The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Favorite Counter Surface?

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KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Favorite Counter Surface?

What is your favorite counter surface for breadmaking?  I still have a temporary top on my island because I can't make up my mind on a permanent surface.  Original plan was for stainless with integrated sink, but sticker shock has me rethinking that one.  I'm considering all granite, all silestone, or a mix of granite and butcherblock.  There will be a sink, and I don't want butcherblock for the sink area.

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

As a builder of homes including all my own, I can state that my "next" countertops will be cast in place concrete.  I think that this will be the surface of the future

 

http://www.concretenetwork.com/concrete/countertops/

 

_______________________________________________________

Two wrongs don't make a right. Three lefts make a right

mse1152's picture
mse1152

KipperCat,

We had an Avonite solid surface installed this year and I really like it for breadmaking.  It's essentially Corian, but the company doesn't require installers to get certified to be able to put it in.  And we liked their pattern selection better too.

It cleans up easily after kneading, and I can (carefully) scrape up dry bits with my dough blade without scratching it.  It's not as cold to the touch as quartz (Silestone).

Sue 

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

Hi KC,

I have granite countertops but I have also worked on butcher block.

I like granite because:

Cleanup is super easy. Spills wipe right up and I can scrape dough bits off it with my dough scraper, without having to worry about gouging, which is an issue with wood.

It seems more hygienic than wood, where food bits could hide in the cracks and crevices, although I have read things that say that wood has natural antibacterial properties.

You can put hot things on it.

You can cut on it (although it will probably dull the knife). You can cut on wood, too, of course, if you're OK with that patina (I happen to like it).

It is cool to the touch (in the summer).

I dislike granite because:

It is cool to the touch (in the winter).

It is slipperier than wood so it is hard to spread flour evenly on it with your hand, and I think it does not "grip" the dough as well as wood, when shaping, for example.

It can chip.

Wood just seems more traditional for breadmaking.

 

If I ever get the opportunity to design another kitchen, I'd probably go with a wood surface for bread and granite on the other counters.

 

Susanfnp

qahtan's picture
qahtan

 

We did our kitchen a couple of years back, I too had a job deciding what to have the counter.

It seemed there was for and against with every thing, first I really want st/st , that scratches and shows cut marks, butcher block, to much trouble to look after, corian that also shows cut marks after a bit of wear and tear. Granite that also shows cuts and absorbs stains like tea and coffee.

 I ended up getting formica, I know not very exciting but it does take a certain amount of wear and tear, and would not be too expencive if at any time wants renewing.

 Its great for bread and pastry etc. my cabinets are classic white and the counters are

 in Aspen Fog, my floor is Armstrong looks like green tile, and is very good tempered, the parts of the walls that show are in dijohn mustard.

 But I do have a large picture made from a peice of fabric, of Little Chelsea, by Sandersons UK that hangs over the desk, also in the Little Chesea are the window vallance, oven gloves and a teaset for two. that just adds a little splash of colour. 

                                     qahtan 

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Thanks everyone.

mkelly - I've seen some beautiful concrete countertops, but I'm not quite ready for them here.

Sue - Avonite's a good surface. I might consider that.

Susan - I appreciate your list. I think I'll try dough prep on the granite counter next time. That's one I should have thought of!

qahtan - your kitchen sounds/looks lovely. I like formica countertops just fine. If I can find one that works with the other elements in the kitchen I might do that.

Right now the perimiter cabinets are ubatuba granite, which is pretty bullet proof as far as stains, chips, etc. I love being able to pull things out of the oven and put them right on the counter. Since my island is my main work area, I want something light. If I use granite on the ends of the island, with wood in the middle, I'd probably use the same ubatuba again. But if I use one surface on the entire island, I'd want a light green. I've found both a Silestone and a granite that would work well with the other colors in the room. Right now I have a white formica top, which belongs on my desk. I've been using a 20" wood cutting board for dough.

Don't mean to turn this into a decorating issue - just explaining the factors that influence my choices here.

sethward3's picture
sethward3

I have all butcher block, and...much to my surprise...I love them.  They have been low maintenance so far, and they really provide a nice contrast to the stainless/slate in the rest of my kitchen. 

As mentioned by Susan, wood seems to really grip the dough when you knead/shape bread.  I use a plastic scraper to remove dough, and so far (3 years) I haven't had a problem with nicks/gouges.  You can always sand them out if that happens.  One more thing...handheld steamers are a great way to clean wooden countertops without worrying about impregnating your counters with chemicals.