My gingerbread recipe says I should rest the dough for 20 minutes in the refrigerator before rolling out and cutting. What difference does it make?

  • Could you tell us more about the recipe - what kind of flour is used?
    – KatieK
    Oct 11 '12 at 22:04

In most wheat-based recipes, gluten strands are formed while you work the dough. If you don't rest the dough, rolling can be more difficult and you may get a tougher texture in the final product.

Additionally, refrigerating the dough up to a certain point will firm up the fats in the recipe (butter, etc), which will make the dough less mushy and will making rolling out the dough evenly a bit easier. Unless the dough is so firm it becomes brittle, refrigeration will make the dough less fragile in most cases.

Perhaps less important, the moisture levels may become a bit more consistent throughout the dough as well.

  • 1
    It's not just gingerbread and other rolled cookies - chilling dough can make normal cookies easier to scoop, and definitely easier to round out by rolling between your hands.
    – Cascabel
    Sep 30 '11 at 6:09
  • 1
    Good answer. Also, chilling the dough will make it less likely to spread too much in the oven. This is especially important for something like gingerbread where you may be cutting it into shapes that you want to remain clear. Sep 30 '11 at 9:19

I think it really depends on your recipe. My favorite recipe http://oddsandhens.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/best-gingerbread-cookie-recipe works either way. I will say it is easier to roll out when chilled but not cold as this recipe is pretty thick due to flour etc. It also makes the dough less sticky.

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