This Dough-Cutting Hack Shows How to Roll Your Dough into a Perfect Rectangle
"Show me the life hack you randomly saw one day that is not an unconscious standard practice in your life." If you hang out in TikTok world, you've probably heard this line played over hundreds of hacks used around the world. Thanks to social media posts like this, I've learned how to wrap leftovers into a handheld meal, make boxed cake mix taste gourmet, and even decorate double the amount treats with a single can of frosting. The latest food hack I couldn't wait to try is a dough-cutting hack. All you do is cut an "X" into a ball of dough and it magically allows you to roll out a rectangle with ease. The bakers on social media (myself included) were blown away by never thinking to do this, considering the video already has 3.3 million views. I mean, think of how easy this will make rolling out the dough for cinnamon rolls?!
Though I was anxious to see if this trick worked, I noticed a comment saying this method might be harmful to the dough in that it would cut through gluten. I asked an expert in our Test Kitchen if this would affect the dough in any way. I'd hate to ruin that precious dough I made and proofed. Luckily, the Test Kitchen said there is nothing wrong with cutting dough that is already kneaded and proofed. That assurance gave me the green light to venture into my kitchen to whip up some dough. Here's how it went.
Since it was Mardi Gras this week (I was born in New Orleans), I decided to make a small batch of French Market beignets to celebrate the occasion. Once my dough proofed, I used a sharp knife ($110, Williams Sonoma) to cut a pretty deep "X" into the ball. I grabbed my rolling pin ($9, Target) and to my surprise, the dough was going in the proper directions while rolling, making a large rectangle to cut my beignets for frying.
Before now, I always struggled rolling dough into a rectangle because the ball wanted to make a circle (which is fine, when you're making pie pastry). This dough-cutting hack is a simple trick I will definitely use in the future. (These cinnamon rolls are next on my list!) When chatting with our Test Kitchen, they thought really stiff doughs might still be hard to roll using this hack. If this happens to you, try flattening the dough ball out to a square shape and then roll from there.