Author Topic: Soapstone Countertop for Dough Prep  (Read 976 times)

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Offline mitchjg

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Soapstone Countertop for Dough Prep
« on: June 22, 2013, 10:01:09 AM »
Hi:

We are in the process of finalize design for our kitchen remodel.  So far, we have selected soapstone for our countertops.  We have had granite for years and agree it is time for a change. 

Does anyone have experience, comments, etc. regarding the suitability for opening a dough on the countertop?  I have had zero issues with granite and understand wood is too absorbent and steel may be "too cold."  But, I have not (yet) found commentary here on the use of soapstone (other than as a baking stone).

Thought I would check with you folks before committing.

Thanks a lot!

- Mitch


Offline red kiosk

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Re: Soapstone Countertop for Dough Prep
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2013, 11:01:34 AM »
Hi Mitch,

Congrats on your kitchen remodel! I'm actually a kitchen designer and have had my soapstone countertops and sink for something like 15 years. Soapstone is not maintenance-free like granite, but definitely worth every bit of the time it requires. I used to do all my doughs right on the countertop with no problem, except clean-up was a bit more involved. Because the traditional surface treatment for soapstone is mineral oil, even after wiping it off with a soft towel, it is still there just under the surface. The flour that is on the surface of the countertop can draw some of the mineral oil out from below the surface and result in a lighter colored patch where the flour was. Quick fix though… a little olive oil on the dry patch and then rub it in with a paper towel. The degree to which this happens is all dependent on how long ago you treated you counters with the mineral oil. I'm at the point now where I treat them every two months or so, for they are pretty saturated. Initially, you will be treating them every week or so for a while. Daily wiping the counters down with a damp rag or sponge removes much of this surface and just-below the surface oil, so this dry-patch problem is less apparent if you haven't done a mineral oil treatment for a while. Also, because soapstone is made of quartz and talc, the softer talc will wear away over time with constant wiping/cleaning, resulting in a fine leather-like texture. It takes quite a few years to get to that state, but it's just beautiful. A couple of years ago I got one of these… 

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/silicone-rolling-mat

and never looked back. It's very easy to work on, has the ruler and circle measurements printed on it, is a snap to clean in the sink and rolls up for easy storage . When I make pizzas, I slip the leading edge of the peel, just under one side of the mat, making it super easy to slide the formed dough off the mat and onto the peel. Hope this helps and feel free to PM me if you have other soapstone related questions. Take care!

Jim
« Last Edit: June 22, 2013, 11:04:23 AM by red kiosk »
The pathologically precise are annoying, but right!

Offline mitchjg

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Re: Soapstone Countertop for Dough Prep
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2013, 11:28:19 AM »
Jim:

Thanks a lot.  Exactly the type of information I am seeking.  As long as it behaves like granite or marble when opening a dough, I am good to go.  We are actually thinking it will be fun to watch and manage the stone over time via oiling, etc. 

In speaking with the gentlemen at the soapstone dealer, it sounded like you can actually go back and forth in the oiling process.  Oil it as you wish.  But, if you decide you want to go to the non-oiled finish look, he said some rubbing alcohol will bring it back to the non-oiled look.  any comments on that?

If the dough opening process (or bread kneading) makes a dry spot that needs a bit of oil, I am not a bit worried about it.

BTW, regarding the silicon mat - my perception was, although it is great for baking non-stick, the raw dough would stick when trying to open, spin, etc.  I guess not.

- Mitch

Offline red kiosk

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Re: Soapstone Countertop for Dough Prep
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2013, 12:07:22 PM »
Hi Mitch,

There can be different degrees of oiling the soapstone, but I definitely recommend oiling. Raw soapstone sucks up fat like liposuction! When I first installed my soapstone, I too wanted to retain the natural light grey color and have it age naturally, having oil from my hands slowing aging the edges, etc. etc. That lasted about one day until my young daughter left a cheese square sitting on the counter for a minute or so. Beautiful "dark" oiled  square in the middle of the "grey" countertop. Then there were the errant parmesan cheese sprinkles when we had pasta, yes, a beautiful dark sprinkle pattern around a grey circle where our plates were. I came to the conclusion that REAL people oil their soapstone countertops. I actually like the look of 2-3 months post-oiling soapstone best. Regarding the silicone mat, I rub flour into/onto the surface of the mat (just like you would with the countertop) until my hand slides easily over it. That's it! Take care!

Jim
« Last Edit: June 22, 2013, 12:15:56 PM by red kiosk »
The pathologically precise are annoying, but right!