Rolling pins are essential for many pastry and pasta tasks, but can be as simple as a length of broom handle (a little small in diameter for easy use). Pictured here are the three most used versions. There are other rollers for special purposes.
French Tapered Pin: If you have only one rolling pin, this is the one to have. It is highly controllable and using it you can easy roll out large regions that are of uniform thickness. The width of the dough can be wider than the pin is long without problems. The photo specimen is 20-1/4 inches long and 1-3/4 inches diameter. I have used it many times and am entirely satisfied with it.
Italian Pasta Pin: This pin is used by Italian pasta mommas to roll out dough very, very thin. After getting your dough as thin as you can the regular way (about 1/32 (0.032) inch thick) you use this pin. You actually stretch the dough out by the palms of your hands, parallel to the pin, rolling it up around the the pin before it has time to spring back (your dough has to slide easily on the board). You then turn it 45 degrees, unroll it onto the board, move the pin back in front of you and stretch again until you dough is practically paper thin. The photo specimen is 22-1/2 inches long and 1.57 inches (4 cm) diameter, but those knobs on the ends are completely useless and might as well be sawed off. This type comes in longer lengths, up to about 36 inches.
Common Handled Roller This rolling pin is often pictured in old cartoons with a big momma wife holding it by the handle and using it to beat her diminutive husband for some offence or another. For sure, It is good for that, and you can roll out pie crusts and other fairly thick things with it, but it's far from ideal, relatively difficult to control and tiring to use. The photo specimen, a ball bearing model, has a roller 15 inches long and 3-5/8 inches diameter.
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