Easiest way to clean floured countertop
November 18, 2017 2:03 PM   Subscribe

I've been ramping up my baking on the way to Christmas and cleaning the countertop is the most annoying part of the whole process. Help

I have a silicone baking mat but for this purpose it's essentially useless.

The semi-dried bits with flour stuck to the table are really a pain to remove as well as the entire flour residue itself.
What I've been doing is sweeping with a small Ikea dish brush the residue directly into the trash bin and then using a pastry cutter to scrape everything off and then wipe off twice.

This is very annoying and takes a long time. It has to be a better way.
posted by tedious to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Is a pastry cutter the same as, or different than, a bench scraper? The bench scraper is the tool I use for this, but I also use it to cut dough, so I think of it as a 'pastry cutter' and maybe you do too. FWIW I don't sweep anything before the using bench scraper: I do
- scrape into a single pile;
- scrape into a mobile trash catcher;
- wet and scrape again;
- wipe clean
posted by xueexueg at 2:08 PM on November 18, 2017 [6 favorites]

Get a proper stainless kitchen scraper. Scrape once. Wipe off with cloth. Done.

Works whatever your countertop is. Wood, laminate, granite, glass, quartz, whatever. You won't damage anything if the scraper is smooth and not nicked, which it will never be because it's stainless.

I make a metric fuckton of bread and cleanup would suck balls if I didn't have one.
posted by Mons Veneris at 2:08 PM on November 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

My German grandma from a family of bakers always puts down a clean bed sheet on the counter and works the dough on that. Then, just ball up the sheet and throw in the wash. Easy.
posted by joan_holloway at 2:17 PM on November 18, 2017 [11 favorites]

Ah, I meant bench scrapper.

I just did clean it, and since there wasn't much humidity this go round, everything stayed pretty dry, and it DID go fast.
posted by tedious at 2:21 PM on November 18, 2017

I've always kept a long plastic ruler on a shelf over the counter. It usually doesn't take more than a couple of scrapes to sweep everything into a hand or directly into a bin. I wouldn't use a brush - they tend to pick up bits of pastry and flour or just flick them everywhere. I'd start with the scraper and then pick up the rest with a cloth that's damp, not wet.

For bread, no-knead methods can produce very good results, and don't require scattering any flour.
posted by pipeski at 2:33 PM on November 18, 2017

Use cold water for wiping. Hot will make it gummy
posted by SLC Mom at 2:52 PM on November 18, 2017 [4 favorites]

I use a bench scraper (as at the link from xueexueg) for this.
posted by 2 cats in the yard at 3:27 PM on November 18, 2017

During big baking jobs that include flour all over the counter and kneading, I lay down a layer of saran wrap over the entire part of the counter I'm about to destroy with messy cooking. Silicone mat goes on top.

Makes clean up a breeze.
posted by Karaage at 3:35 PM on November 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think we need more of an understanding of what you're doing. If you're just talking about random bits being a pain to deal with, you could just use a cheap table cloth underneath, shake it out afterwards, and then throw it in the wash (or sheets of newspaper or whatever.)

If it's bits from rolling pins, maybe extra flour?

I'm not a fan of cleaning up flour + liquid in general, it's smeary and gross and you clean it and it sticks to the thing you cleaned it with. The pastry cutter thing is helpful for scraping of larger masses, followed by very wet sponge, followed by less wet sponge, followed by sponge that cleans, followed by paper towel for shiny.

The key thing for me is getting the larger masses scraped up with the pastry cutter (or whatever we are calling it--the rectangle dough slicer thing). Once that's dealt with it becomes less of a project.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:37 PM on November 18, 2017

You know those fishnet bags that onions and potatoes come in? Take one of those, scrunch it up, and use it to wipe down your floury/doughy countertops.

A similar concept is described here:
posted by aquamvidam at 5:31 PM on November 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Just use lots of water - make a pool on the counter. It will loosen up.
posted by Dashy at 6:34 PM on November 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

You need abrasion. Similar to the dough bags: I do a ton of baking every year. After brushing up dry crumbs/flour with a brush or damp cloth, go back and use something like a 3M scrubby - or the dough bags - to dislodge the sticky bits without damaging the surface. A little bit of elbow grease - not much. The main thing is you just need the abrasive surface to catch and pull up those bits. Doesn't take long.
posted by Miko at 7:55 PM on November 18, 2017

It needs to soak. I handwash, so when I'm done, I just lay the wet dishcloth over the bit of bench I kneaded on, and leave for a few minutes. Wipes up fine when it's wet again.
posted by kjs4 at 8:21 PM on November 18, 2017

I bought a couple packs of inexpensive kitchen towels, and every time I prepare food on the counter, I spread towels down first. When they get sufficiently crusty, I throw them in the wash. Repeat as needed.

Also, use a DRY towel to sweep up flour residue, and then a liquid wipe-down to clear off the last bits. Using a wet cloth or wipe to clean up loose flour just results in glue.
posted by Autumnheart at 6:13 AM on November 19, 2017

I use a Dobie and water.

Available in your supermarket. Will not scratch.
posted by SemiSalt at 7:20 AM on November 19, 2017

For rolling out cookies, parchment, waxed paper, or silicone cutting board. For general flour mixing and kneading, a wooden cutting board. For pie crust, a pastry cloth. For large scale baking mess, a piece of canvas covering the counter. For the inevitable flour mess, wipe with a dry cloth, scrape, then finish off with a wet, soapy scrubby sponge.
posted by ruetheday at 4:10 AM on November 20, 2017

Thanks for all the suggestions y'all. The unwashed linen really takes the cake though!
posted by tedious at 7:37 AM on November 20, 2017

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