Old wood breadboards gradually dry out and begin to split along the grain. Exposure to dry kitchen environments and hot loaves of bread can speed the drying process. Soaps and other cleansers can strip away the natural oils in wood that keep it moist. Reintroducing an oil substitute seasons and protects the wood. Old wood breadboards that are regularly seasoned with purified oils can sustain sufficient moisture for decades of use.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Liquid dish soap
- Nylon bristle brush
- Coarse salt or baking soda (optional)
- 5 tbsp distilled white vinegar
- 1½ cups water
- 473ml. spray bottle
- 1 cup food-grade mineral oil
- Microwaveable bowl
- Paper towels
Wash the old wood breadboard thoroughly with liquid dish soap and the hottest water you can stand. Scrub the surface with the firm bristles of a nylon dish brush. Sprinkle coarse salt or baking soda on the surface if an additional cleaning abrasive is necessary to fully clean the board.
Combine 5 tbsp of distilled white vinegar with 1½ cups of water in a spray bottle. Seal the bottle, then swirl the ingredients to mix them evenly. Spray all the surfaces of the old wood with a generous coating of the vinegar mixture.
Set the sanitised breadboard on its side on a clean surface in a well-ventilated area. Wait one hour for the vinegar odour to dissipate. Heat 1 cup of mineral oil in the microwave for 20 seconds.
Pour 2 tbsp of the warm food-grade mineral oil directly onto the breadboard. Spread the oil evenly in the direction of the wood grain. Add another 2 tbsp of oil at a time until the wood will absorb no more and the surface is coated in a thick layer.
Leave the board to absorb the layer of mineral oil overnight in a warm indoor area. The next day use dry paper towels to wipe away the excess oil. Reapply mineral oil when the breadboard wood begins lighten in colour.
Tips and warnings
- Dust an old breadboard with coarsely ground cornmeal before you set a hot loaf on it. The cornmeal absorbs moisture from the loaf and prevents it from sticking to the board.
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