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Tabletop/Countertop easy clean up?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hello:

 

My name is Brian, and my wife loves baking.  So much so that she has her own side business doing cakes and pastries for birthdays, weddings, etc.

 

I love to support her in this, and one of the ways that I do that (besides sampling the finished product :lips: ) is by cleaning up the dishes and working areas during and after the process.

 

Problem is, it gets MESSY (as I'm sure most of you know).  It's not just dirty dishes, but after a typical baking session, there's powdered sugar, cake scraps, jams, caramel, syrup.... whatever she happens to be using - it's everywhere!  And it's never easy to clean off the table/counter.

 

In the past we've tried taping down wax paper, and that works okay until it gets a tear in it and then it just falls apart.

 

I'm wondering if there's some kind of disposable or re-useable tarp type of thing that we can lay down before she starts baking, so that after it's all over, we can either throw the mess away or run it through the washing machine.

 

I really don't mind helping with the cleaning, but both our schedules leave us tight for time most of the week, so having a quicker, more efficient way to deal with "the aftermath" would be great.

 

Thank you!

post #2 of 8

One of the things you might look at getting is a bench scraper. That will give you a nice wide pattern that will clean particulates large and small (flour, sugar) and that should make it easier to wipe down the counters afterwards.

post #3 of 8

Bench scraper is a great idea. And your wife won't like the suggestion but clean as you go is the generally accepted way to make cleaning easier. To that end, find ways to make it easier like having the trash can more accessible, rinsing pans out as you finish with them and using cloth towels while working to wipe down surfaces. But if it starts a fight, forget I mentioned it. 

post #4 of 8
Line the counter with plastic wrap

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post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefwriter View Post
 

Bench scraper is a great idea. And your wife won't like the suggestion but clean as you go is the generally accepted way to make cleaning easier. To that end, find ways to make it easier like having the trash can more accessible, rinsing pans out as you finish with them and using cloth towels while working to wipe down surfaces. But if it starts a fight, forget I mentioned it.

 

Cleaning as you go is key.

Moving from a catering kitchen back to my own was a shock.

At first I just piled things in the sink (and left the mess for MY husband lol) then learned to rinse the thick batter off and stick things in the dishwasher right away and run the hot rinse cycle (when washer is full I go ahead and add soap and run full cycle).

It is also prudent to have extra stand mixer bowls and attachments, spatulas, sheet pans (what ever you have to wash and reuse right away get an extra) as that saves time and frustration.

I  bought a extra, larger trash can and line with the heavy heavy duty bags.

This I pull into my work triangle and rarely have to replace liner until the job is complete.

Sometimes it gets in my way but I just push a bit with my foot and all is good again.

One last thing....

I bought a large silicone mat to use for rolling out fondant .

Google The Mat and check it out.

Initially used it for covering the really large cakes and not have to rely on someone to come help when I flip the fondant.

The one I have is cut proof (the surface "heals" somehow) and was kinda spendy but well worth it IMO.

It comes in handy for all sorts of reasons one being I can work on top when rolling pastry or cookies (my copper cookie cutters make small cuts and yes they disappear as if by magic) and when I am thru I wash it in a storage tub full of hot soapy water.

The tub "sink" comes in handy for washing my largest cooling racks as well.

HTH somewhat.

 

mimi

post #6 of 8

how about going to your local marble/granite yard and picking up a large piece of scrap, ask them to get the edges smoothed out and use that?

we re-did our kitchen a few years back and I insisted on granite countertops this time, it's much easier to clean up with a bench scraper, soap and water, not to mention an impervious material.

post #7 of 8

Scrape it with either plastic or metal scrapper then sanitize with ooo5 parts Clorox and cold water, and tell her to be more neat.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks to everybody who's given us their suggestions and experience, and sorry for the delayed response. (Like I said, busy busy busy!)

 

I like the idea of the bench scraper - that would certainly get the bulk of the material and make it possible to get the areas that are really sticky.

 

flipflopgirl - my wife has 2 of the fondant mats you're talking about - she found 1 at ikea and the other I bought for her as a gift b/c it was about 1.5 times bigger than the other.  I don't know if either of them heal by magic, but if they do, I'm gathering some salt, herbs, an English-Latin dictionary and setting them on fire. :lol:

 

kaneo - that's a great idea, given that we're about to overlay our countertops with wood planks and cover them with resin.

 

minas - any trouble with the plastic wrap sticking to dough and/or tearing while you're working?  And how difficult is it to secure the wrap to the counter top?  One problem we've had with the wax paper is that the slight vibration/back and forth movement of the standing mixer would eventually tear a hole in it, and once that happened, it was as good as not being there at all b/c it would just keep tearing.

 

My wife will often use the dining room table too, either to work on or to let the baked goods cool off.  I've determined that I'm going to the dollar store and buying a whole bunch of disposable table cloths so we can cover the table with them - that will at least make the table easier to clean.

 

Thanks again for all the help/suggestions.  I'm gonna MacGyver a solution that involves all these things combined somehow.

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