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Pastry Surface for High Butter Content Doughs?

  • w

hello,

i was contemplating getting a marble board for working with my pastry dough, pasta and breads. however, as i was further investigating marble as an option, i noticed that a person mentioned that for 'high butter content doughs' (i.e. biscuit dough etc) the marble did NOT work well. i do alot of this type of dough.

currently, i roll out on a large silpat type mat for my doughs. but it's still a bear to clean with all the oil. i also have granite counters. would that be an option? to just roll out my butter doughs, breads etc on the counter? although, a major concern is hygeine. w/ the granite, i can only use a specific cleaner with a 0 ph. so i'm not sure if it's really getting CLEAN. especially, after a high oil content dough.

prior to investing in a heavy 'ol chunk of marble, i wanted to get your opinons regarding this.

thank you very much.

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  1. I too have granite countertops and that's exactly what I use. It's always cool/cold and works perfectly. Just be usre your granite is well sealed and thet you clean it well after using as granite doesn't like oil or grease all that well. I use plain old soap and water for cleaning, never heard of using a 0 ph cleaner.

    1. What's the concern with marble?

      1. Odd... why would you want to use a cleaner with pH 0? That's like straight acid. Are you sure it's not supposed to be a more neutral type of cleaner, with pH 7 (which would match with water and a mild soap).

        1. Personally I think one of my friends was overboard in using a tub of ice under her marble pastry board but she turned our the best pie crusts and pastry items I would die for.

          I do not know how this one is done, but she made a pie crust that had a tissue like layers to it. It was like she rolled out 10 or so paper thin layers and added it into the shell. It made an awesome lemon meringue pie.

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          2 Replies
          1. re: RShea78

            That sounds like classic puff pastry. It is in fact layers of flour and butter. It takes a bit of work to make; I use Julia Child's recipe, which is easier than the classic version but tends to cover my kitchen in flour every time I do it. But it's great stuff and very versatile in baking both sweet and savory dishes.

            1. re: BobB

              I've made my own puff pastry but since a local shop is carrying Dufour all butter pastry I don't mke my own any more.

          2. The main thing (OK, only thing) I roll out is cookies, and I have a pastry board for the purpose. When I finish baking, I scrape it down with a SS scraper, and then oil with mineral oil on a clean rag or cloth-type paper towel.

            What I want to have eventually is an entire butcher block counter.

            3 Replies
            1. re: foiegras

              >>> What I want to have eventually is an entire butcher block counter.

              Careful what you wish for.

              You may not get much sleep at night, having nightmares of everyone using it as a "saw" board leaving groove marks in it like some chainsaw was used on it. Or some macho guest in taking knifes and embedding the tips into it like some tree stump. And watch out for cleaver being used to make decorative "V" notches into the edges or wacking off the corners of the top.

              Never mind me if you plan on living there alone or having professional security personal keeping an eye on your countertop.

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              1. re: RShea78

                LOL ... so far no one else has ever chopped anything in my kitchen except at my request ... and I keep my knives safely stowed away in drawers, out of the line of sight of any macho guests (I have to say, it is a bit rare for me to play host to the testosterone-poisoned ...)

                1. re: RShea78

                  That's exactly what I have. The chop-marks are, to me, a sign of a well-used board. There are curry stains and blueberry stains and many many grooves. I can even see the embedded point of my favourite paring knife that broke off once when I was trying to pry apart a chunk of frozen meat. Doesn't bother me one single bit. Eventually - 25 years, say - it all builds into a rather handsome, near-antique patina.

                  And yes, I use it to roll out pastry. No complaints.

              2. Why are so many people concerned with keeping marble, granite, and wood surfaces pristine? While I don't want to pass judgement, but I sometimes think perfect surfaces in the kitchen is a sign of lack of use. Use your surfaces as intended (cutting, working dough, etc) and enjoy a nice glass of wine with your meal!

                3 Replies
                1. re: laidback chef

                  I think a lot of people do renovations and upgrades with re-sale values in mind. It's been pounded into people's brains and made even worse with the proliferation of channel programs geared in that direction.

                  I, however, agree with you. First of all, life is too short to keep stressing out about such things. And second, our home is ours to enjoy, and if that means a little wear and tear (especially in the kitchen!), than so be it. I'll worry about re-sale value later....

                  1. re: flourgirl

                    Go with the granite or marble. I've worked with restaurants that use all granite counters in their bakery and the results have been stellar - of course, that's more due to the commitment and passion of the pastry chef than the counter surface.

                    It doesn't make sense that a marble surface wouldn't work well with "high butter content doughs" - how exactly does your friend say it doesn't work? Typically, it's the dough (flour) that sticks to a surface. A high content fat dough should work "slippery-er" and a surface that's floured correctly should be perfectly fine.

                    If you really want to get fancy and worry about your hand heating up the dough and causing the butter to melt, consider installing an undercounter refrigerator, tearing off the top and sealing it to the surface from beneath. It will always keep a part of the counter refrigerated for working with these kinds of doughs.

                  2. re: laidback chef

                    I'm with you!

                    I had the marble counter installed in the baking area I'd wanted all my life for about 48 hours before I etched the surface with lemon juice. So what?! It's a functional working area, you have to look for the etching, there's so much more now that they're all blending together rather nicely, and it's still an incomparable surface for working doughs and chocolate.

                  3. One of the reasons I have granite counter tops is to work with dough! No need for anything else.

                    1. Get a marble slab but keep the acid cleaners and citrus fruits away from it. I rolled some lemons and limes on mine and marred its surface. I have a couple of plastic bags of frozen water I use to chill the marble. I also got an old cutting board at a thrift store and covered it with canvas duck cloth. I floured it and use it for bread-- no clean up afterward, it gets stored in all it dusty glory in a giant zip lock bag

                      1. How about quartz countertop for pastry rolling?

                        1. I've got a marble counter in my baking area. I roll directly on it for many things. But for really soft doughs I roll on a cotton/linen tea towel that's well-impregnated with flour.

                          I've been using the same couple towels for years. The more you use them the more flour works its way into the weave and the more effective they become. I never wash them -- there's nothing on them but flour. In the beginning when they weren't so well impregnated I just let the bits of dough dry and the scraped them off with a bench knife (scraper). I keep them rolled up in an airtight Cambro tub. I can set my really wet no knead breadough right on a towel and be assured it will release it every time.

                          1. I use a marble slab for all types of dough and never had problem with high butter/fat content. One of the advantage of a slab is that one can put it in the refrigerator to chill by itself or with pastry on it if necessary. For rolling out pie dough, even with the marble and because I don't like to add flour for dusting, I find it easier to roll between sheets of plastic wrap/parchment paper.