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Marble Surfaces: Selecting, Cleaning, Maintaining


VivreManger
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I am hoping to move into a newly purchased house in a few months. I have a slab of marble about 3/4" thick, 4' 6" long and 16 1/2" wide. I don't know what kind of marble it is since I got it from my parents' house after they died.

I wonder if marble has any special properties that would make it useful as part of a kitchen counter. It is not wide enough to provide an entire counter, but it could be placed as the outer segment of the existing counter which is now about 25" deep, but could be cut back to 9".

I remember that Steve Herrold uses a marble slab as a mixing counter for adding candies and other smoosh-ins to ice cream, presumably because the marble retains the cold better than a conventional board. I don't do much pastry, but does it have advantages for rolling dough. How would it function as a cutting board in general?

Any thoughts on a partial marble-topped counter in a kitchen?

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Some people like to roll out pie dough or other butter pastry on marble. I'm not an expert but I believe it keeps the butter from warming as fast as other surfaces. My husband bakes a lot of bread, and he prefers kneading bread dough on a wooden surface.

If it is old untreated marble it will not be stain resistent and it is soft. I wouldn't encorporate it into a counter surface that gets a lot of food spills. I can't imagine using it as a primary cutting surface. I've always liked the look of old pale marble in a kitchen, though.

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I am hoping to move into a newly purchased house in a few months.  I have a slab of marble about 3/4" thick, 4' 6" long and 16 1/2" wide.  I don't know what kind of marble it is since I got it from my parents' house after they died. 

I wonder if marble has any special properties that would make it useful as part of a kitchen counter.  It is not wide enough to provide an entire counter, but it could be placed as the outer segment of the existing counter which is now about 25" deep, but could be cut back to 9". 

I remember that Steve Herrold uses a marble slab as a mixing counter for adding candies and other smoosh-ins to ice cream, presumably because the marble retains the cold better than a conventional board.  I don't do much pastry, but does it have advantages for rolling dough.  How would it function as a cutting board in general? 

Any thoughts on a partial marble-topped counter in a kitchen?

Great for rolling pastry because the fat in the pastry stays cooler longer, great for tempering chocolate, making fondant and fudge.

I probably wouldn't use it as a cutting board though, just like a glass cutting board it would be hard on your knives. I'd leave it as big as possible.

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When we remodeled the house before this one I actually went to a marble yard and got a 24 inch square piece of marble and had it inset in the ceramic tile kitchen counter. I was making lots of peanut brittle at the time. It was also a nice accent since the marble was the white with the gray veins and the tile was white. Agreed- not a cutting board use.

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At 16 1/2" wide, I would think about using it as an hall entry table or sofa table rather than a countertop. Or, if you are pressed for space, as a bath lav with one of those partially overhanging sinks. It seems a bit shallow for rolling out pastry, even if it might be suitable.

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The size of marble you are having is not even close to a size of marble that you can use as a counter top. But if the remodeling guy knows how to fit this piece in your kitchen then it might come in handy.

About using the marble for rolling dough, I do not find any problems but I will not advise you to use it as a cutting board.

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If you are having the work done by a professional countertop person. The slab of marble can be cut in half and joined with a barely noticeable seam and the resulting nearly square piece can be cut to fit.

I have a slab of marble joined this way in one section of the center island in my kitchen, it measures 30 x 30 which is an ideal size for my use. If you can only have a standard counter depth area, it isn't difficult to find a size that will be handy for you. The part that is trimmed off can be trimmed and fitted as the backsplash in that area so you will have an obviously dedicated pastry area.

It's always best to ask a professional as to your options.

P.S. They can also treat the surface so it is easier to maintain and resistant to absorption of oils an etc.

It can be stained by fruits and such - mine is - but it does not make it unattractive, at least to me.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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  • 1 year later...

Today I tried tabling for the first time, making meltaways. I have scrounged a piece of old kitchen counter in a heap of rubble. The marble is smooth but not polished, and the tabling worked fine. But how do I keep it clean? It is too big for the kitchen sink. I'll want to use it for baking as well.

Thanks

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It just so happens that I polish and restore stone surfaces for a living. You dont need to bring it over to the sink, all that's needed is a gentle cleaner. If you go to a place like Home Depot (or any other home improvement store or tile shop) they will have concentrated cleaners made specifically for stone, its just a light soap. I personally use just an itty bitty touch of dish soap, but mostly water. Regardless of what you do, the most important thing is to buff the slab completely dry after you've cleaned it, you dont want to leave any amount of residue on the stone, especially since its used in preparing confections. You can scrub the stone if you need to, but it shouldn't be really necessary. You would never want to scrub marble if you had it as a counter top, you would scratch it immediately, but since what you have is just a work surface (and not polished anyways) dont worry about it. Hope everything was clear.

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Mette, I saw some marble cleaner in either Bahaus or Silvan, but make certain that whatever you get is okay to use on surfaces that are used for food prep. Or, Flemming Rubak (Århus, don't know his phone number, Krak, maybe?) might be able to recommend something specific, as he used to deal in stone surfaces, although he's in gum boots and JP, now.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
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I was told not to put any marble in the dishwasher, because the acid in dishwashing soap would damage it. Anybody know about this?

It sounds like your slab is too big for the dishwasher anyway, but I thought I'd bring up the question.

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I was told not to put any marble in the dishwasher, because the acid in dishwashing soap would damage it. Anybody know about this?

Yeah, that is true. Some soaps will etch a marble, and certainly if it was washed in a dishwasher on a regular basis, it would definitly lose its polish. When using marble like this for tabling or slabbing, you would ideally want it to be polished so the surface is not porous and thus the surface doesn't trap and food in it and stain. Cleaning a polished piece of marble would mean using a cleaner meant for natural stone, as well as not scrubbing it, marble scratches very easily, as opposed to a piece of granite.

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  • 2 years later...

My new kitchen has marble countertops. I've used the surface for kneading, and it cleans up easily with a dough scraper. BUT, I'm trying to figure out how best to clean off fats/oils. (The surface was treated with a penetrating sealer.) When you roll piecrust or other fat-enriched doughs on marble, how do you clean the surface when you're done? TIA.

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My new kitchen has marble countertops. I've used the surface for kneading, and it cleans up easily with a dough scraper. BUT, I'm trying to figure out how best to clean off fats/oils. (The surface was treated with a penetrating sealer.) When you roll piecrust or other fat-enriched doughs on marble, how do you clean the surface when you're done? TIA.

Detergent may leave a soapy taste even the surface is sealed, and leftover fat/oils can get rancid.

Very easy if you just get a large silicone bake sheet to work on.

dcarch

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We just bought a condo and received a 47 page "Resident's Handbook". Amongst other things, it has this to say under "Granite, Marble and Conglomerate Surfaces"

Clean with a mild dishwasher detergent or soap and water solution and rinse with clear water. Wipe dry with a soft cloth or tea towel to eliminate water streaks. Never use abrasive creams or soutions that contain acids such as lemon or vinegar as natural stone products, particularly marble, are sensitive to etching by acids. For liquid spills and stains blot the area with a paper towel. Do not wipe, as this will spread the spill. Use a dry soft cloth to dry the area."

Hope this helps.

Edited by ElsieD (log)
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I wouldn't worry much about residual detergent tastes if you follow the instructions ElsieD posted above. Another idea, if you're worried about residual fats or oils, is to sprinkle flour or cornstarch as an absorbent, then scrape, then clean as noted above. I don't know about you, but when I'm rolling doughs out on my granite top I'm already using a bit of flour for that "lightly floured surface". FWIW my granite countertop instructions also said to avoid ammonia-based cleaners because they'd mar the finish over time. I don't know whether that would also apply to marble.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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What I have seen in professional pastry shops is a common plumber's blow torch.

Chocolatiers frequently use a technique called "slabbing" to crystalize ganaches, basically moving it around on a marble slab. Obviously the slab needs to be cleaned to avoid flavour transfer. The slab is scraped clean with a plastic scraper, then heated up briefly with the torch, then wiped clean with paper towels. It is then sanitized with 100 % alcohol....

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What I have seen in professional pastry shops is a common plumber's blow torch.

------

That needs to be done very carefully, otherwise the smooth stone surface can pop.

The rough up stone surface using "fire hone" method.

dcarch

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