The Perfect Pastry Board for Biscuits, Breads, and Other Doughs.
If you love to bake, put your biscuit recipe into the blue ribbon class with this handmade
pastry board, designed specifically for working doughs with deftness and ease.
The American hard maple surface is specially planed for working with special doughs
- mass-manufactured cutting boards just don't cut it in comparison to a real
handcrafted pastry board! An exceptional gift for discerning home bakers.
The History and Tradition Behind My Pastry Board
It is well known throughout these parts that my mom makes the best chicken and
noodles in the entire world. All right, I am a bit prejudiced. One of the secrets
of this family favorite is the homemade noodles prepared from scratch. One of my
fondest childhood memories is of watching my mother rolling out dough. She did this
on a slab of wood called a pastry board, dough board or biscuit board that actually
belonged to her aunt Bessie and was handed down
to my mother. This pastry board has served its function as the perfect surface for
making up pastry and biscuits for nearly 70 years and will be in service
again this Thanksgiving. Homemade bread and biscuits are one of life's simple joys. It is
an Irish and Southern tradition to always have biscuits for company. One never knows when
the preacher might come calling.
Crafting a Proper Pastry Board
Now a pastry board differs from a cutting board. A pastry board is used for rolling
out dough, not just chopping up ingredients. A pastry board must be flat so it works
with its partner, the rolling pin.
It is not in wood's nature to remain flat. No matter how we torture it with sharp knives,
it always tries to return to its natural shape. The pastry board I am offering you
here may appear to be a simple panel, but
there is subtle engineering involved. It is better to work with wood's natural ways than to try
in vain to force it to our will. By alternating the growth rings on narrow boards we
balance this effect. Thus when one board desires to curve down, its neighbor wants to
curve up. This keeps the pastry board relatively flat. In addition, the end of the panel
is captured in two rails that run the opposite direction, holding the dough board flat. These
rails cannot be glued and must allow for the seasonal movement of the wood. A panel this
wide can expand and contract by as much as 1/4" along its width. By use of a floating tongue
and groove joint that is fixed only in the center with a small dowel, the wood is allowed
to move yet still remain in plane or flat. The outside or end dowel pins fit in little
slots in the tongue to allow for this movement. You will notice the rails sitting proud
on the board or a little shy depending on humidity and time of year. This joint is fittingly
called a breadboard joint.
Made in the USA of American Hard Maple
My pastry boards are made of hard maple carefully selected and hand planed flat. The
panel is then glued into a larger panel, carefully alternating the growth rings, and then
again hand planed to dead flat. The panel is then milled with a
floating tongue and groove (breadboard joint) and pinned with 3/16" cherry dowels. I oil
the hidden tongue and groove before assembly, just in case a little water during cleaning
should creep in, to minimize wood movement. Once complete, the dough board is again leveled and
oiled with either walnut oil or mineral oil. Finally the pastry board ends are laser carved
with the inscription "Give us this day our daily bread" on one end and on the other end
the same saying in Gaelic! If you would prefer to purchase my pastry board with a different
inscription, please contact me.
I call this piece my Irish Biscuit Board and it will give generations of faithful service
and help you build your own traditions.
A Word About Food Safe Finishes and Your Pastry Board
All oil finishes once cured are safe and non-toxic. Walnut oil is natural oil from the
walnut and is safe for all food utensils. It is, in fact, edible. However, if you have known
allergies or require an FDA approved finish, mineral oil is the only FDA approved finish
for food preparation. I also use this as a finish. If you have a preference, please mention
it in the comments field during the checkout process. You should not treat your pastry
board with vegetable oil or peanut oil. These will turn rancid and make the board smell
or grow mold.
Care and Cleaning of Your Pastry Board
Cleaning your pastry board requires just rinsing off with water and towel drying. Do
not place in water to soak. Do not put in the dishwasher. Keep it away from registers or
heat vents. A light coat of mineral oil (never use cooking oils), applied once a year,
should keep your pastry board flat and in good shape for decades.
George Beck, Fishers Laser Carvers
Have questions about my Pastry Board? Call me at (317) 845-0500!