Q: What type of surface do you suggest for rolling dough? A: Any clean, smooth surface is usually suitable for this task. But since dough is...
Q: What type of surface do you suggest for rolling dough?
A: Any clean, smooth surface is usually suitable for this task. But since dough is easier to work with when it’s cold, a countertop or cutting board made of marble, stainless steel or soapstone — all of which retain cool temperatures — will serve best. Avoid textured surfaces, such as porous natural stone or tile, as dough will stick to them.
For easy cleanup, consider lining the surface with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper (cut a big piece, fold it over the counter and lean on it to keep it from sliding). You may also want to roll the dough between layers of parchment. Both liners are nonstick and heat resistant, so after you’ve rolled dough on them, place them on baking sheets and pop them in the oven.
Whatever surface you work on, it’s important that it be dusted with enough flour to prevent the dough from sticking. But do not use too much or the dough will become tough. A sifter or sugar-shaker will give you good control over how much flour you use; sweep away the excess with a clean, dry pastry brush.
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Q: How do you clean an antique bottle and get rid of cloudiness?
A: Begin by filling your bottle with warm water and a few drops of dish detergent, then scrub with a soft-bristled bottle brush. For bottles with very narrow necks, add a little rice or sand to the soapy water; plug the opening with your thumb, and shake. If this doesn’t work, try water and a denture-cleaning tablet. This loosens residue and lightly bleaches the surfaces. Let sit overnight.
Bottles with a crusty white buildup may have been exposed to mineral deposits in water, perhaps from being used as a container for cut flowers. You can treat this type of stain with a commercial lime scale-removing product.
All-over cloudiness is often seen in bottles that have been buried in the soil for many years: A reaction occurs between the glass and chemicals in the soil, which causes staining. Such bottles should be taken to a professional glass-cleaner, who will clean and polish them in a bottle-tumbling machine. This method is highly effective and has a low breakage rate (you can expect to pay about $20 per bottle).
Q: Can you recommend a way to get crayon marks out of clothing?
A: As with any stain, you must treat those left by crayons before putting clothes in the dryer, as heat can make the marks permanent.
Do not attempt to treat delicate items at home; bring them to a dry cleaner instead.
If the item is machine washable, focus on surface wax, then on removing the color it leaves behind, says Ann T. Lemley, chairwoman of the Department of Textiles and Apparel at Cornell University.
Scrape off as much wax as possible with the dull edge of a knife. (If it smears, first harden the wax by putting the garment in the freezer for an hour or so.)
Next, place the soiled area facedown between layers of paper towels, and press with a warm iron. Do not use a high heat setting, which can set the stain. Change the paper towel under the fabric repeatedly until no more color comes out.
Remove the towels, and apply a dry-cleaning fluid or heavy-duty stain remover made for use on wax or grease stains, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
If color remains, spot-treat the stain with bleach: On white fabric, use one teaspoon of chlorine bleach diluted in a quarter cup of water if the fabric allows. (Test a discreet area first.) On other fabrics, apply oxygen bleach mixed with a small amount of water. Wait 10 minutes, then wash the garment with laundry detergent and the same bleach as above, using the longest cycle on your machine and the hottest water that’s safe for the fabric.
Before drying, check for stains. If any exist, treat them again with chlorine or oxygen bleach. Launder once more, then dry in the dryer if the stain is gone.
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