The Fresh Loaf

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Baking board: keeps my counter clean

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houstonwong's picture
houstonwong

Baking board: keeps my counter clean

Hi everyone,

This week's been an easy one in my usually hectic schedule so had the chance to bake twice. Which reminded me to share a piece of gear I've been meaning to write about for ages.

Due to my laziness & busy schedule, I often put off baking because I hate having to clean the counter before and after baking. This is especially a hassle since I almost exclusively use wet doughs (=> 75% hydration) and the Bertinet slap&fold method.

Last year, I found this handy thing called the "Maria baking sheet and activity board". Basically it's a 24"x20" plastic board that has a "lip" around 3 edges that you place on top of your counter/table. That way, you can knead on it without getting flour and dough stuck all over the table. Then when I clean up, I just scrape off excess flour/dough bits, then lift the board to the sink (lucky me, I've got a double sink... a luxury in Hong Kong :P) and wash. Then I just wipe dry and all's done! Here's the website:

http://www.daloplast.se/EN/visaprodukt.asp?rId=116&kat=3&sub=9

I got mine at a local dept store but I suppose it should be available somewhere/somehow in other countries or online (I figure, it's Swedish but can be found in Hong Kong, shouldn't be a problem anywhere else).

Oh, one more thing: might be a good idea to slip a rubber mat or something under it, as it tends to slip around a bit during kneading (not a bit deal... I'm so lazy I usually don't even bother looking for a rubber mat... wonder where I put the darn thing?)

Highly recommend it! Hope this helps anyone else who dreads cleaning up as much as I do. :)

bnom's picture
bnom

I like the idea of this lightweight board (except for the slipping part - I use Bertinet's slap and fold as well) but found no source for it in the U.S.  I use a marble board with rubber feet that does a great job (it doesn't slip around) but it's heavy!   Seems like someone should develop a no-slip version of the Maria board . . .  any entrepeneurs out there?

houstonwong's picture
houstonwong

Gosh that's too bad. Your marble one sounds luxe as anything though :)

But you're right, a lightweight plastic one would be far handier. A quick search and I found a wooden one that looks like it's very similar, minus the lips on the sides, though it does have a lip at the back and one that overhangs the counter.

http://fantes.com/pastry-boards.html

But at 60-70$, it's not exactly cheap and probably not very lightweight. In Hong Kong I paid under 30$ US for it (but things in HK that aren't made in HK/China sometimes are more expensive). If I find anything online I'll be sure to post a link for it. :)

Does your marble one add anything to the process (i.e. less sticky etc)? I imagine it would be great if chilled and rolling out puff pastry/croissant dough. My plastic one does stick a bit during the first few mins of slapping and folding... but I assume it would be the same if I just did it straight on my Corian-type counter.

Off topic: do you find the Bertinet method a bit messy for enriched doughs? I've had lots of trouble the 2 times I used it for a dough with 5% butter.

bnom's picture
bnom

I actually use my marble on my buther block table. I don't like kneading or shaping doughs on wood because the dough sticks more and you have to use more flour.  With the marble, I flour it once very lightly or often not at all (most of my breads are at least  70% hydration ). I don't chill the marble because my fridge is pretty small...but then I live in Seattle and it never gets too hot here.  I also don't work much with pastry doughs other than pie crust. 

I haven't had trouble with the Bertinet method for enriched doughs (but then I rarely make them).  I generally make SD batards and baguettes and want an irregular open crumb.  Some argue against the slap and fold technique because it aligns the gluten strands which produces a tighter more uniform crumb.  However, I get so much information about the dough  (I can tell if it's properly hydated and spritz w/water if need be) from doing a 4 - 5 minute slap and fold that I do it regularly (even on loaves I've kneaded for a few minutes in the KA).  I then will do stretch and folds as needed.  I consistently get the crumb I desire.  

If you're having trouble with "messiness" try resting the dough for 5 - 8 minutes before going back to the slap and fold. It seems to help a lot with wetter doughs (and I assume will help with enriched ones).

 

houstonwong's picture
houstonwong

I exclusively use s&f for lean doughs and sd and have always enjoyed a very open and ireegular crumb (a litle less so on sd than yeasted dough). I didn't know s&f makes for a tighter crumb... I always saw the opposite effect: tighter when using traditional hand kneading. I don't have a KA but have always wanted one but can't/don't want to afford the counter space.

Thanks for the tip!