The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Best work surface?

Djehuty's picture

Best work surface?

What makes the best surface for working with dough?  I'm currently using a silicone non-stick mat, and while it worked fairly well for denser dough, it's miserable for wet doughs.  I've seen quite a few bakers using wood surfaces, but I've also seen many using granite.  I have a butcherblock-style block of wood that I could clean up and use.  Would that be the best option, or should I look around for a granite slab?


clazar123's picture

It seems everyone has different preferences for different reasons. Since the butcher block is already in your posession why not clean it up and try it out? I had laminate and it was fine but then got granite and I really like it since my dough doesn't stick to it as much.It is cold,though.

b_elgar's picture

Super-wet doughs are tricky no matter what the surface and, at least for me,  are best worked on a well-floured mat or board with the use of a scraper. 



sphealey's picture

=== Super-wet doughs are tricky no matter what the surface and, at least for me,  are best worked on a well-floured mat or board with the use of a scraper. ===

Or the inside of a large ceramic bowl ;-)   I generally just keep super-wet dough right in the bowl for at least the "kneading" and first rise, and sometimes the first fold as well.  A ceramic bowl + a plastic dough scraper works well with the stickiest of dough.


flournwater's picture

I have also found that using a large oiled bowl works better than anything else.  I use it for sticky dough, regardless of the recipe (my ciabatta is especially sticky) and don't remove it from the bowl until I'm ready to form the loaves.  The dough never leaves the bowl from first rise, through kneading, to loaf preparation.

I've also worked it on an oiled surface (Corian) and it works well but that larger flat surface uses more oil than the inside of a large bowl.


jacobsbrook's picture

I use is a marble block. I can handle doughs better with this surface than my butcher block.

Djehuty's picture

Thanks... I had a feeling that granite or marble would be better, but thought I'd better check.  I would've just tried it out, but I was afraid that I might wind up spending hours scrubbing bits of dough out of the thing.  It seems I wasn't wrong. :)


bassopotamus's picture

I use a stainless prep table, and it works pretty well, but wet doughs will stick to anything.

asicign's picture

I have a 30" x 30" piece of marble that I had cut and polished for me about 40 years ago by an old Italian stone worker in Somerville MA.  It's stayed with me on all my moves since.  I like the feel of stone better than wood.  It always feels cool to the touch, and it gives me more confidence working pastry.

merrybaker's picture

I use a Teflon sheet pan on my counter, and do all my kneading, folding, and shaping on that.  I sprinkle it with flour, or spray it with oil, depending on the dough.  A plastic bench scraper lifts even the stickiest dough.  And the reason I use the pan is because I can PUT IT IN THE DISHWASHER, and that's all there is to cleaning up!