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The myth of marble pastry boards

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Why do people use marble boards for rolling out pastry? It is no colder than a wooden board. Marble boards feel colder because they conduct heat better than wood and thus facilitate heat transfer away from your hand. In fact, assuming your pastry dough is colder than your board, a marble board will warm up your pastry FASTER than a wooden board for the same reason. Heat can flow from the room temperature marble board into your pastry faster than it can from a wooden board.

If you want to use a marble board to keep your pastry cold, chill the board in the refrigerator beforehand. Some people already do this, but many don't.

If you're not going to chill your board, stick with wood.

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  1. I think i've seen some cooks go so far as to pour liquid nitrogen on a marble slab before use to render it cold. On iron chef america or something like that. Home cooks whose boards won't fit in their fridge could certainly use ice for a similar effect. But yeah, definitely cool your slab first if you want it to help keep your dough cold.

    1. It's not that hard to put a bag of ice on the marble either.

      The convenience of working on a board that's completely stable shouldn't be minimized. I was making rolls for Thanksgiving late on the night before. I'd been cooking for 3 days. I was certifiably exhausted. I had soft dough to shape into rolls, to butter and to place in the pan to rise. I was able to work almost effortlessly with one hand dry and the other sloppy with butter because my counter was at baking height and immoveable.

      I'm not saying if you don't have a marble or granite or soapstone or engineered stone or whatever counter you can't work on a wooden board. And I'm not saying anyone shouldn't be happy with what they've got. But I wouldn't go back for any amount of money.