the center of the pie dish for trimming, crimping, and filling with pie weights. Use excess dough to patch any tears in your pie crust.
  6. Chill before baking. If your recipe contains butter, place your cut cookies or pie crust in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes before baking. This allows the butter to solidify, which is the secret to flaky pie crust and cookies that hold their shape. If you aren’t baking today, you can store your cut cookies or pie crust in the freezer.
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Bready for More?

We’ve got you covered. All you knead (see what we did there?) is The MasterClass Annual Membership, some water, flour, salt, and yeast, and our exclusive lessons from Apollonia Poilâne—Paris’s premiere bread maker and one of the earliest architects of the artisanal bread movement. Roll up your sleeves and get baking.