The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Alternatives to a laminated wood shaping surface

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Alternatives to a laminated wood shaping surface

I have Corian counters and had difficulty shaping baguettes due to working on a surface that was too smooth.  I imagine that others who have granite or Formica have similar issues.  I can put a slab of laminated maple on top which works just fine but makes the working surface higher than I want it.  I can also apply a thin slurry of flour/water to the counter and let it dry, which is about the same as wood from the perspective of surface friction but it does take a little time to get it ready and also time to clean-up when I am done.

I am looking for other alternatives.

carblicious's picture
carblicious

I have granite countertops, and use a large maple cutting board.  But as you noted, it raises the surface 3/4" inch.

How about a proofing board or really nice maple plywood?  Plywood would only be an additional 1/4" inch in height.

 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Still need some way to stabilize it on the counter and it does need to be thick enough to not warp. A couple of pieces of non-slip drawer liner might be enough to keep it from sliding around, but it might have to be 1/2" thick (maybe 9mm Europly) to be stiff enough and then add the non-slip and you are up to 3/4" already.

ssor's picture
ssor

I find countertop(36 inches) to be too high  in any circumstance. I prefer a 27 inch high table for shaping and for kneading. I must say that I am of short stature (5'5") so that is also a consideration. It maybe reasonable to put together a standing platform 3 to 4 inches high for your work station. Easier to raise the floor than to lower the counter.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Good thought, but I have 3" slide out steps built into the cabinet base so that I can already get on top of the dough; I also have 37" countertops to begin with.  I wonder if there is a really big Silpat sheet that would stick to the counter and provide enough friction.  It should be thin enough and would stick.  I will have to go search to see what sizes are available.

 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

d.d,

I have a couple of Lurch silicone mats that I love.  One side is smooth and the other is a bit rough so that they don't slide around on the counter top.  Can be used bare, with flour or with water.  Whatever a particular dough needs.

http://www.mainlymixers.com/product/00012451

Easy to clean and easy to store :-)

Good Luck!
Janet 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

I just tried a half-sheet size Silpat, and if I flip it over so that the smooth side is down it sticks very nicely to the Corian, and the back side is rough enough to hold some flour.  I will try it tomorrow and see how it works.  There is a full-sheet size (16.5" x 24.5") that might be better, but I have a little one to experiment with.

Home Baker's picture
Home Baker

 What about something like the Alvin Vyco Drawing Board Covers? The vendor describes it as a "durable 5-ply vinyl … manufactured especially for the protection of heavily used surfaces." The cover has enough of a "tooth" to hold paper firmly while drawings are worked but is smooth enough be fairly easily brushed clean. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Try this on the Corian:  tip out a few drops of oil on the clean dry counter top,  with fingers and the palms of your hands message the oil to a super thin thin coating where you are going to work.    Wipe with a paper towel if needed.  Now work.   It gives just the right amount of viscosity to a super smooth surface.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

@Mini - I tried the oil trick and it worked great for 1.5 baguettes, then the flour was gone and the oil was gone as well.  I'll bet you have a textured Formica that retains a bit of oil for a longer period and a larger number of cycles.  The Corian is so smooth that the small amount of oil that is holding some flour just transfers to the dough when they come in contact and after a few iterations of dividing the oil in half between the dough and the counter, there isn't much oil left.  But it is a trick I will remember for another time.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and yes, my formica is textured.   

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

@Janet - The Lurch silicone sheet is the same size as the Silpat that I have, but it might be a little smoother without the internal fiberglas matting.

I tried the half-sheet Silpat this morning (smooth side down on a dry counter, just a little flour on the rough side) for shaping some baguettes and it was great.  Plus it cleans up in a flash with a wet sponge. The edges are even smooth enough to be able to drag a little flour onto the surface from the counter without having it get underneith the sheet or pile up around the edge.

@Mini - I am going to try your trick with the oil next.  It should be suitable when a larger working area (than available Silpat) is needed.

PaulZ's picture
PaulZ

Hi all

I worked in a patisserie / boulangerie in the south of France (Beziers) and a daily task was to roll 200 croissants and 150 pains aux chocolat. Used the stainless steel top of the undercounter fridge. No problem with surface adhesion. In the catering section, they rolled mini-croissants and had no stainless steel surface. They used two large 400x600cm Silpat mats side-by-side. Provided great adhesion. A lot of the rolling success relies on hand technique. Dough must be coaxed and teased before rolling. Roll away from your body (point must be facing outwards) and your hands must spread out and then increase downward pressure as you complete the roll up. Flatten tip/ point to provide adhesion to main roll. "Ears" are either left as is are flattened to give extra crisp.

Paul