Choosing a good rolling pin for your baking adventures is not as easy as it might seem. Indeed, there are many references and choosing the ideal rolling pin is not necessarily easy. You don’t want to know how many rolling pins I ended up breaking or throwing away simply because they were just not good enough. Or better said, not good at all.
Therefore, as passionate about baking as I am, I have had the opportunity to test a very large number of rolling pins. And therefore to gain real experience in the field, hence the writing of this article.
Because yes, the rolling pin is an indispensable accessory in every bakers’ kitchen, and regular use requires choosing the right model. As you will see through this article, not all rolling pins are the same!
But before I introduce you to my favorite rolling pins, here are a few important things you need to take into consideration:
Type of material
When it comes to rolling pins, there are mainly 6 types of materials:
1. Wooden rolling pins
These are the most popular models on the market right now and.. from the beginning of time, really. These rolls are usually made of beech or bamboo. They have the advantage of being inexpensive, very versatile and resistant. The pasta tends to stick slightly to the wood, so you must remember to flour your rolling pin and prepare it in advance in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
The cleaning of a wooden rolling pin must be done gently, it’s not recommended to scrape the rolling pin with a knife as this could damage it quickly! The wood also cannot withstand prolonged immersion in water. However, the roller should be cleaned carefully, especially if it is made of beech, as this wood is porous and can be a sign of bacterial growth if it is not maintained after use.
For bamboo-this is much less the case, even if it is strongly advised to clean it after each use. Bamboo is very hygienic because it does not absorb moisture, which guarantees simple and effective cleaning.
The wooden rolling pins is still a very good choice for me, and it is probably the one I use the most! It’s also the rolling pin that is mainly used by artisan bakers.
2. Silicone or polyethylene rolling pins
These models are made of silicone or polyethylene, materials which have the particularity of being non-sticky. Thus, it will not be necessary to use a lot of flour in order to spread your dough. This is generally why this type of roller is used mainly with sugar or marzipan dough.
Hygiene wise, it is very easy to clean and most silicone rollers are dishwasher safe. The polyethylene prevents the development of germs and does not absorb odors, colors or flavors. This roll will therefore not harbor any bacteria or mold.
This type of rolling pin is also widely used by pastry cooks and cake designers.
3. Stainless steel rolling pins
These are rolling pins made of stainless steel. The advantage is that stainless steel is very durable and easy to maintain material. Also, it is possible to put them in the refrigerator in order to get them cold and be able to work the dough easily. Yes, I’m talking about pie dough and croissants – a cold rolling pin will make your life so much easier!
These models are also quite versatile and the steel design allows for smooth rotation without having to use too much force (which comes in very handy if you’re petite like I am). And when it comes to maintenance, you can also put it in the dishwasher.
These models are also used a lot by professionals in the trade. They are pretty popular (not as popular as the wooden ones, though!) and you can find them in most stores.
4. Marble rolling pins
This type of rolling pin is quite rare on the market. The marble offers very beautiful rollers that keep the cold perfectly. Also, they are often delivered with very aesthetic support which makes them almost a decorative object. I got one for Christmas and it has become my all-time favorite rolling pin since then. Also, it looks very fancy in my kitchen!
The other side of the coin is that these rolls are often quite heavy and not easy to handle for younger people, older people or beginners. But with a little bit of skill, it is possible to roll out dough without making too much effort.
Cleaning these rollers is quite simple because of the smooth surface of the roller. These rollers are usually a little more expensive than the others, due to the use of marble, which is a rather expensive material.
5. Pattern rolling pins
These are rolling pins, made of various materials, for occasional and decorative use. This makes it possible to print a pattern on a cookie dough or sugar dough. Therefore, they come in very handy for Christmas, birthday parties or special occasions. Of course, they’re also very fun when you’re baking with your little ones!
These rollers are intended for domestic use and are not used by professionals in the trade. I must admit that I don’t use it very often myself, either. But they are fun, I’ll give them that.
You may have already noticed this, but not all rolls are the same size. Some are 30 cm, most are 40 cm, some are 50 cm and sometimes even larger. Here the choice will be made according to your preferences, the size of your hands and the type of dough you’re gonna work the most with.
If you make pastry dough in large batches, you can choose a roll of 40-50 cm. Personally, I prefer to use mainly models that are about 40 cm. It’s a very good compromise. They are lighter, more manageable and easy to store. For children and aspiring pastry chefs, you can opt for a smaller roll of 30 cm.
Handle or no handle?
In the professional environment, we exclusively use rolling pins without handles. Handles have been added on the rollers in order to help beginning bakers or occasional bakers.
I prefer to use models without handles because I find the control is better and the glide is smoother. But I can see how for a person who is not familiar with baking, or for children, a rolling pin with a handle is easier to handle. On the other hand, you will have to choose a quality model at the risk of finding yourself one day with handles that “block” the glide, or even that become detached from the central axis.
Here again, the choice must be made according to your preferences.
The right weight of a rolling pin is around 500 gr. A rolling pin that is too light will not have the desired “flattening” effect and you will have to use much more force. On the other hand, a rolling pin that is too heavy will be harder to handle, although it will be very effective when spreading hard or elastic dough.
Note that in some models, it is possible to fill them with water to make them heavier or lighter depending on the preparation.
A rolling pin doesn’t cost very much, and the price range is quite narrow. A good rolling pin costs between $15 and $40 (if they are not on sale).
Having said that, there are first-price rolling pins, sometimes around $5. I tend to advise against this kind of model. They have many small defects. These rollers are sometimes difficult to handle, with blockages for models with handles and really fair coating quality and can even contain controversial substances for silicone models.
It may be wise to put a few extra cash into a roller that will last you for several years. Especially if you are a frequent baker or if you want to buy for years to come.
For some reason, I have noticed that rolling pins are much cheaper on the Internet for the same quality. In the shops, there is less choice and the prices are often less advantageous. They are often low-end rollers with a poor quality finish.
The best offers are generally made on commercial sites such as Amazon, which do not hesitate to break prices even outside of sales periods.
The advantage of making a purchase on the Internet is also to be able to consult the opinions of previous purchasers. Something that is not possible in a store. It’s a very good reflex, even when it’s a very simple purchase like a rolling pin. A product with a rating of 1 or 2 stars is never a good sign. Conversely, if you see a rolling pin with a rating higher than 3 stars, you should be quite satisfied.
That’s also why I always tell people to leave a review after they buy something – either a good or a bad one, you could help someone on the other side of the world make a better choice.
Now here is a selection of my favorite rolling pins. Keep in mind that I always recommend products I’ve tried myself and loved. I either own them or tried them at a class or at a friend’s house.