The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

In need of a kneading board!

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J. Sartorius's picture
J. Sartorius

In need of a kneading board!

Hello, I'm new here (I registered just to post this question!) and I'm
in need of a portable, sturdy and easily cleaned work surface for
kneading doughs.

I've been trying to price large wooden cutting boards but I'm not sure
how large of a work surface I'll really need to knead a loaf or two of
bread, or even if this is the right tool for the job.

Considering that I'm also fairly new to bread making, a key concern for
me is expense. I'd hate to buy a $100 hardwood cutting board that I'll
use once or twice and then shove in the pantry, never to use it again.

I'd greatly appreciate any advice you can give me, thank you.

MaryinHammondsport's picture
MaryinHammondsport

When we had new countertops installed, the contractor asked us if we wanted to keep the material that was cut out for the installation of the sink and the stove top. Since we had paid for it, we were not about to let it get thrown away. We used both pieces for "work surfaces" in the garage, but I bet one of them would have made a decent portable kneading board.

Why don't you check around and see if you can find a small contractor in your area who night have a cut-out like this. I doubt if that would cost $100! Of course, it would have raw edges -- but that wouldn't stop me.

Mary

dolfs's picture
dolfs

You could use any (large) wooden cutting board. I used to have quite a large one for meat carving. I had a "gutter" around the edge for collecting juices, but flipping it over yielded a perfectly flat surface. Whatever you use, you should always put a towel under it, or one of the rubber-like anti-slip mats you can get in any hardware store. This will allow you to push the dough around with the board sliding on your counters.

Once you decide you are more serious and expense is less of an issue (perhaps), consider doing what I did. For $180 I got a single piece of maple countertop, sizes about 25" x  48" x 1.5". I put some rubber feet on the bottom (hardware store: Sta-put Bumpers from ANCHORWire) and put the whole thing on top of my tile countertop. It is heavy and does not move an inch while I work. The larger size gives me a larger work surface for all my work on bread. It is very helpful to have an area where there may be some flour on the surface, and another where there is not, etc.

Considering that a good hardwood board might cost a $100 (as you say), I think this is a steal and much more functional. You do not need hardwood anyway. Maple is the material you find in most "real" kitchens. The board comes with a long lasting finish that protects etc and makes cleaning easy. Wood tends to not harbor microbes as long/easily anyway. You can glimpse a piece of my "kneading board in this picture":

Suas' Cinnamon Rolls
Suas' Cinnamon Rolls

My local handyman got me the countertop so I don't know exactly where, and he may have had a contractor's discount, but here is an example of an online source: http://www.choppingblocks.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=KCT&Category_Code=UPBB&Store_Code=C


--dolf





See my My Bread Adventures in pictures
tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

A poor man's way of getting a hardwood board is to use hardwood plywood, where only the outer veneer is hardwood.  You can buy it by the half sheet or quarter sheet (typically) as well.  Probably in the same store, you can find iron-on hardwood veneer strips in a roll that can be ironed on the edge of the wood to make the edges look like solid wood rather than plywood.


Brian


 

merrybaker's picture
merrybaker

I use a stainless-steel rimmed cookie sheet. I put that rubber mesh stuff under it to keep it from sliding, and I spray oil (Pam) on the inside surface of the pan and on my hands. Then I knead the dough in the pan. I don't do much kneading; a little at the beginning, and then several folds. I think kneading is highly over-rated.

It's amazing how even the stickiest dough doesn't stick to the Pam. And if it does, I spray a little more. If for some reason I want a cooler or warmer surface, I just run some cold or hot water on the other side of the pan.

Best of all, when I'm finished, the cookie sheet goes into the dishwasher.

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I use a board that I was given a few years ago; it has a lip that hangs over the edge of the table that keeps it from slipping, but I've also kneaded right on the top of our enamel-topped table.  My father made all his bread on that table, and I've used the countertop as well.  As for kneading being overrated, to me it's one of the best parts of making bread.  I love the whole experience of kneading.  Sure, there are breads, the wetter ones, that require folding and are impossible to knead and I enjoy making those too, but kneading dough is a wonderful feeling.  And you don't need (!) special equipment to do it.

merrybaker's picture
merrybaker

I didn't mean that kneading is over-rated in terms of being an enjoyable activity, but that it's over-rated in terms of its effect on the outcome of the bread. In my experience, all doughs, not just wet ones, benefit from less kneading and more sitting. If J.Sartorius doesn't find kneading as gratifying as you do, that's okay, because the bread can still be wonderful.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

or tables, find yourself a large plastic bowl that is smooth, well rounded and flat on the bottom. A thin coating of oil before getting started and one can mix, knead, fold and proof all in the same utensil. It is even portable! And they can be very cheap too!  And with a little luck, come in designer colors!

Mini O

audra36274's picture
audra36274

I had tile counter tops until a month or so ago and you've never lived till you have scrubbed dough out of the grout when it gets dried out. I bought a silicone dough mat from King Arthur for $29, and I was a happy woman. Wipe it off, fold it up small and put in a drawer till you are ready to go again. It is even  non-slip. It is cheap, and since it folds up ,it's easy to store. What more could I ask. 

GinkgoGal's picture
GinkgoGal

And as a bonus you aren't raising your kneading surface more than necessary!  I already have to stand on my toes to knead on my glass-top stove.

Yundah's picture
Yundah

I use one of these as well.  It's the best I've found.

JIP's picture
JIP

I don't know how much room you have but this is where I make my bread....

 http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00049049

 They also have a smaler versin with wheels....

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/70011793

wmtimm627's picture
wmtimm627

Your first link is no longer available. I would have loved to see what it was. I'm not too fond of kneading on anything that rolls around.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and about 50cm deep that has a lip to hang over the front edge of the counter and a lip at the back to catch crumbs.  It is also flipable with grove to catch liquids running around the edges of one side.   But I find the board slips around too.  Might be smart to place one of those anti slip drawer matts under the cutting board.  I think it is this:

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30087148/

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

I like using my wooden dough bowl. I got mine from JP...he is such a cool guy and his work is beautiful.  http://www.doughbowlmaker.com/

GrapevineTXoldaccount's picture
GrapevineTXolda...

is so true!  Many days I do not use my counter top, choosing instead, to mix, knead, and fold my dough in a large pyrex bowl.  (I learned a bowl was all I needed when I first began making Naan bread.  The dough was much too wet to spead upon a counter top).  I've also learned that I can do everything with just one hand, which in my house is a good thing since I am constantly trying to do four things at once (I'm a mom to a two year old labrador retriever and none of us enjoy the crumb texture that includes doggie fur).

Gardenwife's picture
Gardenwife

Your post tickled me. I have two long haired cats and three dogs, so I can really relate! I'd like to learn a one-handed kneading technique if it's not too hard on my tendinitis. Right now, I'm shopping for a good stand mixer that can handle average double loaf recipes, but I'm always open to hand kneading.

will slick's picture
will slick

The only draw back I found was it would slide around a bit when I really got physical with my dough. I solved this with a .69cent none skid pad meant for a cutting board.

Gardenwife's picture
Gardenwife

The IKEA link above didn't work for me, but I looked around on their site and found some nice boards that would probably work well. They're oiled wood and reasonably priced. Search http://ikea.com for chopping board.

vincenttalleu's picture
vincenttalleu

Back in the days I was in London I was using a round piece of marble top my flatmate found on the street. That was really good dough doesnt stick on it and it's heavy so doesn't move around.


Surely as it's been said before it must be easy to find cut outs for free or almost nothing.

bobkay1022's picture
bobkay1022

I bought a mat from Williams- Sonoma. Rolls up and cleans easily. Best investment I ever made for baking. plus it is very easy to wash  and reuse quickly.


Mr. Bob

korish's picture
korish

Lucky for me I have a granite counter top that works great. I think granite works great it's easy to clean and nothing sticks to it. Best way to put your hands on one is calling around your local custom granite counter top makers and ask them if they have cut outs for the sinks. You could probably get one for very little or free. Good luck

Gardenwife's picture
Gardenwife

I knead on glass. I have to share about this. :)  We got a discarded tempered glass desktop from behind a Staples store three or more years ago and had it propped up behind our office door ever since. I scored the nice bottom cabinet/drawer unit from Craig's List for $50. It had grouted tile counter on it that was a nightmare to keep clean. Wouldn't you know that glass desktop works perfectly on it?


We decided to go funky and add LED icicles beneath the glass since our track lighting has cobalt blue shades. I love how easy cleanup is with the glass surface.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/gardenwife/sets/72157622870328387/


 

Marni's picture
Marni

Great countertop!  So fun and creative!


Marni

Yundah's picture
Yundah

What a great counter!  I'd never sleep.  I'd just sit in the dark, sipping tea and staring at the pretty lights in 10 Forward. 

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

Just love the glass with the lighting !!  and functional to boot !

anna

ShauntiJoy's picture
ShauntiJoy

From having read posts on this site about kneading boards before, I learned that granite was good. 


My husband and I went to a local granite counter-top company to ask about scrap, and an employee showed us three piles of scrap he breaks up and dumps into house foundations when he gets enough of it.  He told us to choose as many pieces as we like, and as long as he didn't have to cut or sand any, it's FREE.  Sure, the two pieces, 30" x 30" x 1", are heavy as lead, but they work great!!


We have no counter tops in our kitchen -- the folks who lived in this house before only pulled frozen meals out of the freezer and popped them into the oven -- they were outside with the horses all the time!!  Since times are tough, counters will have to wait, so FREE is always a good thing!!!

JeannieTay's picture
JeannieTay

I agreed that granite is best! Before I got my piece of granite (a gift from a good friend) I have been using my counter top to do my kneading and always have problems of dough sticking on it. But with granite, there's hardly any sticking at all! It's very heavy and there are those non-stick feet at the bottom in case it moves when kneading is done but it's really not necessary since it is so heavy.


 

Irrestinctus's picture
Irrestinctus

I bought a carving board at my local grocery store before thanksgiving since I didn't have a board large enough at the time capable of properly containing a 20+ lb. turkey.Luckily enough, this 15"x20" board was great for bread and it only cost about $12. The first time I thought to use it instead of my kitchen table I realized that it actually has imprented on the corner it's intended use for the all flat side; "Bread & Pastry" (the Meat side is channeled to collect "juices") I personally like that the unfinished wood can "breath" and will react with a little moisture from the dough so that when I'm doing things that require rounding or shaping, like rolls, I can get a little grip between the dough and the board. Of course I would prefer a $1300 Boos board  or the old baker's table from the bakery where I worked, but this does the trick just fine.


 


I have found that the rubber cabinet liner works well for all of my cutting boards. Even better though are square, silicone hot pad/potholders. If they are clean they hold really well.


 


Happy hunting

Barbarainnc's picture
Barbarainnc

I just posted about this, I ordered one from Fantes, search under pastry board, I got the larger one. Can't wait to use it. I have a silicone mat, but you can't cut on it. I want to cut Danish Dough into squares and shape it. I don't have the $ or room for a Stainless Steel table, Wish I did!!!

Irrestinctus's picture
Irrestinctus

I'd like to hear how this board works for you. I've never seen or thought of doing somethink like this. I've never seen Fante's either. What a great find!

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Hi There,

I use my wife's tupperware pastry mat.

I'm a messy bread baker I said I must make a bread board big enough so that I didn't have a yucky bench top to clean down all the time.

Like  Audra with her silicon mat I just pick it up, shake any excess into the sink and wipe down with a cloth till clean, roll it up and placed away. It so successful that it even shocked my wife when she saw that her kitchen(Well, I like to let her think it's her kitchen) was still so clean.

The other good thing is it has measuring circles printed into it giving you a good guidline for pizzas bases or boules loaves that your making.

Cheers.....................Pete