How To: Easily Measure Pastry Thickness

I’m new to baking, so this tip might be well known to everyone – in which case, apologies. I just discovered it the other day.

A British Pound coin is 3mm thick. Two of them stacked measures 6mm.

If you’re making a thin pastry or dough, its thickness is often stated as 3mm (millimetres), or occasionally 5mm.

I find it nearly impossible to measure 3mm using a ruler or measuring tape on my work surface because the first few millimetres are either blank or covered with a metal L-shape bracket. So when I want to measure something of such a delicate and thin height, I just nudge a Pound coin up to it and either eye the comparison or feel the height using my straightened index finger. This worked brilliantly for me when I made Dan Lepard’s Extra-Crispy Rye Breads.

And, yes, I know that coins carry all sorts of germs, so just drop it into a cup of freshly boiled water. Alternatively, smear hand-sanitising gel on it and allow it to air dry before nudging it against the dough.

No more twisting my head sideways and squinting at a ruler!

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. That’s a fabulous trick. Like you I always struggle. In the end I usually shrug and say oh that looks about right. But sometimes accuracy would be a good thing 🙂

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      I know people who can just glance at an object and tell you its measurements, like my husband … but not me. No way. And when you have specs hanging off the bridge of your nose it can be difficult to read a ruler when your head is tilted all sideways.

  2. Kristen says:

    I think using a coin is positively brilliant. I am going to raid my son’s coin collection. I think he might have some that thick.

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      Hi Kristen, and welcome! I hope that you find those coins because it sure makes measuring pastry thickness a lot easier. 🙂

  3. Joanna says:

    that’s useful to know, thanks 🙂

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      I instantly thought of you when I discovered this, all of the to’ing and fro’ing with measuring rolled dough when the shortandtweeters made Dan’s Extra Crispy Rye flatbreads. 🙂 I saw a rolling pin with detachable measuring disks on the handle that looked interesting the other day, too.

      1. Joanna says:

        I was only messing about that day, it was just for fun 😉 Brian getting his measuring whotsits out of the garage. Occasionally I measure the length and width of pastry if I’m trying to follow one of Dan’s recipes or make something that has to be cut to a certain number of pieces or rolled up. Today I made some very soft dough which had yoghurt and butter in it, but I didn’t follow any recipe at all. It started as a boule, then I changed my mind and made some cut pieces, a bit like those muffins, and then I had some left over, which I rolled out very thin and cooked on a dosa pan as a sort of roti flatbread which we had with some minestrone. Nothing measured at all apart from by eye. Another fine muddle, flour everywhere, dishes in the sink….

        1. Misk Cooks says:

          When I’m making one of Dan’s recipes that requires the dough be flattened out to a specific measurement, I just lightly dust the worktop with flour, mark the measurements into the flour with a straight line using my finger, and then roll it out keeping within the marked lines.

          One day, Joanna, just like you, I’ll be able to make bread without any recipe using ingredients other water or milk as fluids. One day. For now though, I’ll just keep to the instructions until I understand completely how one ingredient plays nice with another. It will come. One day. Lots of trials and errors, I reckon.

  4. Sue Smith says:

    Great idea !!!!!!!

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