Rolling, shaping, and dividing: Is a marble board ever worse than wood?


MixUp

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After a long hiatus I'm trying to line up my ducks to be able to get back into the groove of baking. Easier said than done. I got most of everything lined up and then stumbled into my achilles heel I forgot about. My surface for rolling, shaping and dividing. I don't generally hand-knead, so I don't see it as a kneading board. I'm going to try to force everything through a 6qt KA once again due to counter space limits. I do still have a DLX around if I need it and can find room for it. I generally only hand knead if it's a very high hydration dough that can only be stretched & folded.

However for both pasta and bread of all hydrations, I have an issue this time. I used to use a Roul'pat on the table. I never really loved it. It got the job done but everything still stuck to it, I still needed to use copious amounts of flour to keep it from sticking, and when it sticks it wants to lift and move the mat around. "No flour" they said. "Non-stick" they said. Pfft. Between my pins, hands, and mat, I'd have flour everywhere.

This time that workspace for the mat no longer exists. Other kitchen equipment more vital occupies that space. So what I need now is a rigid surface that I can set up on a folding serving stand when working dough. I've narrowed it down to two choices, both (around) 16x24: A marble board, and a wood (possibly bamboo just due to sizing etc.)

Traditionally it seems the bread world almost always goes with wood, but I'm wondering if there's a specific reason marble is avoided or if it's just a matter of cost/convenience and that marble isn't necessary unless we're dealing with butter pastries that need to stay cold?

Ideally I'd like to keep the flour use to a minimum where possible - it was excessive with the silicone and I'm not sure the "non-stick" silicone was actually SAVING any flour use vs wood. I don't know where marble and a good scraper come in in comparison.

So far the way I see it is this:

Wood Pros:
-Lighter weight - easier to pick up and put away between uses.
-Backsplash maybe keeps the mess more contained (hopefully?)
-Easier to clean - at under 10lb just take to to the sink and brush it off.
-Can get one with a juice groove that maybe also contains flour more on the board than off the sides.

Wood Cons:
-Lighter weight - easier to tip over while rolling.
-More cumbersome to store with lips and backsplashes unless going with a plain flat cutting board.
-Easier to damage bringing it up and down - easier to mar with things like scrapers and biscuit cutters for non-yeasted doughs.
-More maintenance: Oiling.
-More flour use?
-Might lift and move with dough stuck to it.

Marble Pros:
-Heavier - more likely to stay planted and not fall over when rolling.
-Zero maintenance
-Cleanup to the sink is heavier to carry but overall easier- just scrape and brush.
-Resilient to metal scrapers and cutters
-Stores mostly flat (plus feet) versus the cumbersome lipped wood boards
-Less flour use?
-Heavy so it probably won't lift up if dough sticks to it.

Marble Cons:
-Heavier - more annoying to hoist and drop.
-Only comes flat so no backsplashes, maybe more likely to make a mess with flour running off the edges - maybe less issue if less flour used.
- Maybe something I don't know about bread dough and marble?

Silicone doesn't work without a surface to put it on now, but included anyway:
Silicone Pros:
-Space saving, rolls up.
-Not much else, really.

Silicone Cons:
-Seems to need tons and tons of flour anyway. Same as wood? Worse?
-Can't use a metal bench scraper at all, so you're stuck peeling dough off it or chintzy plastic.
-Wants to lift and move any time the dough gets stuck to it, which is almost always.
-Difficult to clean. Flour sticks to it, doesn't fit in the sink well, doesn't dry well.


I feel like Silicone probably works best of all with butter pastry despite not being cold. It never impressed me for lean doughs.
 
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retired baker

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I suspect marble will suck all the heat from the dough and stunt the yeast, its worse than working on stainless steel.
Putting heavy marble on a folding table is just suicide . At worst you get a broken toe and broken marble.

Home kitchens are the absolute pit for efficient baking, counter space is a waste of space and gather clutter, providing no foot relief leading to sore backs due to having to lean over slightly.
I find I can't get anything done, theres never enough room.
In the spring I'm hoping to install a convection oven and a big 6x3 foot stainless table with backsplash.
 

MixUp

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I'd seen a lot of mixed comments on the materials, but I did think about that. I was stuck so much on the sticking I wasn't thinking of the famous cool surface being actively bad for bread.

I ended up getting a good deal on a nice wood board. Thick one...fits on the table (mostly) well. I just have to figure out if I want to oil it with a wax or not. Some people seem to love bare wood for dough, some say fats get in and get rancid if you do that which makes more sense to me. Plus, wood doesn't like being bare in areas with humidity swings. So oil is a must - I usually like the Boos oil & cream pair with the beeswax and carnauba wax in it. It's wonderful on my cutting boards and espresso handles. Run the bench scraper over it and you get a nice waxpaper/parchment-like surface until it wears off. I just don't know if that's smart for a dough board (when I get down to highly enriched doughs I might be glad for it though.)

Oh boy, I agree with the space! I have a postage stamp kitchen. Kitchenette? Mini-kitchen? Telephone booth with a sink? I have a 1/2 sheet convection oven in the dining room on a stand/cabinet that's my main bread & cookie oven (I might invest in some Emile Henry bakers so I can stop dealing with trying to spray bread in the oven and end up getting a face full of hot steam blown by a big fan), but 90% of the time I use my countertop oversized toaster oven. The Cadcos were way cheaper back when I bought it - and the build, IMO is a bit sloppy for the money. Made in Italy........ Maybe next time I'd try the Waring or Vollrath. User reviews aren't great for those either.

I got into baking by way of the coffee world, actually - so my espresso setup really takes center stage. Several behemoth commercial espresso grinders, a big machine, tamping station, tools, cups, measuring instruments all take the little room I have. I built an elevated platform out of an induction hob and buffet stand with a cutting board on it with the mixer next to that....but it gives me EXACTLY enough working space for prep bowls and one mixer bowl on a scale. The pastry board sitting out will give me barely enough room to turn sideways and squeeze, tightly, to get to the sink and countertop oven. Not sure where the proofing box goes....probably on the espresso table with moving stuff aside. Or put it atop the kneading board if I don't need the sink for a while. Mise en some-other-place. The floor is valid workspace. stepping over (or into) bowls must be acceptable. It's not easy. Though baking, I find works better than cooking. At least I *can* do the prep work ahead and keep the bowls organized versus cooking with chopping and splattering, and things generally going all over the place in real time. So I just consume only grains and sugars, and never produce and meat. That's a good thing, right?

The Electrolux DLX sits behind a panel - if I take it out, something else must go. And it has to share temporary table space with the scales and the grain mill. And the grain mill replaced my storage bins of additives like buttermilk powder, malt, and vital wheat gluten.

That stainless table sounds absolutely heavenly. Someday I'll replace the kitchen table with a (much smaller, L-shaped stainless setup. No backsplash though. It wouldn't fit under the window sill. I think I have to spread out the baking gear into other rooms. I could sleep on the kneading board and use the couches as blankets. Bannetons for hats.

Everything is fair so long as I don't have to stand on the scales....
 

retired baker

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I'd seen a lot of mixed comments on the materials, but I did think about that. I was stuck so much on the sticking I wasn't thinking of the famous cool surface being actively bad for bread.

I ended up getting a good deal on a nice wood board. Thick one...fits on the table (mostly) well. I just have to figure out if I want to oil it with a wax or not. Some people seem to love bare wood for dough, some say fats get in and get rancid if you do that which makes more sense to me. Plus, wood doesn't like being bare in areas with humidity swings. So oil is a must - I usually like the Boos oil & cream pair with the beeswax and carnauba wax in it. It's wonderful on my cutting boards and espresso handles. Run the bench scraper over it and you get a nice waxpaper/parchment-like surface until it wears off. I just don't know if that's smart for a dough board (when I get down to highly enriched doughs I might be glad for it though.)

Oh boy, I agree with the space! I have a postage stamp kitchen. Kitchenette? Mini-kitchen? Telephone booth with a sink? I have a 1/2 sheet convection oven in the dining room on a stand/cabinet that's my main bread & cookie oven (I might invest in some Emile Henry bakers so I can stop dealing with trying to spray bread in the oven and end up getting a face full of hot steam blown by a big fan), but 90% of the time I use my countertop oversized toaster oven. The Cadcos were way cheaper back when I bought it - and the build, IMO is a bit sloppy for the money. Made in Italy........ Maybe next time I'd try the Waring or Vollrath. User reviews aren't great for those either.

I got into baking by way of the coffee world, actually - so my espresso setup really takes center stage. Several behemoth commercial espresso grinders, a big machine, tamping station, tools, cups, measuring instruments all take the little room I have. I built an elevated platform out of an induction hob and buffet stand with a cutting board on it with the mixer next to that....but it gives me EXACTLY enough working space for prep bowls and one mixer bowl on a scale. The pastry board sitting out will give me barely enough room to turn sideways and squeeze, tightly, to get to the sink and countertop oven. Not sure where the proofing box goes....probably on the espresso table with moving stuff aside. Or put it atop the kneading board if I don't need the sink for a while. Mise en some-other-place. The floor is valid workspace. stepping over (or into) bowls must be acceptable. It's not easy. Though baking, I find works better than cooking. At least I *can* do the prep work ahead and keep the bowls organized versus cooking with chopping and splattering, and things generally going all over the place in real time. So I just consume only grains and sugars, and never produce and meat. That's a good thing, right?

The Electrolux DLX sits behind a panel - if I take it out, something else must go. And it has to share temporary table space with the scales and the grain mill. And the grain mill replaced my storage bins of additives like buttermilk powder, malt, and vital wheat gluten.

That stainless table sounds absolutely heavenly. Someday I'll replace the kitchen table with a (much smaller, L-shaped stainless setup. No backsplash though. It wouldn't fit under the window sill. I think I have to spread out the baking gear into other rooms. I could sleep on the kneading board and use the couches as blankets. Bannetons for hats.

Everything is fair so long as I don't have to stand on the scales....

I'm looking at Avantco 1/2 sheet convection oven with steam for $600.
Not sure I need the steam, without fresh cake yeast I don't bother making french bread.
I bought a $180 Mr Coffee automatic cappucino maker, it does the trick as long as I get starbux beans.
A $12 grinder, doesn't get it fine like a real grinder but I still manage to swill copious amounts of coffee daily.
 

MixUp

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I'm looking at Avantco 1/2 sheet convection oven with steam for $600.
Not sure I need the steam, without fresh cake yeast I don't bother making french bread.
I bought a $180 Mr Coffee automatic cappucino maker, it does the trick as long as I get starbux beans.
A $12 grinder, doesn't get it fine like a real grinder but I still manage to swill copious amounts of coffee daily.
I looked at the Avantco with steam, but it's 220v only isn't it? That's a deal breaker for me. The regular Avantco has reviews about reliability and recommendations for the Waring. The Waring isn't insulated though and reviews say it's ok but won't match a Vollrath or Cadco. You read the Cadco reviews and they all complain about reliability. I think i paid 700 for my Cadco a decade ago. They're 1100 now! I love it, but some quality is more rickety than you would think. The safety trips if I go over 430F which requires opening the rear to reset. I do envy the Avantco steam injector though. A face full of steam and flour isn't fun. The EH pans don't let me play with peels on hot stones but they may (expensively) solve the whole steam and air pressure issue. I'm tempted. For it's faults it's a great oven. And cranking out 12 dozen cookies in an evening or two never gets old.


Haha, coffee on the other hand....tsk tsk. Starbucks espresso is like Pillsbury brioche.... ;) That's a whole other forum.... Coffee, crops, and roasting isn't very dissimilar from flours, crops, and dough. Lots of numbers, lots of data, lots of measurements, and then you throw it all out and go with taste.... It's like a chemistry lab these days. But so is whole grain.... To me it's related. My coffee Mills cost a lot more than my grain Mill though... But to be fair, they're the coffee equivalent of a Hobart 40qt. Cheaper than those though...
 

retired baker

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220v yes, I installed a 220v outlet in the basement for my tig welder, its not difficult.
The only difference is I'll need to drill a hole through the floor for wire.
I'm no genius, I learned from watching youtube videos.

If the safety tripping is a pain try running a dedicated breaker line.
 
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MixUp

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220v yes, I installed a 220v outlet in the basement for my tig welder, its not difficult.
The only difference is I'll need to drill a hole through the floor for wire.
I'm no genius, I learned from watching youtube videos.

If the safety tripping is a pain try running a dedicated breaker line.
Ahh, if you have the 220 available, then I'd say that steam injector looks lovely. I'm somewhat jealous. Avantco reviews tend to always be mixed leaning toward bad, and the basic 110 half sheet has a lot of similar reports about 6 month lifespan (in commercial use), but I've always found their stuff to be a decent value. I haven't tried their larger equipment though. It's Chinesium but it's not like my Italian oven is without issues.

I don't think it's line induced issues with the safety. The manual does state to check the amperage on the line etc. etc., but the oven isn't drawing more current just because you set the thermostat to 500 than it is when you're preheating to 250. If I keep it below the "magic number" I can run it all day non-stop without issue. Set the thermostat past the magic point and "click". I suspect it's just a twitchy setpoint on the safety that trips too low, or it's positioned in a location that it gets too hot. Unfortunately it's been several years since I used the oven and I don't recall where the magic point is. I might just keep it at 450 or so going forward. Maybe it was 430 or so..... Parts are always available if it's a bad safety and repairing the oven is no more challenging than resetting the safety. That's the one good thing with the big brands like Cadco & Vollrath: (overpriced) parts are available for a good length of time.

I don't relish accidentally tripping it. It's quite challenging to deal with. You have to disassemble the whole rear of the oven to get to the reset, the vent pipe isn't afffixed so it tends to fall in when you do it, and I now have 150lb of commercial coffee grinders and a small fridge blocking easy screwdriver access to the bottom half of the the back of it (on the other side of a half wall) - and it's on a small non-wheeled stand so I can't spin it. I'd like to avoid tripping that thing. I can't say not being able to set 500 ever hurt my breads.... maybe if I were doing pizzas or something it would be an issue.
 

retired baker

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220 is in every breaker panel, they just split it to the 2 halves of the feed buss, 120 each side.
if renting you can't mess with it, they'd require a licensed electrician, but owning a house lets you do anything, depends on your risk tolerance.

I suspect the breaker is getting hot, impedence goes higher, voltage drops, oven asks for more and the imbalance pops the safety. Theres probably other outlets on the same feed line, typical for me is the refrigerator cycles on and pushes everything over the limit. When my kitchen breaker trips all 4 outlets go dead, they're all daisychained to a single 15 amp breaker, thats nuts. I bought cable and a 25 amp breaker to install but it can wait til summer.
I'll interrupt the daisychain and split it to 2 breakers. I get nervous around elec.

I'm gonna have a talk with my wife to redesign the kitchen.
 

MixUp

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220 is in every breaker panel, they just split it to the 2 halves of the feed buss, 120 each side.
if renting you can't mess with it, they'd require a licensed electrician, but owning a house lets you do anything, depends on your risk tolerance.

I suspect the breaker is getting hot, impedence goes higher, voltage drops, oven asks for more and the imbalance pops the safety. Theres probably other outlets on the same feed line, typical for me is the refrigerator cycles on and pushes everything over the limit. When my kitchen breaker trips all 4 outlets go dead, they're all daisychained to a single 15 amp breaker, thats nuts. I bought cable and a 25 amp breaker to install but it can wait til summer.
I'll interrupt the daisychain and split it to 2 breakers. I get nervous around elec.

I'm gonna have a talk with my wife to redesign the kitchen.
I certainly can relate to hairily daisy chained outlets..... it's all too familiar. :(

In the case of the oven safety, though, I still think that's unlikely. The oven is a constant 1450W peak. It shouldn't cause the breaker to heat more after 20 minutes bringing the oven to 500F than running 4 hours bringing the oven to 400F, it's burning the element at 1450W until the thermostat gets to the set temp either way. For the breakers that only means an extra few minutes of heat time or so which is inconsequential compared to the 10 or 15 minutes to get to 400. If it were a breaker heating, impedance, voltage issue, the hours at 400 would actually create more of an issue than the brief 20 minutes at 500. It's just cycling the element more frequently at the latter, but still the same 1450 either way. Unless something inside the oven starts drawing too voltage for the line when it gets too hot, but I still assume that's something cheap in the oven.

You could be right, that's the sort of thing they'd indicate officially, but it doesn't make sense when you factor in it can run forever at the same power draw if you just have it maintain a lower set temp. The only thing different is the internal temp of components inside the oven and the cycling frequency of the element, not anything on the line feeding it. If it tripped after a certain amount of run-time regardless of the set temp I'd agree. But it's the other way around. Short run-time at high internal temp trips, infinite run-time at temp just under that threshold inside doesn't trip. I still say it's the component, or something about the internal components' impedance when the interior temp is too high.

I just wish I could remember what the "magic" temp was....I don't want to trip the darned thing.

This is why they make Sharpies. I should have marked the spot.
 

retired baker

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Drill a hole in the rear cover, reset the button by pushing a dowel.?
 

MixUp

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That's actually a great idea!

Having said that, after our conversation about it here I decided to go try to look up the manual for it to figure out where exactly the button is. I found the manual. And it lists the button as being under a cap next to the cord connection in the back, outside the unit. I can't really access the rear of the unit where it is now, but best as I could, I reached behind it and sure enough there's a cap there...... So I'm apparently remembering wrong and the button doesn't require disassembly at all, just awkwardly trying to move the oven in an area I don't have room to move it a single mm to get to the cap on the back.....still something I'd rather avoid but not nearly as awful as what I was remembering!

That leads me to wonder though, what problem I was having that required disassembly? I vaguely remember something with the exhaust pipe falling in somehow....but I honestly have no memory of what was going on at the time that lead to that. That was probably 2007 or 2008.... I haven't really used that oven for a good 8 years or so (it needs a good cleaning...and I have to relocate scales and ingredients that live atop the oven now before i can use it again.)

Also, in the manual, I did find that the reset is an overheating safety, and while they do recommend also checking voltages etc, they mostly refer to that if the safety is tripping as soon as you turn the oven on. It seems like a dual purpose device mostly tied to temperature, not voltage, however. I think it's just calibrated low (or in a part of the oven that gets hotter than the thermostat) so that it trips lower than the oven thermostat can maintain temp.
 
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retired baker

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After a long hiatus I'm trying to line up my ducks to be able to get back into the groove of baking. Easier said than done. I got most of everything lined up and then stumbled into my achilles heel I forgot about. My surface for rolling, shaping and dividing. I don't generally hand-knead, so I don't see it as a kneading board. I'm going to try to force everything through a 6qt KA once again due to counter space limits. I do still have a DLX around if I need it and can find room for it. I generally only hand knead if it's a very high hydration dough that can only be stretched & folded.

However for both pasta and bread of all hydrations, I have an issue this time. I used to use a Roul'pat on the table. I never really loved it. It got the job done but everything still stuck to it, I still needed to use copious amounts of flour to keep it from sticking, and when it sticks it wants to lift and move the mat around. "No flour" they said. "Non-stick" they said. Pfft. Between my pins, hands, and mat, I'd have flour everywhere.

This time that workspace for the mat no longer exists. Other kitchen equipment more vital occupies that space. So what I need now is a rigid surface that I can set up on a folding serving stand when working dough. I've narrowed it down to two choices, both (around) 16x24: A marble board, and a wood (possibly bamboo just due to sizing etc.)

Traditionally it seems the bread world almost always goes with wood, but I'm wondering if there's a specific reason marble is avoided or if it's just a matter of cost/convenience and that marble isn't necessary unless we're dealing with butter pastries that need to stay cold?

Ideally I'd like to keep the flour use to a minimum where possible - it was excessive with the silicone and I'm not sure the "non-stick" silicone was actually SAVING any flour use vs wood. I don't know where marble and a good scraper come in in comparison.

So far the way I see it is this:

Wood Pros:
-Lighter weight - easier to pick up and put away between uses.
-Backsplash maybe keeps the mess more contained (hopefully?)
-Easier to clean - at under 10lb just take to to the sink and brush it off.
-Can get one with a juice groove that maybe also contains flour more on the board than off the sides.

Wood Cons:
-Lighter weight - easier to tip over while rolling.
-More cumbersome to store with lips and backsplashes unless going with a plain flat cutting board.
-Easier to damage bringing it up and down - easier to mar with things like scrapers and biscuit cutters for non-yeasted doughs.
-More maintenance: Oiling.
-More flour use?
-Might lift and move with dough stuck to it.

Marble Pros:
-Heavier - more likely to stay planted and not fall over when rolling.
-Zero maintenance
-Cleanup to the sink is heavier to carry but overall easier- just scrape and brush.
-Resilient to metal scrapers and cutters
-Stores mostly flat (plus feet) versus the cumbersome lipped wood boards
-Less flour use?
-Heavy so it probably won't lift up if dough sticks to it.

Marble Cons:
-Heavier - more annoying to hoist and drop.
-Only comes flat so no backsplashes, maybe more likely to make a mess with flour running off the edges - maybe less issue if less flour used.
- Maybe something I don't know about bread dough and marble?

Silicone doesn't work without a surface to put it on now, but included anyway:
Silicone Pros:
-Space saving, rolls up.
-Not much else, really.

Silicone Cons:
-Seems to need tons and tons of flour anyway. Same as wood? Worse?
-Can't use a metal bench scraper at all, so you're stuck peeling dough off it or chintzy plastic.
-Wants to lift and move any time the dough gets stuck to it, which is almost always.
-Difficult to clean. Flour sticks to it, doesn't fit in the sink well, doesn't dry well.


I feel like Silicone probably works best of all with butter pastry despite not being cold. It never impressed me for lean doughs.
I saw this today
https://www.pastrychef.com/WOODEN-PASTRY-BOARD-BREAD-KNEADING-BOARD_p_2179.html

At $94 I think I'd look for a section of formica covered counter top with molded in backsplash.

You might be able to get an offcut for free at homedepot or a builder who does kitchens.
 

MixUp

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I saw this today
https://www.pastrychef.com/WOODEN-PASTRY-BOARD-BREAD-KNEADING-BOARD_p_2179.html

At $94 I think I'd look for a section of formica covered counter top with molded in backsplash.

You might be able to get an offcut for free at homedepot or a builder who does kitchens.
Believe it or not, that's a decent price for that board. I think I've seen the same one elsewhere for more. Too big for my space though.

Formica sounds like an interesting idea, actually, and I should have thought of that earlier. The only problem with formica I can see is something that people have mentioned about polished/finished marble/granite (versus European type unfinished/coarse marble), is that when you dust with flour, it tends to just pool up into clumps under your dough, where wood spreads it in the pores.

I ended up buying a used/refurbished acacia wood board. Looks like it had shipping damage the first time around and was repaired/resurfaced a bit and resold. Nice quality wood. Some dings and imperfections on it. Heavy, which is a good and bad thing. It's a pain to sling around, but too light and it's too easy to topple/move. All these boards are bulky which is a problem for convenient storage. I might store it next to the espresso cart, but I'm afraid of moisture over-spraying to the board over time from above.

Although bread purists love the bare wood and flour's ability to sink into the pores, personally I fear high hydration doughs, or worse, enriched/pastry doughs getting dairy and food oil into the pores and going rancid, plus warping in the humidity swings here, so I treated it in one of those beeswax/oil blends to seal it. I suppose that brings it back to the formica problem of flour clumping, but I figured if wax paper/parchment is an ideal rolling surface for the stickiest pastry dough, why not coat the board in board wax? It tends to build a thick layer, but the bench scraper scrapes it down very very fine down to the wood fiber again, so I applied it, let it sit overnight, then scraped it down. I'll be scraping it anyway, so no harm, and the wax should just be between the fibers and not sitting on top.

I'm never touching a silicone pastry mat again. Those things are awful. Everything sticks anyway, you have to copiously cover with flour anyway, you can't scrape it which makes sticking worse than wood/marble you can hit with the scraper, it moves as you try to work dough, and trying to clean it up and dry it is an exercise in frustration. And it always feels dirty. Why not just roll on cloth or parchment if doing that? I didn't realize how much harder I was making it on myself. I'm also ditching my silpats I think. Great to bake on, difficult to clean, and they build up grease between successive batches. I'm going back to parchment.

I did "upgrade" my pin to a tapered silicone one. I had plain wood straight and tapered pins before. Bread folks love their floured wood pins, but I always had too much sticking with them. I figured silicone might be a good choice for a rolling pin, if not a mat. If not I guess I'll get a wood one again but wax it up as well.
 

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Believe it or not, that's a decent price for that board. I think I've seen the same one elsewhere for more. Too big for my space though.

Formica sounds like an interesting idea, actually, and I should have thought of that earlier. The only problem with formica I can see is something that people have mentioned about polished/finished marble/granite (versus European type unfinished/coarse marble), is that when you dust with flour, it tends to just pool up into clumps under your dough, where wood spreads it in the pores.

I ended up buying a used/refurbished acacia wood board. Looks like it had shipping damage the first time around and was repaired/resurfaced a bit and resold. Nice quality wood. Some dings and imperfections on it. Heavy, which is a good and bad thing. It's a pain to sling around, but too light and it's too easy to topple/move. All these boards are bulky which is a problem for convenient storage. I might store it next to the espresso cart, but I'm afraid of moisture over-spraying to the board over time from above.

Although bread purists love the bare wood and flour's ability to sink into the pores, personally I fear high hydration doughs, or worse, enriched/pastry doughs getting dairy and food oil into the pores and going rancid, plus warping in the humidity swings here, so I treated it in one of those beeswax/oil blends to seal it. I suppose that brings it back to the formica problem of flour clumping, but I figured if wax paper/parchment is an ideal rolling surface for the stickiest pastry dough, why not coat the board in board wax? It tends to build a thick layer, but the bench scraper scrapes it down very very fine down to the wood fiber again, so I applied it, let it sit overnight, then scraped it down. I'll be scraping it anyway, so no harm, and the wax should just be between the fibers and not sitting on top.

I'm never touching a silicone pastry mat again. Those things are awful. Everything sticks anyway, you have to copiously cover with flour anyway, you can't scrape it which makes sticking worse than wood/marble you can hit with the scraper, it moves as you try to work dough, and trying to clean it up and dry it is an exercise in frustration. And it always feels dirty. Why not just roll on cloth or parchment if doing that? I didn't realize how much harder I was making it on myself. I'm also ditching my silpats I think. Great to bake on, difficult to clean, and they build up grease between successive batches. I'm going back to parchment.

I did "upgrade" my pin to a tapered silicone one. I had plain wood straight and tapered pins before. Bread folks love their floured wood pins, but I always had too much sticking with them. I figured silicone might be a good choice for a rolling pin, if not a mat. If not I guess I'll get a wood one again but wax it up as well.
I worked on formica for 2 yrs, never had any problem with it, it soon gets scratched up.
People tend to overthink and paying interest on borrowed troubles that don't exist.
Observing people on youtube, most don't even know how to flour a table, they sprinkle flour instead of throwing it to scatter dust the surface with flour. Sprinkling will cause trouble by itself. Analysis paralysis.

You can't beat maple for stain resistence, I could spill dye on my maple and it wipes off, if it penetrates a few drags with a knife blade removes the top surface down to new wood. no oiling needed.

Those french stick rolling pins, we only used them for pounding butter, nothing else... ever.
They won't use regular rolling pins in France because they're an American invention, how stubborn is that.

Funny thing is, if the sheeting machines break down they couldn't roll out croissant dough with their silly sticks.
My boss was born, raised, trained and worked in Paris, he said they're idiots.
He was a big fan of American ingenuity, the American rolling pin with ball bearings gives a mechanical advantage that can't be matched with a stick, it really reveals itself when dealing with big batches of dough, my slab of croissant dough was 25 lbs, I made 4 slabs daily, it covered a 10x3 foot table perfectly ,
it can't be done with a stick.
 

MixUp

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I worked on formica for 2 yrs, never had any problem with it, it soon gets scratched up.
People tend to overthink and paying interest on borrowed troubles that don't exist.
Observing people on youtube, most don't even know how to flour a table, they sprinkle flour instead of throwing it to scatter dust the surface with flour. Sprinkling will cause trouble by itself. Analysis paralysis.

You can't beat maple for stain resistence, I could spill dye on my maple and it wipes off, if it penetrates a few drags with a knife blade removes the top surface down to new wood. no oiling needed.

Those french stick rolling pins, we only used them for pounding butter, nothing else... ever.
They won't use regular rolling pins in France because they're an American invention, how stubborn is that.

Funny thing is, if the sheeting machines break down they couldn't roll out croissant dough with their silly sticks.
My boss was born, raised, trained and worked in Paris, he said they're idiots.
He was a big fan of American ingenuity, the American rolling pin with ball bearings gives a mechanical advantage that can't be matched with a stick, it really reveals itself when dealing with big batches of dough, my slab of croissant dough was 25 lbs, I made 4 slabs daily, it covered a 10x3 foot table perfectly ,
it can't be done with a stick.
That's interesting about sprinkling versus throwing, and is one I never heard of. I've actually always avoided any more flour than bare minimum (one of the reasons I was looking at marble) partly because I hate what the extra flour does to dough and partly because I avoid the mess of flour going everywhere (not that it doesn't when I'm milling or whisking dry ingredients together in the mixer....) You never get flour dust out of everywhere. Ever. Of course on silicone I ended up using tons of flour, oiled hands, everything, because dough stuck to everything, and you can't effectively scrape, so preventing sticking was the only way to not pull the mat with your dough. With the waxed board i'm hoping to go VERY minimal on the flour in general and rely on my scrapers more. The bread will be better for it. So will the floor.

I will never, ever, ever understand why silicone mats are so popular for this. They're horrible, horrible, horrible surfaces to work dough on unless it's a very oily or buttery dough. And then it has different problems. Silicone + oil never cleans up. It's ok for pie crust or flan shells, but even that sticks in ways that I always wanted to reach for a steel scraper but couldn't.

But what difference is throwing vs sprinkling? Previously I used one of those traditional spring-coil sifter things to dust. Kind of a mix of sprinkle/throw resulted from that, but it was hard to control and a pain to use. This time around I bought the only duster with a cap I can store flour in - just a dredge with a mesh screen and an actual cap which should be more throw-like. I went that route largely for pasta - kneading to keep it dusted quickly between folds (pun intended!) I'm willing to take compromises for speed and convenience this time, or I'll never end up making anything. Fast proof bread is still better than supermarket formaldehyde bread. I have a loaf of mass produced WW sliced bread sitting on my table as a reminder. I bought it mid-december. It's still soft. No mold. It's horrifying.

Most maple makers still recommend oiling. Mostly for warp resistance. Acacia is warp prone if not oiled in changing humidity as well. I have an acacia board that's 16 years old or so. I left it in the drain board untreated for over a decade. It dried out, looked awful. I just oiled and waxed it and it looks almost new. It has some cracks forming at the board joints though. Still solid for now.

Haha, so you actually prefer American rolling pins, huh? For pastry I'd go with a heavy marble or maple pin and not look back, yeah. For pie/flan rounds the tapered sticks do give a nicer rounding than the straight pins though. But for bread.....the heavy types seem counter productive. I should prefer the straight dowel over the french taper, but I always came back to the taper, probably due to small work space. If I had freezer space I'd play with pastries at home, but...alas, the trouble with pastry is refrigeration and freezer space. I own the heavy marble pin, but in the absence of doing pastry, I never used it!
 

retired baker

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That's interesting about sprinkling versus throwing, and is one I never heard of. I've actually always avoided any more flour than bare minimum (one of the reasons I was looking at marble) partly because I hate what the extra flour does to dough and partly because I avoid the mess of flour going everywhere (not that it doesn't when I'm milling or whisking dry ingredients together in the mixer....) You never get flour dust out of everywhere. Ever. Of course on silicone I ended up using tons of flour, oiled hands, everything, because dough stuck to everything, and you can't effectively scrape, so preventing sticking was the only way to not pull the mat with your dough. With the waxed board i'm hoping to go VERY minimal on the flour in general and rely on my scrapers more. The bread will be better for it. So will the floor.

I will never, ever, ever understand why silicone mats are so popular for this. They're horrible, horrible, horrible surfaces to work dough on unless it's a very oily or buttery dough. And then it has different problems. Silicone + oil never cleans up. It's ok for pie crust or flan shells, but even that sticks in ways that I always wanted to reach for a steel scraper but couldn't.

But what difference is throwing vs sprinkling? Previously I used one of those traditional spring-coil sifter things to dust. Kind of a mix of sprinkle/throw resulted from that, but it was hard to control and a pain to use. This time around I bought the only duster with a cap I can store flour in - just a dredge with a mesh screen and an actual cap which should be more throw-like. I went that route largely for pasta - kneading to keep it dusted quickly between folds (pun intended!) I'm willing to take compromises for speed and convenience this time, or I'll never end up making anything. Fast proof bread is still better than supermarket formaldehyde bread. I have a loaf of mass produced WW sliced bread sitting on my table as a reminder. I bought it mid-december. It's still soft. No mold. It's horrifying.

Most maple makers still recommend oiling. Mostly for warp resistance. Acacia is warp prone if not oiled in changing humidity as well. I have an acacia board that's 16 years old or so. I left it in the drain board untreated for over a decade. It dried out, looked awful. I just oiled and waxed it and it looks almost new. It has some cracks forming at the board joints though. Still solid for now.

Haha, so you actually prefer American rolling pins, huh? For pastry I'd go with a heavy marble or maple pin and not look back, yeah. For pie/flan rounds the tapered sticks do give a nicer rounding than the straight pins though. But for bread.....the heavy types seem counter productive. I should prefer the straight dowel over the french taper, but I always came back to the taper, probably due to small work space. If I had freezer space I'd play with pastries at home, but...alas, the trouble with pastry is refrigeration and freezer space. I own the heavy marble pin, but in the absence of doing pastry, I never used it!
Believe it or not, scattered flour follows fluid dynamics
During earthquakes scientists were amazed how far rubble, dust and rocks would spread across a flat plain, it was fluid dynamics causing the particles and rocks to flow like a fluid.
Scattering allows for the least amount of flour to cover the largest area and it always evenly spread.
Skip to the 4:25 mark to see here.
 
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retired baker

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That's interesting about sprinkling versus throwing, and is one I never heard of. I've actually always avoided any more flour than bare minimum (one of the reasons I was looking at marble) partly because I hate what the extra flour does to dough and partly because I avoid the mess of flour going everywhere (not that it doesn't when I'm milling or whisking dry ingredients together in the mixer....) You never get flour dust out of everywhere. Ever. Of course on silicone I ended up using tons of flour, oiled hands, everything, because dough stuck to everything, and you can't effectively scrape, so preventing sticking was the only way to not pull the mat with your dough. With the waxed board i'm hoping to go VERY minimal on the flour in general and rely on my scrapers more. The bread will be better for it. So will the floor.

I will never, ever, ever understand why silicone mats are so popular for this. They're horrible, horrible, horrible surfaces to work dough on unless it's a very oily or buttery dough. And then it has different problems. Silicone + oil never cleans up. It's ok for pie crust or flan shells, but even that sticks in ways that I always wanted to reach for a steel scraper but couldn't.

But what difference is throwing vs sprinkling? Previously I used one of those traditional spring-coil sifter things to dust. Kind of a mix of sprinkle/throw resulted from that, but it was hard to control and a pain to use. This time around I bought the only duster with a cap I can store flour in - just a dredge with a mesh screen and an actual cap which should be more throw-like. I went that route largely for pasta - kneading to keep it dusted quickly between folds (pun intended!) I'm willing to take compromises for speed and convenience this time, or I'll never end up making anything. Fast proof bread is still better than supermarket formaldehyde bread. I have a loaf of mass produced WW sliced bread sitting on my table as a reminder. I bought it mid-december. It's still soft. No mold. It's horrifying.

Most maple makers still recommend oiling. Mostly for warp resistance. Acacia is warp prone if not oiled in changing humidity as well. I have an acacia board that's 16 years old or so. I left it in the drain board untreated for over a decade. It dried out, looked awful. I just oiled and waxed it and it looks almost new. It has some cracks forming at the board joints though. Still solid for now.

Haha, so you actually prefer American rolling pins, huh? For pastry I'd go with a heavy marble or maple pin and not look back, yeah. For pie/flan rounds the tapered sticks do give a nicer rounding than the straight pins though. But for bread.....the heavy types seem counter productive. I should prefer the straight dowel over the french taper, but I always came back to the taper, probably due to small work space. If I had freezer space I'd play with pastries at home, but...alas, the trouble with pastry is refrigeration and freezer space. I own the heavy marble pin, but in the absence of doing pastry, I never used it!
Warping might be an issue with thin maple, it isn't with commercial tops, they're usually 2 to 3 inches thick.
Bolted to a stainless frame they aren't going anywhere.

My rolling pin is heavy alum 18 inch x 4 inch dia, its nice but a bit big to use on my smallish table.
I've never used a rolling pin on bread, maybe foccacia but bread rolling machines pass the dough through rollers to start the process. Then again, I've used a wine bottle in a pinch.
 

MixUp

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A metal rolling pin! I forgot those even existed, I haven't seen one in ages!

I'll have to give that a try with flour. I feel like it wouldn't have made much difference in the silicone era. I mostly rubbed the flour into the surface as best as possible with that material. But I'll be able to try it easily with the new dredge/shaker.

Now I want to make my flans again...ugg. Out comes the double boiler.... Maybe next year.
 
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MixUp

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2-3" thick, bolted down, yeah, no warping there. Home sized 1.5" max thickness, usually thinner? Sure that's an issue. As is splitting. Depends on the wood though. I can't remember which ones are more warp/split prone vs. not.


Yeah, Foccacia gets rolled. My other non-wet dough breads get, rolled is the wrong word, pressed I suppose is a better word, for shaping usually.. The heavy pins don't work well for that. To be honest, I can't remember which ones needed a pin and which didn't. I know I used my pins regularly but I don't remember for what. It's been far too long....
 
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