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Rolling pin care

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If I know I will be using my wooden rolling pin and pastry cloth a lot over a period of days, I wrap the folded cloth around the pin, put them in a plastic bag, and keep them in the refrigerator. When the baking sessions are over, I wash them in hot soapy water. But someone told me that a wooden rolling pin should just be wiped off with a dry towel, not washed. Opinions?

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  1. As long as it's not used in contact with ingredients that might generate a food borne illness issue, I generally wipe mine with a dry towel and keep it in the drawer. I do periodically wipe it down with a dish cloth dampened with soapy water and then rinse it thoroughly before drying with a fresh clean towel, but that's the same day I season it with a bit of mineral oil (something I schedule about twice a year).
    What I try to avoid is drawing the grain (my rolling pins are maple) which results in a rough uneven surface. If and when the surface gets a bit rough to the feel I simple sand it lightly with a 240 grit paper, wipe with a dry towel and season with mineral oil.

    1. I've had the same rolling pin for 25 years or more, it's wooden and it always gets washed in hot soapy water. It hasn't cracked and still rolls just fine with occasional squeaks.

      1. I never wash my rolling pin if I can avoid it. Wipe it down with a damp towel and scrape any stuck bits off with the back of a knife, yes. Wash it in lots of soapy water, no.
        It's something to do with maintaining the wood and keeping it dry so it doesn't stick to your doughs.

        1. I care for mine much the same way as todao. It's maple (rock maple?) and was my mother's. The wooden pins holding the wooden handles on the roller can be removed so once a year it gets a washing, drying and all pieces left apart until thoroughly air dried. Then everything gets wiped down lightly with food grade mineral oil, allowed to air dry a little longer, then reassembled. Wooden cutting boards and butcher block get treated the same way only way more often.

          2 Replies
          1. re: morwen

            I have a hard rock maple rolling pin my grandfather turned on a lathe in shop class in 1912. I'd hate to think of how many times it's been washed in hot soapy water and it's like the day he made it. We have a collection of 6 rolling pins from antiques to new this year and all have been washed with soap. I've never had it stick to dough - in the summer I frequently put the cutting boards out in the hot sun all day and never uses mineral oil or the like. My wood is always good.

            1. re: Johnny West

              Our house is extremely dry especially in winter. I had a beautiful butcher block given to me as a gift begin to pull apart. After our neighbor (who is a woodworker) fixed it he recommended the wash-air dry-oil treatment for all my wooden implements and suggested schedules depending on the woods or lamination. The rolling pin is on a yearly schedule, the cherry implements daily as used, the cutting boards as used but monthly oiling, and none of it ever goes in the dishwasher.

          2. I don't wash most of my wooden tools, I wiped them with paper towel or damp cloth, only if I have to(using them with meat), then I will wash them with soap, dry them and once a while coat them with oil, I never put wooden tools in dishwasher

            1. Partly the answer depends on the wood. Very porous wood rolling pins may need to avoid as much water as possible. I have seen some rolling pins made with very porous wood. On the other hand, mine is made of maple wood and appears to be very dense and does not absorb much water. This is especially so after I oiled mine with tung oil.

              I wash my rolling pin after use if I know it won't be used anytime soon. If I plan to use it the next day, I will just scrap the dough off with my hand or with a plastic scrapper. I mostly do this because I am lazy.

              I do not put mine in a refrigerator.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                I know - my wife is an infection control nurse so we get fussy about clean
                without trying to get too anal retentive. Our rolling pins are all maple and oak.
                The pastry cloth got thrown and need to find a new one.

                I do not put any wood or silver in the dishwasher.

              2. I just received a new wooden rolling pin as a gift, and I was wondering if I need to sand it, or rather, how do I get the surface smoother - it feels like it would be too coarse or rough to roll out pastry dough, which will be it's primary purpose.