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This Simple Silicone Mat Takes the Stress Out of Pie Baking

The Sili Bake pastry mat includes helpful measurements that make dough wrangling feel a little less daunting

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A woman kneads dough on a flour-covered surface
A pastry mat would make this baker’s next steps a bit easier.
Alex Tihonovs/Shutterstock
Monica Burton is the deputy editor of

I’m one of those people who much prefers baking to cooking. I like the clearly outlined steps and the fact that there’s little room for improvisation — and thus, my thinking goes, little room for messing up. This last thought is misguided, of course; there’s lots of room for messing up in baking, particularly when it comes to dealing with dough.

But working with dough as someone who proclaims to enjoy baking is unavoidable, especially if one aspires to make pies, and who wouldn’t? Pies are great. When I started baking pies, I found the whole process mildly stressful. There was anxiety over achieving the exact right consistency of flour and butter, adding too much (or too little) water to bring it all together, and then not making a mess of it all when it was time to roll out the dough and form it into the correct shape on the pie plate.

For this last step, I now have help in the form of a Sili Bake pastry mat.

 Sili Bake pastry mat

The silicone pastry mat was a Christmas present from my mom years ago. I honestly thought she had confused it with the more ubiquitous Silpat silicone baking mat (sorry, Mom) and wasn’t quite sure how useful it could be — until I started baking pies.

Pastry mats, unlike the Silpat, include a constellation of measurements and instructions for rolling out the perfect pastry dough. There are inches across the top (practical for when I’m rolling out, say, 10 inches of babka dough) and, in the center, circles measuring out the circumferences, between 5 and 10 inches, for pie crust. The Sili Bake mat also has rows of smaller circular outlines for those who are meticulous about their cookies.

While they may not be necessary for those with superhuman spatial sense, these clearly delineated guidelines have greatly improved my dough-handling abilities and made me a more confident baker. One of the few just-use-your-best-judgment moments of baking now has a structure.

A bonus: Instead of blanketing my one free square foot of counter space with flour, the mat provides a designated surface for rolling out dough, making cleanup in my New York City kitchen just a bit quicker.