A pastry board is a rectangular piece of smooth wood or plastic used when baking pastries. It can be used as a work surface to perform various tasks throughout the baking process. It can also be used for a number of other kitchen activities, and sometimes goes by the more general name, kitchen board. Although the typical pastry board is made of wood, it can also come in plastic.
As mentioned, this tool can be useful in performing a number of tasks related to baking. Let’s say, for example, that someone wants to bake cookies. A pastry board is the perfect surface upon which to sprinkle flour and roll out the cookie dough with a rolling pin. Its finely sanded surface ensures that the cookie dough will roll out evenly. When using cookie cutters, it is helpful to have a smooth, even surface against which to press, ensuring that the form of the cookie is completely cut away from the dough.
If ingredients such as nuts, chocolate chunks or dried fruits are to be included in the recipe, a pastry board is a good place to chop these ingredients before adding them to the cookie dough. When the cookies are done baking, one usually places them on a cooling rack until they are firm and cool enough to handle. A pastry board can be placed underneath the cooling rack to keep the kitchen counter from getting dirty with crumbs from the cookies.
If there is not enough space on the kitchen counter for the cooling cookies, it can be easier to move a pastry board with a cooling rack on top, rather than moving the cooling rack and risking the loss of a cookie through the spaces in the grid of the cooling rack.
Some pastry boards are decorative, with designs and carved or burned into the wood, which can make them a great platter upon which to serve cookies and other pastries. In addition to being used as a baking tool, the board can also be used for cutting any food item from meat to vegetables. The wood or plastic of the board is soft enough to avoid damage a knife blade and the kitchen counter. A pastry board can even be an interesting way to serve sliced cheeses, cold cuts and crackers. An arrangement of assorted crackers may stay in place better as well, rather than sliding around on the slick surface of a plate.