The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Wooden worktops

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hornedfox's picture
hornedfox

Wooden worktops

I have bought a new solid wooden worktop specificly for my bread making the question is do I leave it natural or do I oil it first before use?

 

Ian 

meirp's picture
meirp

to oil it (with vegetable oil) after every few usages. Don't know what a "few" is exactly, but I figured I would do it after every 3-4 usages.

Meir

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

on very dry surface and then with a hair blower warm up the oil & wood so it can really soak in.   Wipe any excess off after letting it soak in overnight.  Especially solid wood needs to be handled to prevent cracking when humidity drops in the house.  Don't forget the ends and all sides  :)  

goer's picture
goer

Mineral oil like Mini said,but I melt some local bees wax into it. Smells wonderful.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

family before using.  

Just thought I'd mention it.  Every December my family goes thru a routine about the tree candles.  Those made with bee's wax illicit comments from the men in the family of "What smells funny?" and "Those candles stink, don't you have other ones?"   And all the women find bee's wax smell heavenly!   The aroma will dissipate with time (and doesn't seem strong enough to send the men looking for other candles before the holidays)  but just thought I'd bring it up.   :)

goer's picture
goer

LOL! I happen to be a male of 45. :)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

My father loves the smell.  I think he waxed a carved wooden trunk with it.   (I was going to throw in a disclaimer that this is not any test of sexual orientation...  :)     so I will now...    Lol!

ssorllih's picture
ssorllih

What we consider as rancid is really just the natural reaction of the oil to the oxygen in the air. Many of the vegatable oils are known in the industry as "drying oils" as compared to "Fixed oils" like olive oil which doesn't dry. Soy oil will get sticky if spilled and left for a couple of weeks.  Soy oil is an important component in oil based paints.

meirp's picture
meirp

worktops that come in contact with food.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Used mostly for furniture not bread making surfaces.  Many have stopped using it because the rags are selfcombustible and should be put into a special fireproof container immediately after use.   It does have a smell to it,  I wouldn't want that flavour in my dough.

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

It probably means nothing to you unless you are British, Indian, Pakistani, South African, Australian or a New Zealander but linseed oil is used on .... cricket bats :) .

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Don't know wht's used on a baseball bat.  But my rolling pin is, um, natural hardwood and waxed on the ends.

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Perhaps a good hit from a cricket bat could replace a few minutes work with a rolling pin??   ...................  Perhaps not :)

yy's picture
yy

Mini is right. Vegetable oils and any highly unsaturated oils (such as flaxseed oil) go rancid and should not be used for wood. Mineral oil is the way to go. 

ssorllih's picture
ssorllih

Many wood workers use salad bowl finishes for all of their work that comes into contact with food. Generally there is a layer of flour on your work table so the wet dough doesn't contact the wood. Linseed oil will dry and become odorless in about a month. It is never left as a surface coating only what has soaked in is allowed to stay, the surface is wiped as dry as possible. Linseed oil soaked rags are spread out to dry outside. If they are bunched up in a pile they will spontainiously catch fire. I alway soak mine in water before I spread them out to dry. 

blacktom's picture
blacktom

Mineral oils are petroleum distillates - I wouldn't use them to finish anything that would come into contact with food. Personally, I've always used vegetable oil and never had a problem with it, although a lot of people warn against it. You can also obtain food-safe oils from specialist woodworking suppliers.

ssorllih's picture
ssorllih

Mineral oil and vasolene are used extensively on babies and heavy mineral oil is used as an internal lubricant. There would be not harm in using it on a food work table. Not all petroleum products smell like gasolene and not all vegatable products smell like roses.

yy's picture
yy

You can use your own discretion and googling skills to decide whether you think mineral oil can be used for surfaces that come in contact with food. If you do decide that it's acceptable to use, be sure to purchase mineral oil is food grade. Drug store baby oil is probably not suitable. Look for the 'NSF' on the label, which indicates that it meets certain standards for close contact with food.

Elagins's picture
Elagins

You can find pharmaceutical quality mineral oil in any drugstore or health & beauty aid store. Because it's completely inert, tasteless and odorless, it's absolutely the best finish for wood working surfaces, and the only finish we recommend for our bench boards.

Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Thanks for shedding a little "rationality" on the mineral oil issue. The stuff is taken as a "digestive aid", for goodness sake. I have seen more than one mfr/distributor of wooden cutting/bread boards advise treating their boards with food grade mineral oil.

Pioneer Foodie's picture
Pioneer Foodie

A historic restoration specialist recommended walnut oil. It is a drying oil and a food oil, unlike mineral oil. For my wooden dough bench I haven't put any oil on it, as maple is so dense in its grain structure it is unlikely that oil would penetrate.

grind's picture
grind

How about pure tung oil?

blacktom's picture
blacktom

I know woodworkers who do use it on chopping boards and bowls, but I think cheaper, adulterated finishes are sometimes labelled 'tung oil'. Probably best to check the label or make enquiries.

Oh, right, you said 'pure'. Sorry.

grind's picture
grind

to point out the difference between pure and adulterated tung oil.  One shouldn't take any safety concerns for granted on the world wide web!

hornedfox's picture
hornedfox

thanks for all the help I am going to go for the food grade mineral oil. I would worry about the salad bowl finish chipping/flaking under heavey use and getting in the dough.

 

Ian

Mukoseev's picture
Mukoseev

John Boos is a manaufacturer of maple butcher block tops and they sell an oil for treating the wood. They call it Mystery Oil but it's a combination of mineral oil, tung oil and linseed oil, all food grade. It does a great job.

 

www.johnboos.com

 

ssorllih's picture
ssorllih

There is a product called Mystery Oil that is used to help loosen rusted nuts and bolts on machinery. Be careful to read the labels!

PeterS's picture
PeterS

if you are looking for a curing oil finish for wood block tables and cutting boards.

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50070378/

It is food contact safe.

They also make a linseed oil/beeswax wood treatment, but do not state if it is food contact safe. The clear (colorless) finish might be.

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40186303/