How to Care for Old Wood Dough Bowl

by G.K. Bayne ; Updated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • Wooden dough bowl
  • Water
  • Dishcloth or sponge
  • Plastic scrubby
  • Dishtowel
  • Paper towels
  • Almond oil or mineral oil

For many bread makers, an old wood dough bowl is a true treasure. Wooden dough bowls can be purchased new, but older bowls can be found at thrift shops, flea markets and antiques stores. Many bakers think that the older bowls are the best because they are well-seasoned and require very little care. You can recognize an old wood dough bowl by its size and shape; most are shallow with 4- to 5-inch sides and 12 to 15 inches in diameter. They can be round or oblong, depending on the style used by the maker.

Step 1

Wash your wooden bowl as soon as possible after it is used. Use a dishcloth or wet sponge to wipe out the bowl and a plastic scrubby to remove any dough that clings to its sides.

Step 2

Avoid allowing wet foods to sit in the bowl. Moisture will seep into the wood fibers and possibly cause cracks as the wood dries.

Step 3

Dry the bowl with a clean dishtowel immediately after washing.

Step 4

Use paper towels to rub a light coat of almond oil or mineral oil on the inside and outside of the bowl. This will protect the bowl from drying out. Do not use cooking oil because it can become rancid when exposed to air and affect the taste of the next batch of bread.

Step 5

Lightly oil your bowl monthly, even if it has not been used. Not only will this keep your bowl from cracking, it will help the bowl continue to develop its own patina.


  • There are two schools of thought on using soap to clean an old wooden dough bowl. While some people advocate the use of soap, others say soap destroys the patina that is classic to antique bowls.

    Wooden dough bowls can be used for things besides making bread. Use a bowl filled with fruit as a centerpiece of your table or kitchen island. Or use it as an accent piece to hold car keys, watches and other personal items in other rooms of the house.