We called upon Great British Bake Off contestants Edd Kimber, John Whaite and Frances Quinn to find out what to look for when buying a rolling pin…
Italian tapered rolling pin
This simple rolling pin is cheap and effective. Edd in particular prefers wooden pins as flour tends to cling to them, and he’d always choose one without a handle, like this one that’s officially designed to make pasta and pizza, but doubles as a baker’s best friend. It’s also nice and lightweight, so can be used on more delicate raw materials.
Available from Sous Chef (£7.95)
Fletcher’s Mill Bakery rolling pin
This maple wood pin is smoothed off to perfection, and it’s actually made with the same material as Fletcher’s Mill founder, Vic Firth, used for many years to make drumsticks, meaning this is some seriously robust wood. It also has lots of even surface area, making it efficient and simple to use.
Best… for beginners
Joseph Joseph adjustable rolling pin
This inventive rolling pin makes life a lot easier for new bakers, as you can raise the rolling surface by changing the removable disks, helping create the exact thickness of pastry or dough you require. It also ensures an even thickness throughout and comes in four colourways, which manages to make this rather plain kitchen item into something quite pretty.
For all of the products mentioned in this review, various retailers have been suggested by our affiliate partner Monetizer 101 and are not suggested or chosen by BBC Good Food. For more information on how these retailers are selected and the nature of our partnership, please read the Monetizer101 FAQ page.
A good rolling pin is a fundamental item to hold in your kitchen arsenal. This simple apparatus is absolutely essential for pastry and biscuit making, but also for making pizza, pasta, dumplings or flatbreads. It’s not as simple as picking up a traditional wooden pin though – they’re now available in lots of different materials like marble, stainless steel, glass and ceramic, all of which are beneficial in different ways and should be used for specific kitchen tasks.
What should I buy?
First up, if you’re an avid pastry-maker, you might want to invest in a marble pin. As it absorbs heat, it can be chilled before use, making it invaluable when handling buttery pastry that needs to stay super cool so the structure doesn’t melt and fall apart. They can be an expensive option, but Kimberley Wilson’s pick of the five best marble rolling pins features pins of varying prices. Metal rolling pins also have the cooling properties of marble, but they’re not as heavy – if you don’t want to have to apply lots of elbow grease, you may want to splash out on a marble version. Alternatively, you might prefer not to have to lug something heavy around the kitchen - silicone pins are easier to clean than wooden versions that may weather more easily and absorb colour or flavour, and pins with handles have less surface area but might be easier to roll. All this before we’ve even got to specialist pins for making pasta, patisserie or embossed icing. For our purposes, we looked at classic pins for all-round baking purposes.
What did we look for?
Surface area: The wider the pin, the quicker you’ll be able to roll something out. Edd and John prefer long, thin, French-style wooden pins without handles for this reason.
Good manoeuvrability: If a pin can pivot, you’ll be able to change direction more easily.
Multi-tasking: We looked for pins with interesting features – tapered pins, for instance, are handy as the thin end can be used to start off a pastry ball, then the thicker part can squash out any unevenness.
Easy to clean: Ridged rolling pins or ones with handles might be more difficult to clean if dough gets caught in nooks and crannies.
More reviews from Great British Bake Off bakers...
The best spatulas
The best flour shakers
The best pastry brushes
The best icing turntables
The best marble rolling pins
The best measuring sets
The best piping bags
The best cooling racks
The best baking sheets
This review was last updated in August 2016. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at email@example.com.