Pics of "living finish" on soapstone counters

dcward89December 5, 2013

I absolutely love soapstone and would love to have it for my counters in my new kitchen. My husband is a little less enthusiastic about the choice because of it's "softness" and increased chances of knicks/scratches. I am totally ok with a not pristine look to my soapstone. Ultimately he says it's my decision but I would like to have him feel more positive about the decision of soapstone over granite. I was hoping that some of you who have lived with your soapstone counters for a while could post pics of how your counters look now.

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Mine is 7 yrs old and is heavily used ! All my bread baking and pasta making and pies etc get done on the soapstone. I do not oil, it is Green Mountain . It has darkened over time and use. It has a couple tiny chips from a glass or two falling but they are very small. No other blemishes after all this time.

chocolate bread :

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 10:42AM
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trailrunner, beautiful and yummy. Since you don't oil, what happens when food-related oil gets on the surface? Does it all blend in, or does it evaporate and disappear?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 10:49AM
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trailrunner...thank you so much for posting those pics. Your counters are gorgeous and exactly the look I want...and chocolate bread sounds heavenly and sinful at the same time!! I cook every single day so my counters will get heavy usage like yours.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 11:03AM
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linelle thank you ! just wipes up...I can't see a difference in one spot where I spilled a bunch of EVOO last night as I was making salad dressing. I just use the soapy dishcloth and wipe over it and it is gone. Never have had a problem with "spots" on this stone. This countertop has darkened uniformly over the 7 yrs. I think every stone type is going to be least from what I read on this forum.

dc..glad I was able to be of help. I love my countertop. It is 30" deep and the uppers are 15" deep in this area. All drawers below with my baking stuff. Here is a pic of the area .

The bread recipe is below . It is exactly what they sell at Balthazar's Bakery in NYC! It is wonderful. c

1. Use Turbinado sugar for the top...lots not regular
2. Use the bittersweet not unsweet chocolate

1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour ( you can use bread flour)
5 cups bread flour ( 1 c or so extra for kneading)
1/2 cup good-quality cocoa powder
2/3 cup sugar, plus
4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast dissolved in 2 c warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons fine salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature,plus more for pans
6 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
vegetable oil, for lightly oiling bowl
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon heavy cream
4 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1)Chocolate Bread Starter: Dissolve yeast in water for 10 minutes; stir in flour until completely mixed; cover loosely and leave to proof at room temperature 6 hours.

2) Chocolate Yeast Bread: KA with dough hook for 5 min. on low or till completely smooth- mix 5c flour, cocoa, 2/3 cup sugar, yeast water and 1/2 cup Chocolate Bread Starter (freeze the remainder for later use); scrape sides often let rest in bowl 15 minutes.

3)Turn on KA to med. and add soft butter and salt, cont for 10 min till it is smooth and shiny. After the 10 min add in about 1/2c-3/4 c flour now , just enough so dough cleans bowl and cont a couple minutes. Should be very soft but kneadable. Place on counter with a light dusting of flour and knead in chopped chocolate thoroughly.

4)Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours; leaving dough in bowl, fold dough into thirds as if folding a letter for an envelope, recover with plastic wrap; let rest 30 minutes.

5)Butter three 8"x4"x2" loaf pans and coat with remaining 4 T granulated sugar; divide dough in thirds ( will have 4# of dough approx) and then divide each third into 4 even pieces; roll and form each piece of dough into a tight ball; place four pieces, smooth side up, side-by-side in each loaf pan; cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 2 hours.

6)Preheat oven to 375°;right before placing in oven combine egg yolk and cream and brush on loaves; sprinkle with lots of turbinado sugar; place in oven, reduce temperature to 350° and bake for 40-45 minutes or until loaves have a slightly hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.

7)Let rest in loaf pans for 5 minutes before removing to wire rack.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 2:30PM
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I'm glad to see that thge soapstone just sits there and looks good,

The bread sounds yummy, but I'm puzzled about the starter. If you have the starter, why do you use the extra 2 teaspoons of dry yeast?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 6:31PM
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The starter gives it a more "fermented" richness. What I did last time was just use my usual starter and then used the yeast in the regular recipe to spike it . When you are making a rich dough with chocolate and sugar and fat you really do have to use regular yeast as well as the fermente...that is what the pre-ferment is known as...the heaviness of the dough slows it down ....the extra yeast in the main dough gets it going and sees you through the whole process and you also then get the fermented richness from the the pre-ferment. It is a great recipe and tastes exactly like the $9 loaf I bought !! c

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 9:14PM
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We have a harder variety of soapstone, Belvedere. It is EXTREMELY durable, but it does not have that beautiful white veining that your typical soapstone has. It is bulletproof. We do not oil it. We do not baby it. It has no chips or dings after almost 3 years. I do not have a current photo, but it looks exactly the same as it did when installed.

I roll out my cookie and pizza dough on it. The oil sits on the surface, and I just wipe down when finished with Lysol countertop cleaner (with the purple trigger). I have no water spots, no rings, etc. I take hot items right from the oven and put on the counters too. And an added bonus, meats and anything frozen defrost in less than half the time it would take normally.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2013 at 9:03AM
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I have Mariana soapstone, which I would consider medium/soft. This is a photo of the most lived on section next to the sink, and above the dishwasher after nine months of hard use. I oiled for the first couple months, and then decided I liked the natural look so this is at least six months without oil. The small flecks will disappear with oiling, but I have grown to love the patina as it ages. I can take a 500 degree pizza stone out of the oven, and set it right on the counter, I love this stuff! I would do soapstone again in a heartbeat, the only regret I have is not knowing about it 30 years ago...

    Bookmark   December 6, 2013 at 9:34PM
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ctycdm, can you tell us about your lovely backsplash?

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 10:01PM
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harmonyhill, the backsplash is the same Mariana soapstone as the counter, cut and book matched out of the same slab.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 10:53PM
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fivefootzero...I think harmonyhill might have been asking about your backsplash. It's absolutely perfect with your soapstone! would you mind sharing details?

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 7:53AM
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fivefootzero backsplash is carrera marble subway tiles with a pencil tile accent. I got it at Home Depot.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 8:18AM
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