Working With Pastry

in Substitutions
Published: September 9, 2010

Pastry can be a tricky beast, so here are a couple of suggestions to make the roll-out go smoothly.

1. Heat is your enemy. Keep that in mind, and that it’s everywhere in the kitchen, especially on your hands.

So once you have your pastry dough made, don’t handle it too much.

– If you can take it, submerge your hands in a bowl of iced water before handling your dough. This lowers your hand temperature long enough to get the job done.

– Another trick? Work on a cool surface when rolling out your dough. This is why many pastry chefs prefer to work on marble counter – always nice and cool. Granite or glass also are good.

2. Don’t add too much flour. There is a real tendency to throw in too much flour, especially while rolling. You always need to add a little flour, but keep it to a minimum.

When you “dust” and re-dust the work surface and rolling pin, that really does just mean just a light dusting. The smallest of amounts.

A good rule – which holds true for all of cooking and baking – is this: add a little at a time; you can always add more, but you can’t take it out once it’s in.

3. Another tip: try rolling out pastry with a sheet of parchment paper between the dough and the pin. This will stop the rolling pin from sticking and will also help you achieve a consistent thickness.

You can also buy a sheet of baking cloth. This is made from cotton and serves the same purpose. Sometimes this comes as a sleeve for the pin, which also works well.