For most cooks, there’s no need to have a true rolling pin. There are plenty of substitutes that you can use that you probably already have.
Most of us simply don’t use a rolling pin often enough to justify the space and weight that one takes up. I usually make drop biscuits and cookies, so don’t need one for those. Once or twice a year, I’ll make a pie and need to roll out the crust. And another time or two I’ll want to crush something. I’ve discovered there are plenty of “rolling pins” around — whether at home, on the boat or out camping!
For rolling dough:
- Wine bottle
- Drinking glass as Kelley on Sailing Chance did in the photo at top (read her blog here)
- Piece of PVC
- Thermos if it has smooth sides (my 34-ounce Thermos Nissan does pretty well)
- Soft drink can — it’s easier if it’s full; empty ones can collapse
- Water bottle (most have grooves in the sides, which will leave ridges that you can flatten with your fingers)
- Piece of dowel (1″ diameter or larger)
- Anything else that’s cylindrical with smooth sides!
Just be sure to wash the “rolling pin” off before using it. Despite the photo here, I usually put the food to be rolled between two sheets of waxed paper, with a little flour between the dough and the waxed paper. That way, I know the food is staying clean!
To crush things (such as making cracker crumbs):
- Put the food in a sealed, heavy-duty plastic bag and gently tap it with a hammer. Every boat has a hammer on board, doesn’t it?
- If you can’t find the hammer, or the “person in charge of authorizing hammer use” objects, you can use any of the above or any canned food.