How to Season an Antique Breadboard

by Dan Ketchum

Items you will need

  • Baking soda
  • Coarse salt
  • Household peroxide
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Paper towels
  • Mild antibacterial dish soap
  • Lint-free cloths
  • Lemon
  • Mineral oil
  • Beeswax finishing paste (optional)

Breadboards, those simple cutting board-like slabs of wood that accommodate kneading dough and slicing bread, serve as a staple of the chef's toolbox. Because simple wooden breadboards can last for decades if they are maintained well, coming across an antique breadboard is fairly common. If you want to extend the life of your aged board, seasoning it is key. Before you can season the board, you have to restore it.

Restoration

Step 1

Scrub the surface of the antique breadboard with a paste made of 1 part baking soda, 1 part coarse salt and 1 part water. Use a clean, lint-free cloth, massaging the board with enough pressure to remove food or other residue that may have accumulated over the years. Rinse the board thoroughly with hot water and repeat the scrub as necessary until it's clean.

Step 2

Saturate a paper towel with distilled white vinegar and wipe the entire surface of the board, then saturate another paper towel with 3-percent household peroxide and wipe it down again. This process disinfects.

Step 3

Wash the breadboard in a sudsy solution of antibacterial dish soap and warm water, then rinse it with hot water and wipe it clean with a dry cloth. Set the board upright and allow it to air dry completely.

Seasoning

Step 1

Sprinkle an even coating of coarse salt over the surface of the breadboard, then rub the board with the fleshy side of a sliced lemon. Rinse the breadboard thoroughly with hot water and allow it to air dry.

Step 2

Work a dab of mineral oil into the breadboard with a clean, lint-free cloth, following the direction of the wood grain. Continue massaging oil into the wood until the board stops absorbing the oil. Wipe away excess oil with a clean, dry, lint-free cloth. Allow the board to dry upright overnight before using it.

Step 3

Repeat the salt-and-lemon process once every couple of weeks and apply oil once per month.

Tips

  • For additional protection, finish your seasoned breadboard with a top coat of beeswax. Wipe a soft beeswax finishing paste onto the board's surface with a clean, lint-free cloth, just as you would apply shoe polish. With another cloth, buff off excess paste. Beeswax fills in any gaps or pores the oil seasoning didn't penetrate, which boosts the board's resiliency and water-repellent qualities.

    To clean the breadboard after each use, wash it quickly in a solution of mild dish soap and water, and rinse it with cool or warm water.

Warnings

  • Never use olive or any other type of vegetable oil to season a breadboard or cutting board, new or old. These oils rapidly become rancid.

    Avoiding putting your antique breadboard in the dishwasher or cleaning it with household cleaners or furniture polish. These practices may damage the board or put your food in contact with dangerous chemicals.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

About the Author

Dan Ketchum has been a professional writer since 2003, with work appearing online and offline in Word Riot, Bazooka Magazine, Anemone Sidecar, Trails and more. Dan's diverse professional background spans from costume design and screenwriting to mixology, manual labor and video game industry publicity.