Pastry dough is sticking to my countertop when I roll it out -- help!
November 30, 2011 1:36 PM   Subscribe

Pastry chefs: I'm making pastries with a very sticky cream cheese dough that needs to be rolled out thin. Advice on rolling without flouring too heavily with a granite countertop?

I'm making a dozen boxes of a traditional bohemian Kolacky, which has a cream cheese and butter-based dough. It's very sticky. If you add too much flour to it, it puffs up. Worse, if you leave the dough the proper stickyness and then you flour it heavily when you're rolling it, you get sort of a 'lamination' effect where you've got two really thin layers of puffy dough with a thin layer of proper dough sandwiched between them.

I'm used to using my mother's large wooden pastry board to roll out the dough. It's designed to handle rolling out giant pie crust doughs. The wood does a good job of holding flour in place, so you only need a light dusting of flour to get the dough to get it to release after rolling it out thin.

Unfortunately, I have granite countertops and don't have a large wooden board.

What tricks can you share for rolling out a sticky dough without too much stickage or using too much flour? I'd be hesitant to add anything (like cooking spray) onto the countertop since the recipe doesn't have much in the way of oils on it.

Ideas I've had include using a stick of butter on the countertop and the flouring over the butter, which should give a bit of release, but would be a pain to clean up. I'm trying not to add additional ingredients.

(Recipe for the dough, if it helps: 16 oz cream cheese, 1/2 lbs butter, 2 c flour, 1 egg yolk, 2 T powdered sugar, 1/2 t baking powder.)
posted by SpecialK to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Powdered sugar instead of flour? Not sure that'd help but I have seen Alton Brown use it in place of flour.

Maybe try rolling out on parchment or, even, one of those silicon pastry mats?
posted by bz at 1:39 PM on November 30, 2011

Can you do it between sheets of saran wrap or parchment paper? That's what I do for ordinary pie crust.
posted by kestrel251 at 1:40 PM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding parchment paper
posted by thirteenkiller at 1:42 PM on November 30, 2011

Parchment, or they have these special pastry cloths you can get that might also work. I have also found that refrigeration to solidify the fats more can help hold the dough together.
posted by nasayre at 1:52 PM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

I roll out on saran wrap.
posted by pantarei70 at 1:52 PM on November 30, 2011

I do a lot of gluten free baking - super sticky doughs. I roll stuff out on a silpat bottom layer with a layer of plastic wrap on top - works quite well. Keeping the dough cold will help too.
posted by leslies at 1:55 PM on November 30, 2011

Best answer: Definitely chill the dough first, if you don't already. I'd probably divide it into rollable blobs, wrap each in saran wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Then only take the blobs out as you're ready to roll them.

If possible, it would likely help to chill the countertop, too. Maybe leave a big bowl of icewater on the counter while the dough chills? Ooh, better yet, ziplock bags of ice and a little water, spread out to cover the portion of the counter you'll be using to roll.
posted by dorey_oh at 2:05 PM on November 30, 2011 [4 favorites]

Cover your work area with a sheet of (clean) muslin. Clamped to the bench would be ideal. The fabric texture will behave more like a grippy wooden board.
posted by janell at 2:06 PM on November 30, 2011

Yeah keep it cold, cold as possible without freezing. Think about putting some ice on the granite or icepacks to cool it, as well.
posted by smoke at 3:31 PM on November 30, 2011

Chill the dough, overnight if possible. Chill the granite - put ice in a cake pan, and set it on the granite for 20 minutes. Work fast, and keep the dough not in use refrigerated.
posted by theora55 at 3:35 PM on November 30, 2011

Back a long time ago when I was a bread baker, I sometimes helped our pastry chef with doughs like this, and yes - chill the dough, chill your work surface, and chill your rolling pin (if possible), and only have as much dough as you're working on out of refrigeration.
posted by rtha at 4:28 PM on November 30, 2011

Silpat or parchment is the way I'd go.
posted by brand-gnu at 4:28 PM on November 30, 2011

Agree with the parchment paper-- wax paper will do in a pinch, though.
posted by devymetal at 4:29 PM on November 30, 2011

Nth-ing parchment/grease-proof paper, as well as the cold dough.
posted by coriolisdave at 4:49 PM on November 30, 2011

when you chill it, chill it not as a round blob, but as a disc, pushed as thin as you can with your hands (while it's wrapped in plastic wrap, so your hands are on the plastic wrap not on the dough.) Try to get it down to like an inch thick. Then chill it. Then you won't have a lot of rolling to do and it'll stay colder while you work it.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:22 PM on November 30, 2011

If you can, get a rolling pin that you can chill. I've used stainless steel and hollow glass (filled with ice water). Other than that, nthing what everyone else said.
posted by schyler523 at 8:18 PM on November 30, 2011

My mom uses refrigerated wine bottles (filled with water) for rolling out buttery doughs - works great for that, might work for you.
posted by ORthey at 8:56 PM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Very chilled dough - and if it's a sweet (like sugar cookies), I roll with icing sugar instead of flour.
posted by jb at 1:21 AM on December 1, 2011

Maybe I just learned from my old-school mom, but rather than parchment paper - or especially not silicone - I use a pastry cloth. Unfortunately, it's an excellent long-term solution, but the first time you use a new cloth isn't going to be great, it's really got to acquire layers of flour and oil that season the cloth kind of like a cast iron pan.
posted by aimedwander at 7:27 AM on December 1, 2011

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