Welcome to Baking Tips, an occasional series in which I whip up tips on how to become successful in the baker’s kitchen.

When it is summer above the belt, it is winter below the belt. Most people would rather stay indoors and bake up a storm of flavoursome biscuits for their kids, than subject themselves to the biting snow.

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One of the final steps in almost all biscuit recipes asks for the same tool. No baker’s tool belt is complete without a rolling pin. There are two kinds of rolling pins: roller and rod (no training wheels handles!). Rods come in several shapes, cylindrical or tapered and slender at the ends, to allow you to manoeuvre the dough to any desired thickness. Some rolling pins are textured with a pattern to emboss biscuits with elegant designs.

Rollers and rods are available in a number of materials. So, which material works best for you?

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Stainless steel, marble and granite — They are rather weighty, ranging from 1,5 kg to 3 kg (3 lbs to 6,5 lbs). Simply push the rolling pin over the dough and let gravity do most of the work. Depending on the dough, they may be too heavy. They can be chilled in the freezer for an hour prior to using. This will keep warm dough from becoming too attracted to the shiny rolling pin. The only disadvantage is cost. Oh, and they don’t come with a red velvet pillow for them.

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Wood, silicone and grotty plastic — They are inexpensive and unfortunately require more manual labour due to lightness. These materials are insensitive to temperature changes; they cannot maintain the coldness like metal and stone. Place a layer of parchment or wax paper over the dough and roll away. The paper acts as a barrier to prevent stickiness. The only disadvantage is that they are prone to wear and tear. If your wooden rolling pin is scratched beyond recognition, sand it with a fine sandpaper. Wash it well before using.

Keep in mind, warm dough can stick to countertops. It is recommended to use a layer of parchment or wax paper or a large silicone baking mat over the countertop. It is a common mistake to use a copious amount of flour to fix the stickiness. Doing so just adds more flour to the dough. This will result in unpleasantly dry and crumbly biscuits.

When rolling the dough, try not to use too much force. Otherwise you will squeeze the air out of the hapless dough. If you accidentally made paper from the dough, try letting it rest to rise a little before shaping. There’s not much you can do about the damage but hope your flat biscuits won’t be harder than stone.

Cheers! :)