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The Right Way to Roll Out Pie Dough

By Cook's Illustrated Published September 2010

The right strategy is the secret to rolling out pie dough that’s an even thickness throughout and won’t tear when you transfer it to the pie dish.

Problem: Dough is not round.

Avoiding It: Start with dough formed into a flat, even disk and check often as you roll.

Solving It: Use your hands or bench scraper to push in dough and round out circle.

Problem: Dough sticks to counter.

Avoiding It: Start with very cold dough, work as quickly as possible, and make sure to lift and turn dough as you roll.

Solving It: Add more flour to counter each time you lift dough to turn it; add more to top of dough as necessary. If dough still sticks, transfer to rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

Two key pointers to keep in mind when rolling dough: First, always work with well-chilled pastry; otherwise, the dough will stick to the counter and tear. Second, never roll out dough by rolling back and forth over the same section; each time you press on the same spot, more gluten develops that can toughen the dough. Here’s our method:

1. Place well-chilled dough on floured counter and sprinkle lightly with flour. Place tapered rolling pin in center of dough with ends at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock and roll dough outward from center to edge, applying even, gentle pressure.

2. Using dough scraper, lift and turn dough 90 degrees. Roll outward again from center, making sure to keep hands at 9 and 3 positions. Lightly flour underneath dough as necessary to prevent sticking.

3. Repeat rolling and turning steps (keeping hands at 9 and 3) until dough is wide enough to overhang pie plate by 4 inches.