What surfaces should we use for making dough?

Joined Jun 9, 2015

I am looking to start making dough from scratch, and I'm curious what people like to use as a surface?

I see most instances use a wood board/cutting board, but I've seen some people use their counter.

My counters are used for other things than food, so I rather not use the counter directly, but was looking at buying a board like this 
[product="27474"]Michigan Maple Block Aga02418 24 X 18 Maple Cutting Board  [/product]
Is there a certain size that works good?  For what it's worth I'm looking at making dumplings for now, and possibly Tortillas soon, so nothing crazy big like a pizza.

I'm not sure how far the dough is supposed to be stretched, or how manageable it is with a smaller board, so I'm curious what length/width would be good?

Thanks for the help.
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Joined Apr 4, 2012
My suggestion? Skip the fancy board and spend a few bucks on a sturdy bench scraper, instead.

I don't think I'd ever use an un-sealed wood surface to roll or knead dough on. Too much friction. And 18" in either direction is kind of small for rolling or kneading dough.

Pastry likes to stay as cold as possible. I wouldn't mind having a marble counter top for pastry, but that's just a crazy fantasy that I would never spend money on, unless I found a nice, good-sized slab of marble at a thrift or building-materials reclamation store for dirt cheap.

Bread dough is less fussy. It does't make much difference. 

In both instances, you're going to be flouring whatever surface you are forming the dough on.

I'm not sure why you would need to think about a surface for tortillas. If you don't have the skill to form them between your hands and don't have a press, you're going to want to roll them out between sheets of waxed paper.

Frankly, I've always either used a wood kitchen table top or a Formica counter top--whichever I have better access to. In restaurants, stainless steel is the norm.  As I've gotten older, I prefer the counter top--easier on the back--that's more important than the surface material. I've always rolled pastry dough between sheets of waxed or parchment paper. I also form pizza crust on a sheet of parchment, so I can slide the sheet with the dough on it onto the baking sheet without damaging it.

For cleaning up, It's easier to use a bench scraper and then wash down the Formica, IMHO. If you are concerned about the counter having been used for other things, spray it down with a bleach or peroxide solution, then rinse thoroughly before proceeding.
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Joined Aug 4, 2000
...my formica countertop and yes, get yourself a bench scraper.  They're indespensible for working dough.
Joined Jun 19, 2016
a note regarding advice to get a bench scraper.. for use on synthetic countertops make sure the scraper is also synthetic (plastic), I fact its probably best just to use synthetic at all times unless you know 100%the countertop is marble/granite.

a few years ago I used a steel scraper on a bench I thought was marble and after I scraped I noticed a long sweeping scratch about 3 foot long where the corner of the scraper had a small burr and carved out a new unwanted engraving. needless to say its the last time I listen to the wife when she talks about how nice a kitchen is with marble tops only to discover later its imitation.
Joined Jun 27, 2012
Flexible scrapers with rounded edges give you double duty as they come in handy when you need to work in a bowl.
Much easier on your hands than a spoon and not such a messy cleanup as when you use your hands alone.
Not just for dough....great for larger portions of dressing bound salads as well.
Pretty much anytime I need to mix something I grab one and leave the tedious to clean implements in the drawer.

Joined Aug 31, 2012
I agree with the others, get a good bench scraper. I usually use the white "flexible" ones made from plastic they are very handy and can last long time as long as you don't lose it. Hihi.

But if you're really looking for a countertop, we used to utilize a wooden cutting board. Don't have to get the fancy ones tho!
Joined Aug 4, 2000
A metal bench scraper with the "correct" edge is more efficient than a plastic one at scraping particles off of the surface.
Joined Oct 10, 2005
Its not so much the bench surface as it is the actual bench itself.

For instance, everyone in a commercial kitchen knows how flexible/wiggly/shaky a standard stainless steel prep table is.  You put a little pressure on the rolling pin and the table sags, You try and knead bread dough, and the table wiggles and shimmies all over the place.

The typical residential countertop is actually fairly good, as it is supported every 16-24" by the base cabinet walls.  The countertop itself is 3/4" particle board covered with laminate, which is a fairly decent surface, but more importantly, most countertops have a "backsplash" which really helps in keeping things clean and not have flour  get all over the place.  You'll realize this if you ever try to use the kitchen table.

Countertop "real estate" is a very valuable resource. Don't clutter it up with coffee machines or things, leave a space big enough to plop a 24" cutting board down, and use this space for your dough work.

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