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Whether using a serrated or straight knife, this seems to be a problem. I end up reshaping them by hand on the cookie sheet so they are round instead of oval.

Is there a way to slice the dough to prevent this flattening?

PS: I should clarify that the chilled dough is in a roll shape.

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

Two things.

Use a sharper knife. Don't chop, but slice gently. Let the weight of the blade do the cutting.

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Use a length of plain dental floss instead of a knife to slice: Wrap the floss around the roll, cross the ends of the floss over each other, and then pull the ends down and out to the sides to slice through the log.

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I use string, not floss, but it's the same idea. I make tiny round cookies every Christmas, and that's how I cut them - they're made by slicing a "log" of refrigerated dough very thinly. – JustRightMenus Jul 26 '10 at 18:23
I suspect a cheese wire would work, too. – derobert Jun 23 '11 at 20:32
Yes, dental floss is a poor man's cheese wire. – Ray Jun 28 '11 at 11:39
@derobert -- a cheesewire likely won't be the same, as the trick isn't to use it to slice, but to wrap it around the log and pull, so you're applying pressure from all sides at once. – Joe Jun 28 '11 at 15:39

If you roll the log of dough while you're cutting it, it'll remain round.

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When slicing, turn the roll about a quarter turn after each slice. Also be sure to handle the dough as little as possible, and perhaps try heating your knife under hot water.

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Try freezing the dough instead of just refrigerating it.

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Cover your hands with plastic gloves (food safe). Hands are warm and heat the dough quickly making it difficult to keep the desired round shape.

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Perhaps not totally what you asked, but a cookie scoop / small ice cream scoop works great to create uniform balls of dough which cook down into nice round cookies.

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