Cleaning Cutting Boards & Counters

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I have a kitchen counter that has a slide out wooden cutting board. I find that if I place that on the counter and attempt to knead dough on it, it slides around, making kneading a difficult task. I started using the countertop instead, but first cleaning it with some vinegar and hot water. What is the recommended method of cleaning the counter if one is going to put food on it directly?

First of all, if you'd like to use your slide-out wooden cutting board for kneading, you can place a slightly damp kitchen towel under it, to keep it from sliding around on the counter. You can also purchase a non-skid mesh rug cushion very inexpensively from carpet and home stores, and cut that down to size to keep your cutting board in place — it will stick like glue. Another option, if you have the space, is a dedicated kneading board, which has a lip on the front edge to keep it from sliding away as you knead.

But whether you knead dough on the cutting board or the counter, that still leaves your question of how to clean the surface. We are not particularly fussy. We use a liquid dish detergent, hot water, and a clean sponge to clean our counters, we rinse them thoroughly to get rid of any hint of soap, and dry them with a clean kitchen towel before we knead dough or roll out pastries. We are not of the school that every surface must be steam cleaned or sanitized with anti-bacterial detergent before it can safely be used for cooking projects. The U.S. Department of Agriculture gives you the option of sanitizing counters (and cutting boards, cooking utensils, etc.) with a chlorine solution of 1 teaspoon of liquid household bleach per quart of water, followed, we hope, by a good rinsing.

Your own standards may dictate the amount of scrubbing and disinfecting required, but for us, freshly scrubbed, well rinsed, and dried is good enough.

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Cutting Boards: Wood or Plastic?