The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

John Boos Knead Board

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Djehuty's picture
Djehuty

John Boos Knead Board

I've just acquired a John Boos Knead Board (which can be flipped over and used as an enormous cutting board).  I think I like it, but I'm not sure.  One thing I noticed immediately was that the dough seems to stick to it, and it's a bit of a pain to clean the dough and flour off.  The grain seems to hold flour.  I thought this wasn't supposed to be an issue with end-grain maple.  Did I get a defective board, or do I just need to adjust to it?


Any tips would be greatly appreciated.


 

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Wood will lightly grab dough as you knead it.  An experienced baker will use the wood almost as if it were a third hand, helping them to tighten the surface of the skin around a dough pre-shape, or to finesse the tension on the outside of a baguette.  That's one big reason that pros use wood for their kneading or portioning tables.


When you want the wood to lightly grab the dough (perhaps during shaping), you avoid using flour on that part of the work surface.  Then (as you probably already do), you flour any wood surface where it is best that no grabbing occur, such as where you rest your bulk dough or dough portions.


If you don't perform these tasks where the "grabbing" ability of wood is advantageous, then you might not need wood at all.  You can certainly make most shapes without it.  Proper baguette tensioning might be the exception.


Scraping the wood should occur after every use, then wipe it with a terry-cloth towel to remove remaining dust.  Following with a barely damp towel to remove any further trace of dust is optional, but don't wet the wood heavily or it may split someday.  Maybe once a week (or less if you don't use it often) you can treat the wood with food-grade mineral oil to keep the sticking to a minimum.  I wouldn't try to substitute vegetable oil, which will go rancid and leave a nasty flavor eventually.

prijicrw's picture
prijicrw

I would reccomend the LÄMPLIG Chopping board from Ikea. It's absoluty the biggest board I have seen in stores (18" X 21") and you can't beat the price at $9.99.

hsmum's picture
hsmum

Just a caution about this Ikea board.  Hopefully I simply got one that was defective, but mine split in two after I'd had it a couple of months.  It was only used as a cutting board, quickly washed and immediately wiped dry, and never fell to the floor or anything that could have weakened it.  However...at $10 for a wooden board, it's worth a try for sure.


Karen

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Hi Karen,


When you washed your board did you submerge it in water?  I'm just asking because that might encourage the swelling of wood fibers.


Of course, the board just might have been defective.  I believe IKEA would replace that for free, though I'm not certain.

hsmum's picture
hsmum

No, I didn't submerge it.  I ran it under hot water quickly and immediately dried it.  I suppose that could have been what did it, but honestly, if that's too much for a board to handle, in my opinion it isn't worth buying.  I suspect it probably was just defective and I think you're correct that they would have replaced it.  I never bothered.


Karen

Djehuty's picture
Djehuty

Hmm... When I tried scraping it, it didn't remove all of the flour and stuck-on dough.  I had to use a wet sponge to get that off, and even so I think I feel a residue.  It seems the dough and flour get into the minuscule holes in the grain.  Is that to be expected?  If so, how do I get the rest of the left-over gunk off the board?


I don't mind the "grabbing" effect, I'd just like it to let go at some point so I can clean it. :)


 

bwaddle's picture
bwaddle

Do you think this one might be any better??


http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40082918

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

At 14 x 14 inches, it's really not very practical for shaping loaves.

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

At the risk of sounding silly, I'd say you might want to have a very strong person do the scraping while someone else holds the board steady against a strong countertop.  You really need to hold the blade of the scraper at an effective angle and then get all your weight behind it.  Scrape in long, powerful continuous strokes that overlap somewhat.  Also -- scrape in the direction of the grain to avoid creating splinters.


If that's not a practical measure, than you might want to avoid using the wood board for dough making.  Otherwise you'll get a gradual buildup of dried dough on the board.

Djehuty's picture
Djehuty

The only way to keep it clean is to scrape so hard you risk tearing up the surface?


Yikes.  If I can't use this dough kneading board for kneading dough, what can I use?


 

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

I don't mean to insult, but you are using a bench scraper? This shouldn't be a big deal or problem, if so.


Betty

Djehuty's picture
Djehuty

There's nothing insulting in that, it's a reasonable question. :)  I have a bench scraper, yes.  When I scraped with it, a fair amount of dough and flour remained behind, stuck to the grain of the wood.  I could scrape harder, but I don't want the scraper to become a chisel, scratching the wood or peeling up curls of it as I go.


 

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

brand of cutting board. You shouldn't have to scrape hard ..period. I've used a number of wooden boards, not of Boos quality, and have never had a problem. I'm totally puzzled. Can you post a picture? What were you making?


Betty

Djehuty's picture
Djehuty

I was just making plain old French Bread.  A photo wouldn't do any good, unfortunately.  The board doesn't look any different now, but it feels different.  Not quite as smooth.  I think I was able to wash most of the dough and flour off, but it feels as if there's some left.


If scraping should remove most or all of the dough, how hard can one scrape these boards?  I've been known to break things which were supposed to be very sturdy, and I don't want to repeat the experience with this board.


 

summerbaker's picture
summerbaker

I have a Boos butcher block table which can be incredibly hard to clean after kneading - especially rye.  As Dan says, the scraper works well and IMO it is much more effective than scrubbing, however you must keep the board well oiled if you scrape it often.  Don't fall for advice that tells you to buy special wood oil, just get plain mineral oil from Wal-Mart (pharmacy section) and let it soak in overnight before wiping it off.  I do like the way that the wood "grabs" dough for loaves, especially drier doughs, but I don't use it for pastries or anything else delicate or really wet.  I have a 2'x3' piece of Corian for this which is nice and slick.  I'm too much of a clutzy beginner to be able to cope with the butcher block texture for anything that requires fine shaping like croissants, etc.  I just end up using too much flour.  Hope this helps.


Summer

Djehuty's picture
Djehuty

Sorry about the delay in responding.  I'm in the middle of preparing to move.


Thanks for the advice, everyone.  I guess I'll have to send the board back.  I'm not comfortable with a board that's this difficult to clean.  Dough may be a much safer food than, say, raw chicken, but if left around it'll still grow unpleasant microorganisms.  Scraping just doesn't do the trick -- if I scraped any harder than I did the last time I tried, I'd gouge the heck out of the board.  Given a choice between washing it and making it fall apart, or leaving it unwashed and risking my health, I'll just return the blasted thing.


Thank you all very much for your advice and remarks. :)