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Growing up with a Southern grandma who loves baking (and does it for a living) is one of the sweetest perks life could have given me. My childhood was sprinkled with delicious desserts during the holidays and on my birthday — and sometimes just because she was in the mood to turn on her oven. With these yummy treats also came years of baking tips, tricks and advice she typically only shared with me. (She’s retired now, but she was a professional baker for as long as I can remember, so if there’s anyone to follow around the kitchen, it’s her.) But because my grandma is the nicest person I know, she agreed to let me divulge one of her easiest pie-making hacks: using a dough map.
The key to her perfect pie crusts lies in this one inexpensive baking tool, the beloved silicone pie map that I see her use every Thanksgiving and Christmas. The map, which looks like something you’d see at a construction site or on an architect’s desk, acts as a visual guide for rolling and cutting pie crust, biscuits, pizza dough and other breads. It’s printed with circular measurements in inches, which will help guide you to an evenly round pie every time.
Also called a pastry mat, the map is reusable and has a great grip on the bottom to keep it from sliding around while you’re working. It‘s also nonstick, so cleanup is a thousand times easier (and it’s dishwasher-safe). The map comes in three sizes — 16 inches by 26 inches, 20 inches by 28 inches and 36 inches by 24 inches — to accommodate all of your baking needs. It can also be used as a baking mat since it’s safe to use in an oven up to 470 degrees; just be sure to place it in a baking pan first. You don’t even have to worry about finding a spot to store it when you’re done because it easily rolls up and comes with a band to secure it.
So, now that I’ve let you in on my grandma’s not-so-secret secret to achieving a perfectly shaped pie, I figure you’re ready to add one to your cart — but if you’re not convinced yet, see what other users had to say:
“I hated using my counters for making dough as the flour would just get everywhere. So I decided to purchase this mat and it has made my life so much easier. I can easily place this mat on my counter, kneed my dough, and then wash it after I’m done without having to clean up flour from every crevice of my counters.” — Bisma Iqbal
“Love this!! This is so easy and cleanup is a snap. It never slides on countertop, has measurements so rolling out the right size crust means less waste and work, and storing it involves very little space. I love baking and find myself doing more of what I love because this mat makes it so much easier.” — Mary R.
“I had a hard plastic pie mat that broke recently. This was purchased as a replacement. It’s easier to use and nothing sticks to it! I’ve already made pizza crusts, bread, and 2 apple pies using this mat. I like the guides and the size of it. It doesn’t slide around like my old mat. I’m still figuring out the most efficient way to clean it and think wiping it off with some soapy water and then rinsing it/wiping it with a sponge or cloth while it’s flat is the easiest way. The other way is in the sink & then rolling it with a dishtowel in it to dry it. I like that it rolls up for storage and has a band to hold it closed – if you lose it, a clean rubber band works. I still put some flour on it when I’m rolling a stickier dough, but have no problems with sticking. LOVE IT!” — Barbara F. Kelly