The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Silpat or Wood and friction for shaping

meryl's picture

Silpat or Wood and friction for shaping


I am trying to decide between a wood kneading surface and a silicone one such as the Silpat.

There are many good discussions on TFL about the Silpats but Hamelman says that dough must have friction to develop a skin on the dough when shapig. But the Silpat is a non-stick surface if I understand it.

Can someone who has used a Silpat and a wood kneading surface indicate their experience? I'll be using it mostly for bread doughs, standard and wetter hydrations.


LindyD's picture

I've used both, Meryl.  I didn't like working with dough on the Silpat. Silicone is fine for potholders and such, but I prefer not to prepare food on something made of silicone and fiberglass.  But that's just my personal preference.

I have a two-inch thick maple butcher's block section that I use for wetter doughs but because it's large, heavy, and I have to lug it out of my utility room, I wind up kneading and shaping my sourdoughs on my Wilsonart countertop.   It's not a slippery surface and works pretty well.  


SylviaH's picture

  It just doesn't work for me to knead on.....I  also use my parchment paper over my silpat for baking...I just don't care for "It"...Sylvia

josordoni's picture

I fold my dough in an oiled metal roasting tin, seems to keep it nicely in one place.  Shaping I do on a solid wood cutting board, or straight onto my worktop if I am in the mood for cleaning up...or the board has been used for something else.  Both have enough "grip" for shaping a boule, although as I usually make a batard or rustic shape, I don't need the friction.



phxdog's picture


Like Lindy, I use wood. The surface I work with was originally intended to be a shipping table, It's 2 inch thick maple, 3 feet wide and nearly 6 feet long. When I got serious about baking I created and island in the middle of the kitchen and incorporated the top into it.

Since this surface is often used for other food preparation, I keep it very clean and resurface it periodically to get rid of any deep chopping cuts that might hold contaminants. You should not have that problem if you're using Silpat.

It's big enough to have everything right within grasp including containers of flour, salt & sugar. For me, there is just 'something' about using a bench scraper on an actual wood bench.

Scott (Phxdog)