Idea To Share Re: Calculating Dough/minimizing Re-Rolling

Baking By TracyLH Updated 21 Jun 2009 , 12:46pm by TracyLH

TracyLH Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 2:13pm
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Hi! icon_biggrin.gif Please excuse that I am not very versed at trying to load pics in the forum, but the following idea worked very well for me and I thought I would share in case it helps someone else.

I came up with this idea for two reasons:
1) I wanted to see how much dough I needed for a large number of hockey cookies I needed to do.
2) I wanted to get as many cookies as I could out of a sheet of rolled dough as I try to minimize rerolling as that affects the density of the dough and thus the tenderness, spreading, etc. I really need the cookies to be consistent in size and texture. As this was a large cutter, there was not a lot of dough cutting room flexibility (if that makes sense).

My old plan of just roll it out to a rectangle wasnt going to cut it with the 40 plus large hockey cookies I needed to do, so I needed more of a precise plan. This worked so well for me that now I do this idea with each of my cookie designs. thumbs_up.gif

So to start
First, I mix up my dough. I am currently using a version of NFSC and I know the weight of the finished dough. I divide it into two by weighing it and work with one piece at a time.

In the instance shown below, I was working with a cutter that was approximately 5 1/2 x 5. Here is what I came up with for this particular cutter:

Step 1: I laid out my cutter and calculated the height I needed in order to get two cookies vertically (this was just a tall cutter, so you will get more with a smaller one). I then did the same going across. In this case, I measured to get two cookies down and three cookies across. If you look at this one in particular, my cutter gets flipped when I cut the bottom row, so thus the curved edge on the bottom left. I use a long ruler to mark these lines with a Sharpie marker on the back of freezer paper, as that is what I roll my dough out on.

23 replies
TracyLH Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 2:14pm
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Step 2: I then flipped the freezer paper so the ink was on the other side and used my hands to start to get the dough in place in a rough rectangular form.

TracyLH Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 2:16pm
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Step 3: I covered it with plastic wrap (depending upon the size of your rectangle you may need to overlap with two pieces). I rolled out to the measurement lines I had made. This one extended a bit, but that is fine. You can lift up the dough and trim to the line if you need to place the dough in another area in order to fill it in if you need to fill the drawn rectangle. With this one, I had a bit extra, but on others it can be pretty tight. I chill the dough again until firm and am ready to cut!

TracyLH Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 2:17pm
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To wrap it up, with this idea I know exactly how many cookies I can get out of sheet of dough and minimize re-rolling. I also wipe off one of the freezer paper templates and keep it in case I have shapes in the future that are this size and then I can make a new template off of it to use for that batch. For new designs with different recangle dimesions, I keep one of each of those templates as well, so now I have a good stock of different rectangular shapes in different heights and widths that many times will carry over to be the same measurements for future designs. icon_smile.gif

Also, as they show me measurements of how much one sheet of dough will roll out to, I can get an idea of how much dough I will need for a particular design. Additionally, by being more precise and not having made it too narrow, etc., I can get more cookies out of a sheet and reduce or eliminate re-rolling for that particular design. The re-rolled dough becomes practice cookies, prototype cookies for other designs or something for the family to snack on (which they always appreciate!).

Hope this helps someone! icon_biggrin.gif

sarah0418 Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 2:21pm
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WOW! TracyLH, thank you so much for that GREAT tip!!!
so, when you use the freezer paper, does that eliminate any need for flour for rolling out the dough?

verono Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 2:23pm
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That's very nice ! ! icon_smile.gif

TracyLH Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 2:29pm
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You are welcome! icon_smile.gif
Sarah - A biggie for me is to use very, very minimal additional flour, if at all. When I feel a need too, I just use a very scant amount. Here is what I do. If my dough is pretty sticky (humidity or the butter was really soft), I pop the dough first in the fridge for a short period of time to firm up a bit before starting. That helps a lot. I do the steps above. When I bring it my final chilled sheets of dough out of the fridge, I flip them over and pull off the freezer paper and wipe it off with a paper towel. There will not be much dough on there at all, but it gives less for the dough to 'hold on to' once I replace the sheet. I then use a large pastry brush to tap a very small amount of flour above the dough and then I quickly brush it across the surface and then brush it all off. You really don't see any flour. This creates an easier surface to get my cookie off once it is cut out. Place the freezer paper back on, flip it and cut.. Super easy to get the cookies off which really helps, especially when cutting them by hand. Sometimes though, I don't need to do the tiny bit of flour step and just flipping it and wiping off the freezer paper before replacing does the trick! icon_smile.gif

sarah0418 Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 2:55pm
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thank you so much for all the tips. I will have to get some freezer paper and try that technique for my next batch! I never thought of using freezer paper before. Thanks again!!

Bellatheball Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 4:43pm
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I've found that to be helpful as well. I always roll my dough out on parchment paper and with a silicone roller. This almost completely eliminates the need for any additional flour. I've been able to reroll dough 2 or 3 times without it getting tough.

TracyLH Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 9:01pm
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Oh, Bella - someone else who is Type A like me! icon_lol.gif Thanks for the idea about the parchment paper. thumbs_up.gif I must have had 'operator error' (that happens!) as my paper crinkled when I rolled it, so I will try again. I guess the freezer paper worked well for me as it was larger than the parchment, but if I can get the crinkle issue worked out, I will give this a whirl for smaller rectangles or maybe I can find larger parchment paper. The brand I have been finding is rather narrow.

May I ask, where did you find your silicone rolling pin? I am using the 20" Wilton fondant rolling pin that claims to be non-stick, but isn't quite so much so with my cookie dough. icon_lol.gif

Thanks again for your help and great info! icon_biggrin.gif

Bellatheball Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 9:18pm
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Tracey, I get my parchment paper at the grocery store. It's way cheaper than Wilton. I don't know the dimensions offhand but it's probably 10-12 inches wide. Sometimes I tape the parchment to my counter which helps with the crinkle issue. Once I've rolled the dough out once, there's enough "grease" on the silicone roller that I don't have to use a top sheet of parchment.

My silicone roller came from a local kitchen store. I can look at it tonight to get the name. It's fabulous though. It's at least 16-18 inches long and it has really good weight to it so rolling out dough is a breeze. It's bright pink too. icon_biggrin.gif My husband bought it for me for Mother's Day and was worried I'd beat him with it. LOL. I had to try hard to convince him it's the perfect present for me.

TracyLH Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 10:23pm
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Thanks, Bella! It sounds like your parchment is as wide as mine is. I will have to check out that silicone roller once you have the name. Thanks in advance for checking.

What a fun gift! And pink too! thumbs_up.gif I asked my DH to make me a cookie cooling rack for Mother's Day. Hey, we know what we like! Of course, I wonder if he did it as a toy for me or so he can get the dining room table back! icon_lol.gif

bonniebakes Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 10:34pm
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thanks, Tracy - this is wonderful!

I roll my dough out between sheets of waxed paper, then stick in it the fridge for a while, so no additional flour is needed (and my rolling pin stays nice and clean!).

TracyLH Posted 10 Jun 2009 , 1:00pm
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This is great to hear what others are doing! Alas, I must have serious operator error as when I tried wax paper, I had the same crinkle problem. My dough must not have as much flour in it as this must be the issue.

I guess the big/new thing for me is the measuring aspect as that is what helps me. icon_biggrin.gif

Bellatheball Posted 10 Jun 2009 , 1:44pm
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Shoot Tracy, the night got away from me and I forgot to look at my rolling pin. I'll do it tonight.

mis Posted 10 Jun 2009 , 5:40pm
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I also roll my dough out on a silicone mat with wax paper on top so I don't need to add extra flour. I find the silicone mat stays put better and doesn't wrinkle when rolling out the cookies and they pop off easier after they are in the freezer for a few minutes.

TracyLH Posted 10 Jun 2009 , 6:51pm
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Thanks, Mis! Great idea! thumbs_up.gif

luv2bake6 Posted 10 Jun 2009 , 8:24pm
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TracyLH, i have a silicon rolling pin as well. I don't remember where i got it online but if you google SILPIN (that's the name of it), there will be plenty of soureces.

dandelion56602 Posted 11 Jun 2009 , 3:58am
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Keep an eye out at TJ Maxx or Marshall's for the Silpin rollers. A LOT cheaper than other places.

I too am anal. (sorry for calling people anal---that's what I'm called). Actually on the brink of OCD w/ some things. I use wax paper most of the time b/c it's soooo cheap. I do sometimes encounter the wrinkling of the wax paper. I think I've discovered that if you only roll in one direction (which is what Martha Stewart says your suppose to do anyway) that it doesn't wrinkle up. I've also used parchment (Reynolds is very wide & cheaper & you can get coupons a lot). Also used freezer paper.

I haven't measured though, but would like to start so I can know how many cookies I can get w/ a batch of dough. I use to use NFSC but had sooo many problems. I use one similar, but less finicky.

Would you mind sharing the weight of your dough, thickness of your cookies & how many "normal" say 3" square cookies you get out of one batch. Or did you answer that & I totally miss it. I don't get orders for cookies yet but make them for gifts this could be really helpful for me! Thanks for the enlightenment.

TracyLH Posted 11 Jun 2009 , 1:34pm
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Thanks, Luv2bake! I think I will have to wait a bit as I already have three diffenent rolling pins icon_redface.gif , but once I can justify spending the money, I know where to find it. Thanks again! thumbs_up.gif

Dandelion - Scales can be calibrated a bit differently, but for me with the same amount of flour, butter, sugar as the NFSC, a half batch that I roll out once I have divided it in two is 1 lb 13 1/2 oz.. However, my 6 cups is a bit light on the flour (I use 1 lb. 10 3/4 oz of flour for the whole batch) and I may be increasing that a tad to help combat spreading, but that is what I use for now. Also, some flours weigh more than others. I use Gold Medal Unbleaches as it is low in gluten (so a more tender cookie) and that is one that Cook's Illustrated recommended for cookies. I tried the Pillsbury and preferred the Gold Medal. So the weight can be affected by the flour you use. I think it is best to do a batch on your scale to see wht yours comes up as.

I just pulled out one of my tempates and with the one I had, I would be able to get 16 3" cookies with a bit of dough left over.

As for thickness, I juse the Wilton rolling guages (or whatever they are called) with a green one on top of a blue one - about 1/4".

Hope that helps!

Bellatheball Posted 12 Jun 2009 , 3:34am
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Tracy, it's a Silpin rolling pin. Best money I've spent on cake/cookie stuff.

TracyLH Posted 12 Jun 2009 , 11:30am
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Thanks, Bella! icon_biggrin.gif

Pebbles13 Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 3:35am
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I wanted to let you all know that I used Tracy's measuring/rolling out technique and it worked like a charm thumbs_up.gif My sister-in-law (fellow CC'er Denyse) and I are making 180 wedding cookies, so I had a chance to try out her idea. There was definitely a lot less excess dough and I was able to get the maximum amount of cookies out of each roll. This meant less scraps to re-roll, and therefore, better quality cookies. Thanks, Tracy icon_smile.gif

I roll out my dough on freezer paper, which I place on top of a silpat rolling mat so the paper doesn't slip. I place Saran Wrap over the top, then roll. I use an Oxo Good Grips rolling pin, which is supposed to be non-stick but once in a while dough sticks to it, so I use the plastic wrap to prevent that. Other than that, I love the rolling pin because it has a heavy, balanced weight to it so it does most of the work for you. It has a generous-sized barrel (12"), so I can roll out decent sizes of dough, and the handles are very comfortable. I bought one of these for Denyse, and she loves it as well. They have them at Bed Bath and Beyond for about 29.00 and you can use a 20% coupon. I highly recommend this rolling pin icon_smile.gif I also recommend giving Tracy's method a try!

Thanks again, Tracy, for sharing your ideas with us icon_smile.gif

TracyLH Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 12:46pm
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Oh, I am glad you posted this! I completely forgot to say that I roll mine out with a silpat mat underneath. Same idea - no slippage. Thanks, Tricia! icon_biggrin.gif

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