If you like making pizza, pies, pastry, bread, or pasta at home, you might need a pasta board in your life. This wooden countertop add on can solve many problems in the dough making process.
Wooden workbenches are often used in bakeries and culinary schools. Having one in your own home is just the best thing you could have if you make a lot of pasta. Although we used both stone and wooden countertops in my culinary school, I am always making pasta on a pasta board at home. That is how my grandmother taught me, and that is how I think the best pasta is made. If you are in a process where you are still researching what is pasta board, then read on, and I will explain.
What is pasta board?
It’s a special wood board for making pasta. A large wood pasta board is easily identifiable by the lip in the front that extends down to cover the counter’s edge and the lip in the back that reaches up to serve as a backsplash of sorts, preventing the messy countertops that mixing, kneading and rolling out dough can cause.
You will immediately appreciate the huge surface area these boards provide such that you can prep and roll out your dough while you make your favorite baked goods. The countertop notch not only provides a unique accent to your kitchen but also keeps it stable on your countertop. Optional rubber feet can easily be added to the board’s bottom, providing additional grip to secure the board on your countertop.
Pasta boards are usually hand made. This means that you can order any pasta board size you desire. Usually, pasta boards sizes vary from 24-28 inches wide and are around 17-22 inches deep.
What is pasta board used for?
The number one reason to use a pasta board is convenience. It’s perfect for big and messy projects like rolling out pie crusts and pizza dough, working with pastry, kneading bread dough, and of course, making pasta.
The board is perfect for any kitchen, but those households with little counter space appreciate the additional workspace even more.
The unique design, with the front lip serving as an anchor to keep the board from slipping and moving while you work, and the back lip reaching up, preventing flour from escaping to coat your countertop, makes using a pasta board a no brainer.
Sheets of pasta or pizza dough can take up a lot of room and create a huge mess. Since this portable workstation was created for just this purpose, your food prep and clean-up will be made easier by using this practical kitchen tool.
Is a pasta board the same thing as a pastry board?
There are various boards advertised, like an Italian wooden pasta board that touts its effectiveness with both pasta and pastry dough and a marble pastry board that is great for pastry dough since it has a natural surface that stays cool.
You can certainly use any pasta board for pastry dough, but not all pastry boards work equally well for pasta.
While pastry boards are made of materials that are well suited for the mixing, kneading, and rolling out of pastry dough, many of them are not sturdy or durable enough for pasta dough, which often calls for more punching, pounding, striking, and pushing.
Err on the side of versatility and choose a pasta board instead of a pastry board. It can serve a dual purpose and get the job done regardless of the type of dough you are making.
What is the best wood for a pasta board?
Whether you are shopping for a premade pasta board, or building your own, be sure to choose a quality, dense, and sturdy hardwood that won’t splinter over time or transfer any wood flavors to your dough.
Ideal hardwoods include walnut, maple, cherry, and oak. All are popular choices for pasta boards and will hold up well for years of use.
You’ll want to avoid woods that are so soft they scratch easily and those that might impart a resin taste to your dough. Woods like ash, balsa, pine, basswood, and spruce are not good choices for a pasta board.
Can I use a pasta board as a cutting board?
While searching for a pasta board, you might see ads for a cutting board, pastry board, or even a stove cover noodle board. While similar in some ways, these are not the same and serve different purposes.
Cutting boards are smaller than pasta boards, usually too small for working pasta dough. They are also used for chopping and slicing various ingredients like meat, vegetables, or fruit.
While you won’t want to chop onions and peppers on the same surface you roll your pie crusts on, the good news is that most pasta boards are reversible, so you can keep your kneading board side smooth and flawless and flip the board over to use the bottom side as a cutting board.
If you decide to use the bottom part of a pasta board as a chopping board, it is best to use it for drier ingredients like chopping nuts, slicing hard cheese, and bread.
What’s the final word on a pasta board?
The final word is that you need one. If you plan to make dough of any kind, you’ll appreciate a pasta board’s usefulness and practicality. Don’t noodle on it too long. Choose one and start enjoying it.
The convenience of having such a sturdy, portable workstation that helps prevent an epic mess on your counters will make you wonder how you ever lived without it.
When you look back on your days of fighting parchment paper that rolled up, slipped around, and spilled flour all over the place, you’ll be grateful to have discovered this valuable kitchen tool.