What do pie crust, rolled cookies, puff pastry and Danish dough all have in common? At some point in the recipe you will be rolling them out on a flour-dusted surface. Dough is often a bit sticky and needs help; you want to roll it out to the desired thickness or thinness without it sticking to your counter top. Some bakers use pastry cloths or roll dough between sheets of parchment paper, and sometimes we will employ these methods, but the basic technique just uses your work surface, a bit of flour and a rolling pin.
The key is to use just enough flour to keep your pastry or dough from sticking, and not any more. Extra flour will become incorporated into your dough and make it tough, so it is best to start with a light dusting. You can certainly use your fingertips to sprinkle some flour as evenly as possible over your work surface, but we love our flour wand. First of all, it just looks really cool – and no one knows what it is, so it can be a conversation piece – but we are all about function and this old-fashioned tool does its job well.
It might look like a torture device, but it is actually quite handy and simple to use. To use, squeeze the two handles inward; this action releases the tightly coiled spring head, which you then dip into a container of flour (usually all-purpose, unless stated otherwise). Then, release the pressure on the handle and the spring closes shut, capturing the flour inside. You can now hold the flour wand over your counter top and control the amount of flour that flows out by the pressure you apply on the handles.
In the image above, we used a flour wand to dust our surface with flour and also to lightly dust the top of the cookie dough before and during rolling. You can see how evenly and lightly the flour is dispersed. On the top part of the dough, we used our hands to spread the flour into an even layer during subsequent passes with the rolling pin.
Do you need a flour wand? No, but once you have one you will use it whenever this technique is required, as it simply does it better than anything else, fingers included. P.S. We don’t usually wash ours, as some are prone to rusting. We simple shake it clean of flour and wipe it off with a soft cloth.