While hand-crank dough sheeters have been indispensable kitchen tools for centuries, they manage to slip through the cracks as one of the least talked about kitchen appliances in existence. These under-appreciated gadgets are the foundation of so many favorites. You know those pizza crusts, pie crusts, laminated doughs, and tortillas you love so much? Well, most of them take at least one trip through a dough sheeter before hitting the oven.
- The Best Double Induction Cooktop – Consumer Reports for 2021
- The Best Electric Wok – Consumer Reports for 2021
- The Best Electric Griddle – Consumer Reports for 2021
- The Best Cake Decorating Kit – Consumer Reports for 2021
We set out to find the top manual crank dough sheeters. Here are the top contenders.
Topping off our list is this fabulous stainless steel sheeting system by Pastaline. The commercial-grade kitchen device is capable of producing smooth, even dough sheets while adhering to the strictest food safety regulations. It really doesn’t matter if you’re looking to make hundreds of ultra-thin fondant ribbons, or you want to make authentic New York pizza crust. Either way, you’re going to be blown away by the Pastaline.
This machine can be used with just about any type of dough, including pasta dough, fondant, gum paste, sugar paste, modeling chocolate, and flaky pastry dough. You can adjust the depth of the rollers to produce sheets ranging from 1 to 12 millimeters in thickness. The system works just like a hand-crank pasta machine. You make your dough, press it into the feed, and crank.
The system is Pastaline’s mini manual dough sheeter, or, in other words, their smallest offering. This 22-pound machine isn’t for baking beginners. It smooth and flattens dough with absolute precision. You can blend in color or produce even sheets. You can roll your dough in a fraction of the amount of time it takes to hand roll. You achieve better results with less hassle, less mess, and less wasted time.
Keep in mind that while the Pastaline mini is considered a compact model, you’re still going to need a large workspace where you can set it up. The sheeter does not have a large discharge plate. So, you’re going to want to place it somewhere alongside a clean, flat surface. This will give you ample room to stretch out your sheets.
- THickness range from 1 to 12 millimeters
- Measures 20x22x9 inches including the handle
- Weighs just 22 pounds
- Large ergonomic crank handle
- “From Italy with love”
The Marcato Atlas 150 is an Italian-made hand-crank pasta machine that is engineered to cut and roll traditional pasta, such as lasagna, fettuccine, and tagaloni. However, plenty of clever pastry chefs and cake decorators have used this stainless steel system to roll out small sheets of fondant and gum paste.
The roller produces 150-millimeter wide sheets at 10 different thicknesses. The thickness settings range from 0.6 to 4.8 millimeters. While the sheets are too thin to be cake coaters, they’re perfect for fondant petals, leaves, and other small details. Marcato makes a line of aftermarket pasta-cutting accessories. You might use the fettuccine or spaghetti cutter to produce thin fondant ribbons.
For now, we’re happy to find a compact, affordable kitchen gadget that could actually help us sheet dough. Whether you’re looking to make fondant petals or mini tortillas, this little pasta maker has your back. It may not be an authentic dough sheeter, but it certainly gets the job done. Since when have chefs frowned upon ingenuity?
- Durable stainless steel construction
- Comes with various pasta cutters
- Capable of producing small sheets of dough at varying thicknesses
- Not intended as a dough sheeter (at least for anything other than pasta dough)
After struggling to find hand-crank dough sheeters, we’re happy to announce that stainless steel pasta makers were the next best thing. The Gourmex is a manual, hand-crank pasta maker made from solid stainless steel. This little machine enables you to cut and roll small pieces of dough. It attaches to the side of a counter or tabletop with the help of a small metal clamp. However, it’s worth noting that a tool this hefty is not very likely to slip around on its own.
The Gourmex features seven adjustable thickness settings. The adjustable steel rollers help alleviate some of the labor and stress related to hand tolling. Create elegant fondant designs that are free from imperfections. The machine has a sleek chrome exterior. It comes apart for easier storage and transportation.
- Suitable for use with fondant and gum paste
- Double cutting heads for fettucini and spaghetti
- Comes with a removable metal grip and a matching handle
- Made from durable stainless steel
- Cuts and rolls
- Seven different thickness settings to choose from
- Not suitable for pizza dough or laminated dough
- Intended for pasta dough
Elevate your dough-based creations with the help of this full-sized hand-crank dough sheeter by Pastaline. The Sfogliafacile Maxi is a stainless steel dough rolling contraption that is approximately 35 inches wide (including the handle). This Italian-made baking tool allows you to accurately fine-tune the thickness of your dough sheets. There is no need for guesswork or eyeballing.
The Sfogliafacile Maxi can be used to roll fondant, sheet laminated dough, add colors to gum pastes, or press homemade tortillas. A wide feed tray makes it easy for you to add your chosen product. The gear-driven rollers do all the hard work. Just keep in mind that you will need at least two people around to catch those wide sheets as they are expelled from the opposite end of the sheeter.
The Sfogliafacile’s roller is 24 inches long. You can adjust the thickness of your sheets by a fraction of an inch. The device comes with two durable Dutch clips. As such, you can securely attach the sheeter to just about any horizontal surface in your kitchen.
The Sfogliafacile Maxi doesn’t come cheap. However, if you’re someone who sheets a lot of dough, this machine could be a lifesaver. It’s capable of pressing far more precise and error-free dough sheets than any rolling pin.
- Can produce sheets as wide as 24 inches
- Made from durable stainless steel
- Sits on a slip-resistant dycem and comes with a pair of reliable Dutch clips
- Highly versatile (make anything from fondant to croissant dough)
- Suitable for home baking setups, small businesses, and commercial settings
- “Made in Italy with love”
- You need an extra set of hands to catch fondant or dough sheets this large (it doesn’t have to be used at full capacity)
This stainless steel rolling pin is sure to make your dough sheeting a little easier. It’s perfect for pastry dough, pasta dough, pizza dough, and fondant. It has a smooth stainless steel exterior that releases even the stickiest of foods with ease. Moreover, thanks to the included mount, it can be attached to the edge of just about any counter or table.
The 12-inch rolling pin is attached to a small hinge. That hinge is attached to a precision ball bearing. The ball bearing rotates 360-degrees, enabling you to move around your food prep station. The stainless steel rolling pin lies just a fraction of an inch above the surface of the counter. You can adjust its height. However, you would have to use a ruler to perfect your adjustments, as the sheeter does not feature built-in metrics.
When the rolling pin is lying perpendicular to a table or counter, the wooden handle is vertical. This ergonomic setup enables users to roll dough faster and more efficiently. Since the rolling pin is made of stainless steel, its weight helps force stubborn pieces of dough down. All you have to do is guide the rolling pin in the direction of your choice. It does the rest of the heavy lifting.
It goes without saying that this device is not an authentic dough sheeter. Since manual dough sheeters only exist in a very small bubble, we thought we show you something similar. This crank-operated rolling pin is seriously ingenious. You’ll be able to produce large, even pieces of dough. That dough will be inevitably smoother and less error-dense.
If you’re a DIY cake decorator, this is the sheet roller you need. It will get hours out of your fondant rolling times. If they could, your back and shoulders would thank you.
- Made from food-grade 304 stainless steel
- Will save you effort and time
- An essential tool for any professional pastry chef or cake decorator
- Durable wooden handle
- Dough rolling machine for kids and adults alike
- Not an actual dough sheeter (though it does reduce the labor of rolling in much of the same way)
Rounding off our list is this incredible hand-crank dough sheeter by Innovative Products. The DKN E-Pro is a 19-inch dough rolling machine with adjustable thickness control. The DKN has a durable stainless steel and aluminum exterior as well as a nonstick stainless steel roller. You can manually adjust the cranks on either side in order to produce smooth, even sheets of dough at varying thicknesses.
The DKN comes with clamps that enable you to secure it to a kitchen bench or counter. It also features adjustable plastic knobs on both ends. Since there is no built-in measurement system, you need to eyeball your adjustments. However, you can easily set the thickness of the roller anywhere between 1/16 and 1/4 inches.
Keep in mind that most dough types require several passes through the machine before they can be deemed acceptable. Fortunately, the appliance has a large feeding tray, a large discharge table, and an ergonomic handle. We think it’s safe to say that while cranking is a requirement, the work barely compares to the labor-intense job of hand rolling.
The unit’s gears and sides are made from solid metal. As such, you don’t have to worry about any parts breaking. Since the sheeting system 19 inches wide, it can easily accommodate large pieces of dough. You should be able to create everything from cake-sized sheets of fondant to large pizzas. Of course, small dough sheets are a possibility as well.
The Maxi is the big brother of the Pastaline mini. The price increase is certainly going to be worth it to anyone who makes fondant cakes, pizzas, or tortillas for a living. It costs nothing compared to an electric dough sheeter. It’s more efficient, and it takes up less space.
- Durable stainless steel and aluminum exterior
- Roll out dough that this a 1/16 to 1/4 inch thick (adjustable on the left and right sides)
- Ideal for homemade pizza dough or fondant
- Suitable replacement for any rolling pin or pasta maker setup
- Spend less time and effort prepping your favorite dough-based creations
- Nonstick rollers take some of the hassle out of prep work
- Dough must be fed through the machine four times before it can be used
- You must eyeball the right and left thickness controls to ensure that they match (no way of knowing)
How to Choose the Best Manual Crank Dough Sheeter
When we first started scouting out hand-crank dough sheeters, we realized how many kitchen tools were available to consumers. We saw bakers, cake decorators, and chefs take to online message boards to commiserate over these all-too essential tools.
Many of the dough sheeters found online are actually homemade contraptions. Desperate culinary experts and clever entrepreneurs have used their skills to build makeshift machines out of milled metal and other precision parts. Even then, the devices manage to be expensive. Of course, they do offer standard consumer protections.
If you were looking for hard labor, you would have stuck with your rolling pin. Am I right? Opt for a hand-crank sheeter that eliminates some of the physical burdens.
Make sure the model you choose has an extended handle with a nonslip grip. You should be able to feed the machine your dough without picking up a sweat.
We’ve seen hand-crank dough rollers used to produce a spectrum of delicacies, including everything from fondant to croissant dough. The size, depth, and strength of your rolling mechanism dictate what types of dough you can roll out. For example, fondant has a lot more give than glutinous pizza dough.
Be on the lookout for:
- The width of the roller
- The thickness of the sheets being produced
These dimensions are going to dictate the width and thickness of your end products. In doing so, they’re going to determine how useful a product is for a particular application. For example, fondant and pasta are both around 1/8 inch thick. Meanwhile, croissant dough should be 3 to 5 millimeters thick. Of course, cracker-thin pizza (like the New York style we mentioned earlier) is about 1/4 inch thick after proofing and baking.
Keep an eye out for stainless steel and aluminum dough sheeters. Food-grade metals are durable enough to withstand regular and heavy usage. Whenever possible, opt for rust-resistant materials. Otherwise, you’ll have to work hard to prevent the rollers from corroding. Rust tends to flake off. When it does, it renders your doughs completely inedible.
Stability and Mounts
Your dough sheeter needs to be able to sit securely on a horizontal surface in your kitchen. Since you will be manually feeding cranking, and receiving the dough, you will not be able to manually stabilize the system. A solid hand-crank dough sheeter should either be heavy enough to stand on its own or come with some sort of vice or clips for more secure placement.
Feed tray and Discharge Table
Your dough sheeter should also have a deep feed tray and a long, wide discharge table. The feed tray gives you a place to stage your dough before you send it through the conveyor belt. The discharge table catches the freshly rolled dough sheets. If a sheeter does not have a long enough discharge table, the dough can become folded and tangled. Even systems with large enough discharge tables are not capable of holding the dough sheets forever. You may need an extra set of hands to receive and handle the butt end of the machine.
Ease of Cleaning
Hand-crank sheeters are too big for the dishwasher. You need to choose a device with durable, nonstick surfaces. This way, you’ll be able to wipe it down with a dry, soft cloth after each use. You won’t have to worry about rust or wear.
Some manufacturers recommend that you grease a sheeter. This can help free up food debris and flour that is trapped in the bearings. Keep in mind that any type of grease or vaseline you apply must be wiped away after it is applied. Otherwise, you risk contaminating your food.
What are hand-crank sheeters used for?
You should be able to use your dough sheeter with gum paste, fondant, modeling chocolate, pasta dough, flaky, laminated dough, and more. These devices serve as ergonomic alternatives to hand rollers. They allow you to press thin sheets of uniform dough at varying thicknesses. Some bakers even use their sheeters to incorporate color into gum paste and fondant.
If you’re going to sheet dough on a regular basis, you might as well invest in a tool that’s going to make the job a little easier. Since electric dough sheeters are well outside the budget of most consumers, we chose to focus on their more energy-efficient and affordable cousins: hand-crank dough sheeters.
The award for the best hand-crank dough sheeter goes to the Pastaline Mini. This phenomenal stainless steel kitchen appliance was designed to produce flawless sheets of fondant with laser-like precision. However, it could easily be used as a flaky pastry or modeling chocolate sheeter. We love that this setup is made from durable and hygienic stainless steel. A close runner up, the DKN 12-Inch Handcrank Dough Sheeter is the best hand-crank dough sheeter for individuals working on pizzas and pastries. While this machine requires a bit of practice and patience, you should be able to use it to produce large, uniform sheets in no time at all. We love the DKN allows you to adjust the thickness of your dough. Since the gears and rollers are all made from stainless steel, there’s very little risk that anything is going to break.
It can be frustrating to see how nonexistent manual dough sheeters really are. These systems have always been an integral part of any bakery setup. We would have thought that the rise of DIY breadmaking, cake decorating, and baking would have lead to an influx of manual dough sheeting machines. Since that’s not the case, we went ahead and got creative with our selections. Until you step up and build your own sheeter or invest in a commercial-grade electric system, these are going to be your best bets.
Are you looking for a machine that will take away some of the physical burdens of baking? What will you be using your hand-crank dough sheeter for? Drop your comments and questions in the comment section below.