The 10 Best Pastry Boards
This wiki has been updated 30 times since it was first published in January of 2016. Whether you're an occasional home baker or a professional chef creating culinary masterpieces, a good pastry board can make the difference between a delicious treat and a doughy mess. Ideal for all kinds of baking needs, including rolling pizza dough, kneading bread, and more, our selection has something for everyone. You'll find many are easy to care for and clean, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
March 24, 2020:
We made a handful of changes when revisiting this list, including replacing the Minchsrin Silicone Work Mat with the equally budget-friendly, but more durable, BJGXFMQ Table Sheet, as well as updating the Catskill Craftsmen to reflect a more versatile design from the same eco-minded company.
And because the Tableboard Company and Snow River Maple are relatively similar, we decided to say goodbye to the latter in favor of the Bethany Housewares Hardboard, a rounded Scandinavian design that's built to last and comes with a handy washable cloth for working with tricky recipes like Norwegian lefse, as well as typical pie, pizza, and cookie doughs.
We wanted to keep this list diverse to meet differing needs, so you'll find hard plastic, flexible silicone, long-lasting marble, and sturdy wooden options. You'll also notice our choices run the gamut in size, with pieces perfect for cookies and other small treats as well as extra large items ideal for pasta.
All our silicone selections are made to be rolled up for storage but will still lie resolutely flat when in use and are dishwasher, oven, and freezer safe. These are ideal for cooks with limited space who deal with a variety of recipes. Two of our wooden options are double sided, eliminating the need for a second cutting board. And if you're looking for something that is as pleasing in the aesthetics department as it is functional, you can't go wrong with the Sur La Table or Fox Run Marble, both attractive, natural stone options with stay-cool properties. The Fox Run unit comes in at a lower price, making it a solid starter option for newbie bakers who don't need something as premium as the Sur La Table design.
Charlton Home Paradis Marble The Charlton Home Paradis is made from natural stone, which is non-porous, never absorbs moisture, and always stays cool and dry. The smoothness of the surface makes it suitable for many types of preparation work, and its highly polished, glossy finish is easy to handwash. Its elegant champagne color complements many kitchen decors and allows it to double as a sophisticated serving board. wayfair.com
Wood, Marble, Plastic, Or Granite Pastry Board?
When you start your search for the perfect pastry board, the four main varieties you'll see are wood, marble, plastic, and granite.
When you start your search for the perfect pastry board, the four main varieties you'll see are wood, marble, plastic, and granite. The main qualities we'll be looking at are ease of cleaning, ease of use, durability, and bacteria resistance. First, let's look at wood boards. Wood actually has naturally sterile properties that help it fight off bacteria. Wood also has a classic look that many bakers like. Just keep in mind that this material stains and burns easily. Plus, people can often mistake a maple pastry board for a cutting board and start chopping vegetables on it. Just make sure everyone in your kitchen knows this wooden board is for dough only. You also cannot put wood pastry boards in the dishwasher.
Next, we'll talk about plastic boards. These are very lightweight so if you need to take your pastry board on the go, they're a smart option. You can also typically run plastic pastry boards through the dishwasher, which makes cleaning them quite easy. Just know that the cuts in a plastic board cannot close up the way those in a wood model can. Plastic pastry boards will, of course, be one of the more budget-friendly options on this list, as well.
Now, let's make a sharp turn to one of the least wallet-friendly varieties: marble. Pastry chefs love marble because dough rolls so smoothly over its surface. The unique way this material dissipates heat also means marble stays very cool, which in turn keeps your dough at an ideal temperature. It's nearly impossible to cut a marble pastry board, so you don't need to worry about any germs getting trapped inside small markings in the material.
Finally, let's look at granite, which many chefs compare often to marble because it's durable and elegant. Granite won't stain, which is something we, unfortunately, cannot say about marble. Granite removes one other worry, too: etching. Acidic products can leave etches on marble, but won't do that as much on granite.
How To Tell If Your Dough Has Been Properly Kneaded
Pizza, pretzels, bread: each of these foods seem like they'd have a pretty standardized baking process. So then why is it that some restaurants have noticeably better pizza? And some kiosks have remarkably tastier pretzels? It's probably in the dough. Whether you're new to handling this temperamental food or you're an experienced pastry chef, you can likely benefit from reading these tips on properly kneading dough. The reason you knead dough is to strengthen the gluten, a protein that makes dough elastic and helps it rise. You may have noticed that gluten-free bread often doesn't rise well, and seems rather dense. Now you know why. Sufficient kneading, either by hand or in a stand mixer, is important to give your pastry its shape and structure.
However, if the dent remains there, then your dough needs more kneading.
The first way to tell that your dough is ready is to check if it holds its shape. Form your dough into a ball and hold that ball in your hand. If it retains its shape, it's ready. If it starts to fall and flatten out, it isn't ready. The dough will sag if the gluten proteins are not yet strong enough from kneading. You can also test your dough by poking it. Strong dough won't hold onto the dent you poke in it. You'll see that indent fill out again quickly. However, if the dent remains there, then your dough needs more kneading.
You can stretch your dough to test its strength, too. Break off a small ball of the stuff and flatten it in your hands. Then, begin to stretch it into a nearly paper-thin sheet. If it's ready to go, it won't break. If it rips open, you need to knead it more. You can tell if your dough is ready by looking at it, too. Your ball of dough should look completely smooth once it's been properly kneaded. If you still see any lumps, it isn't ready. Your dough will also be rather sticky to the touch once it's ready to go. If it still feels dry, then you have to work on it.
What To Look For In A Pastry Board
Pastry boards have come a long way from the plain slabs of stone they once were. They boast features that can make creating your doughy recipes much easier. Some, for example, have standard crust sizes etched onto them, helping you create perfectly-measured out small, medium, and large pizzas at home for your oven. Some models even feature conversion charts, so if you're a big fan of European cookbooks but unfamiliar with their measurements, these can help. Many also feature grooved edges to capture any liquids that might go rolling off, helping to keep your counters a bit cleaner.
They boast features that can make creating your doughy recipes much easier.
If you have a small kitchen, you may want a silicone or plastic board that rolls up for storage. When you're already working with little space, you need kitchen tools that can do double duty. Fortunately, some pastry boards are safe to put directly in the oven, so you can cook your dough on the same surface where you kneaded it and have one less item to clean later. If you get pretty active when you knead your dough and tend to break a sweat, make sure your pastry board has non-slip feet on the bottom to withstand your enthusiasm. Some silicone boards are designed to stick to your countertops when you work, so you can be certain they won't slide around.
Do you have a hunch your family will try to use your pastry board as a cutting board? That's alright, because there are models that are reversible, with one side for chopping food and another for kneading dough. Just make sure your other kitchen mates know which side is which. If you opt for a wooden or marble board, make sure it has some sort of sealant on it to protect it from scratches and other damage. As for plastic or silicone varieties, look for ones that are durable.