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Rolling pins -- Which is best?

Hi there,

I'm looking to invest in a good rolling pin to bake for the holidays. From your experiences, which type is best?

The French (long, tapered, solid wood) or the two-piece composite style?
Is wood better or marble?
Light or heavy weight?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. I really love my maple french rolling pin. I've used it on everything from pie crusts to cookie dough and it always makes me very happy. I don't really like the two piece composite ones, I have a harder time rolling thin crusts that way.

    1. I use a plain old closet rod, cut to about 24". It's cheap, easy to maneuver, and if I lose or damage it, Home Depot has more!

      1. It depends on what I am doing. I have several pins and the one I use the most is a heavy, large maple Banton pin. It has ball bearings and rolls beautifully. If I am doing pasta sheets I like my antique maple pin. It is hand made and about 1" in diameter. It is great for that task. I also have a french pin and a seldom used marble pin. After getting the Banton the marble pin just went into a drawer and hasn't come out much.

        1. Thanks everybody!

          It just happens that Home Depot is 5-minutes away from my home so I popped over there but couldn't find any rods/dowels that were sufficiently thick, heavy and smooth.

          After reading your posts and talking with the kitchenware shop owner, I bought a traditional-style one piece maple pin. Over 1-inch thick, it's quite heavy and doesn't taper at the ends. At $50, it is far pricier than I expected (compared to the pins made from different kinds of wood, including bamboo).

          The instructions that came attached advised against washing with detergent and/or water, as it will remove the oils and may cause the wood to warp or crack. Instead, I'm to run flour along its length before toweling off. Do you do this with your wooden pins?

          2 Replies
          1. re: DishyDiva

            that seems a litle expensive to me but if it works well then it's worth it. i think i got mine from bedbath for under 10 (french style- i think maple?) but i'm not sure when. I had also had my eye on some of the non stick ones.... but at the time I needed a bunch of stuff and the $30 ticket deterred me.

            1. re: qwerty78

              I forgot to mention my new $50 rolling pin is so expensive because it was handcrafted locally. I can't say how well it works as I haven't tried it out yet. Even so, I can understand the expense, it has a beautiful grain and is as smooth as marble.

              Thanks again, everyone for your input!

          2. does anybody have one of these slick looking aluminum pins?


            seems like they would be pretty dope-- stick em right in the fridge to chill. i learned about them on another chowhound thread months ago, and i can't stop thinking about this pin :) i guess that means i should just order one and write my own dang review, huh.

            1 Reply
            1. re: soupkitten

              I saw that same thread and I've had my eye on one ever since too. I'd never heard of them before that. I think that just might end up being my Christmas gift to myself.

            2. Hi,

              I like to use a non-tapered French rolling pin, whicih is basically a thick wooden dowel. I find this type easy to maneuver and I like it because it has more 'working area' than the kind with separate handles. I also like being able to use rolling pin guides (basically rubber bands of varying thicknesses) to help make what I'm rolling out uniform. I have a hard time eyeing that, so the guides can come in handy for me, especially when I;m rolling out cookies since having them all the same thickness helps them bake more evenly.

              Using th guides on the tapered pins can be troublesome because the guides take away a lot of working room on the tapered pins since you have to push them in on the pin to get a good tight fit. Plus, in order for the guides to be accurate on a tapered pin, you have to be sure that the guides are slid on the pin the same amount on each side so that the guide is situated on the same point of the taper on each side.

              Good luck!

              1 Reply
              1. re: MEH

                Hi Mary,

                My pin is like a giant dowel, with no tapering. I saw the circular bands for sale next to the pins but weren't sure what they were for. Now that I know they're guides for determining thickness, I'll have to go back to the shop to get them. As a novice baker, I need all the help I can get.

              2. I use a marble rolling pin which I purchased on sale at TJMaxx for $10. It's wonderful. I used to use wine bottles to roll out dough, which was handy, until I could find a pin that I really like. But, the new rolling pin works great-- the pluses are: (1) it stays cold, which is really great for rolling pie crusts, (2) I'm not afraid of bacteria getting stuck in the pores of wood, (3) the weight helps minimize the pressure needed to roll out dough, and (4) it's stick resistant.

                1. Prefer my cheapo $10 french rolling pin over the 2-piece one with handles.

                  1. I read somewhere that the composite pins are more difficult to clean because the dough gets into the nooks and crevices.

                    As for bacteria on wood pins, would they be destroyed through the baking process anyway?

                    1. French, wood is my vote, no matter what I'm rolling.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bnemes3343

                        Agreed, bnemes, although I wish I could remember the details I once saw on TV when someone was demonstrating a French pin technique where you placed one end in the middle of the dough, holding is down gently with your palm. You then rolled the pin around the circle of dough like a compass, to make an even thickness. I have a hunch that this was Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery in Boston but I could be all wet on that. And I think s/he picked up the dough and rotated it in the process, too. Does this ring a bell with anyone?

                        If I know I'm going to be using my rolling pin and pastry cloth often over the course of a week or two, I roll the cloth around the pin, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate so everything is cold for the next time, and don't launder the cloth until all the rolling is finished for the time being.

                      2. I had always used a solid maple pin until my father's girlfriend stole it. Now I have a tapedred french pin but nothing will replace the antique one. I just bought one of the "french style" silpat pins with the stainless steel interior. It needs to be floured if I am rolling out really sticky dough but if I would plan ahead, probably chilling it would work really well too.