When you want to achieve an even thickness for pastry or dough, a rolling pin is going to be the only way to go. Because it covers a much larger area than your palms or fingers can, it is not only easier to stretch out your dough, but it is easier to evenly distribute pressure over the dough and make sure it’s an even thickness. The only problem arises when you want to achieve a particular thickness – as many recipes call for to ensure consistent and even baking – and a rolling pin alone doesn’t give you any indication of when to stop rolling.
One possible solution is to have a ruler on hand to give you a general indication of when your dough is 1/4-inch thick, or when your puff pastry is 1/8-inch thick, eventually learning to “eyeball it” through trial and error. Another, easier, solution is to keep a set of Rolling Pin Rings with your pin. These rings are similar to rubber bands, but less elastic and much thicker. They will slide over the ends of almost any rolling pin, giving you a handy measure of thickness to compare your dough to; when they’re in place, the rings prevent the rolling pin from rolling the dough any thinner. The set includes 4 pairs of rings that measure 3/8-inch, 1/4-inch, 1/8-inch and 1/16-inch.