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counter surface suggestions

JonE's picture

Hi all,

Trying to finalize design on the kitchen in our new house.  We plan on doing a lot more pastry/bread/baked goods than at present, and am looking for suggestions on the best design and materials for a baking prep area.  Also for fresh pasta.  I have read that a marble surface at about 30" height (roughly at kitchen table height) is ideal.    Would soapstone work as well?  How about granite, or even a butcher block surface?   We're open to ideas, I don;'t want to do this twice and we have a LOT of flexibility in the design because I'm building my own cabinets.



butterfingers's picture

(post #63966, reply #1 of 8)

I do a lot of baking -- especially bread -- and I agonized over my countertop. Final decision -- silestone. It has all of the qualities of natural stone without the upkeep. I got "tea leaf" and I LOVE it.

Adele's picture

(post #63966, reply #2 of 8)

What color walls did you do with the tea leaf?  There are so many colors to choose, very pretty.

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

butterfingers's picture

(post #63966, reply #5 of 8)

I painted all of my walls white, with the exception of one which I painted a forest green. I also got a Kohler green sink. My KA appliances were already green, and I like to joke that I decorated around them, but I have always liked green. I have a copper faucet and backsplash. I really like the Silestone. I was going to get marble or granite. I definitely did not want a laminate. The kitchen counter was tiled when I bought the house, and the ONLY advantage of those damn tiles was that I could put hot pots directly on the countertop. I did not want a countertop that had the possibility of singing or melting. Plus, frankly, I don't like the look of laminate or corian. Butcherblock was too high maintenance. When I was looking at the granite and marble, the salesperson pointed out Silestone and I was hooked. I place a half sheet tray of ice on the counter before I roll out pastry and it retains the cold beautifully. I can knead dough on it without too much extra flour. I did not get a "decorative" edge on mine (they give you a choice of a decorative edge or a plain squared off edge when you order). The plain edge means I can clamp my pasta maker on the edge.

Aberwacky's picture

(post #63966, reply #3 of 8)

For height, since you're building the cabinets make them the height that suits you.  I was going to make mine 30", until I realized that was about 2" too short for me.

What I ended up doing was standing, miming kneading, and had DH measure where my hands were.  For me, it was at about 32", and that's worked out great.

For the surface in that area, I have smooth laminate (I have a textured laminate on the other counters).  Not fancy, but it works fine.  I like it as a neutral temperature surface--for pastry or yeast doughs. 

I also like butcher block as a kneading surface, but it can be a little "grabby" for some pastries. A marble board placed on top and used for pastries can solve that problem, though.



I am a domestic goddess!  I deserve three ovens (and two dishwashers)! I am a domestic goddess!  I deserve three ovens (and two dishwashers)! I am a domestic goddess!  I deserve three ovens (and two dishwashers). . .

"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
deejeh's picture

(post #63966, reply #4 of 8)

I have a stainless steel countertop and love it.  It's smooth, always cool, and cleans up like a dream. 


Sammy2's picture

(post #63966, reply #6 of 8)

I put in a solid granite baking center that is 29 1/2 inches high, 55 wide and 24 inches deep.  I also kneaded my bread on many different heights to try and determine what worked best for me.  I'm 5'4, and my height is all in the leg so this works for me.

MinCCS's picture

(post #63966, reply #7 of 8)

As a geologist and foodie I would have to vote for granite!  It's indestructible, won't crack with heat, won't stain or scratch.  Great for pastry (doesn't scratch or mark when you scape it with a pastry scraper) and fine for bread kneading too.  And it doesn't have to look flashy and modern.  I had a beautiful fine-grained Brazilian granite in our 155+ yr old house in New Orleans that had an olive green tone to it - was very low key and elegant. No need to build up the edges so it looks thicker....        

Cooking Mom's picture

(post #63966, reply #8 of 8)

We too have Silestone (mahogany - it looks like melted chocolate!) and I love it.  Our cabinets are pulled away from the wall 4 inches so our counter tops are extra deep, which leaves lots of room for everything when baking.  It's a great "heat sink" - things thaw or cool really quickly (granite does the same).  I lay out our steaks or butter and it thaws/warms much quicker; same goes for cooling things (although I do let the pot/pan cool a bit before I set it down).  It's beautiful to look at, easy to wipe/scrub, and takes no upkeep.  Our counter is 32" which is too high for kneading, but if I wear shoes it's better (I'm 5'10").  The bullnose edge lets me use my pasta machine too. I had heard horror stories about granite cracking and being stained by hot butter cookies before we got our silestone, but many friends have had not trouble with granite. 

Good luck!