The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Killing the cling wrap

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grrranimal's picture
grrranimal

Killing the cling wrap

 

This is such a small thing, but it bugs the bejeezus out of me.  

Every time I approach a new bread recipe, and I see instructions to "cover with cling wrap" (aka, cling film, plastic wrap, Saran wrap, etc), I think there must be an alternative to adding a few more bits of plastic to the world.

Do any of you use alternatives to plastic film to cover your in-bowl rises?

This is such a pet peeve, I've considered buying a set of glass mixing bowls that have fitted lids, but that seems like such an unnecessary expense.

Thanks, in advance, for any ideas.

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

I've been wondering about using a damp towel instead.  I think this is what older recipes called for.  It might not be sufficient in a very low humidity environment though.

alconnell's picture
alconnell

Shower caps work great! I use them all the time.  They fit over even my largest bowl, though it does stretch out the elastic.  We can all do more to reduce the waste stream.

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

I've sometimes used a damp kitchen towel lately and it works just fine.

browndog's picture
browndog

I just use (and reuse) plastic grocery bags. A couple of them last for weeks, and you can rinse and dry them if they get grungy, but mine usually don't. The bowl gets tucked in one and the open end closed. There's no need for a snug 'cling wrap' seal as long as you don't have air leaks that can dry out the surface of the dough. No way would I go through yards of cling wrap just to make some bread--I don't even buy the stuff, actually. I reuse the bags I buy produce in if I have to have plastic. I have tried the damp towel, but it dries out if the bulk is long and the plastic is easy and effective.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Same here. Either plastic grocery bags or at most the tall kitchen trash bags (unscented). I can use one of those 4 or 5 times before it gets nasty or torn, in which case I then just use it as a trash bag.

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

I use large zipper type bags. Hefty has 2.5-gallon ones that fit a couple of small bannetons. Ziploc has a variety of sizes; the 20-gallon size is roomy enough for a couple of cookie sheets worth of rolls. They're food-grade and can be used again and again. Just make sure you let them dry out completely on the inside before storing them. I found all of these bags in my local supermarket.

Susanfnp

http://www.wildyeastblog.com

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

I often just use a towel, and give the dough a mist of water every once in a while if I'm worried about it drying out.  The ziplock bag is a good idea too--I sometimes cut them open to make a larger area for covering doughs on the bench, etc. 

 

Don't they have elastic-edged plastic bowl covers for picnics etc?  I had it in my head to try that but haven't seen them in the store lately... 

susanB's picture
susanB

Hi, 

As humid as it's been lately, a dampened tea towel, occasionally re-wet and wrung dry, works fine for me. Just be sure the bowl is big enough for the expanding dough or it'll become one with the cloth.  Oft-times I follow the suggestion in "Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book", and upturn a plate on the bowl (if the bowl isn't too big for the plate)

susanB

slaughlin's picture
slaughlin

I tried the press and seal type wrap and it worked well but went back to a damp towel as the press and seal wasn't cost effective(in my opinion)  I have not really noticed any difference between the cling wrap and damp towel

steve

dstroy's picture
dstroy

I'm pretty sure I've seen Floyd simply reuse plastic bags - sliding bags over bowls or even using the ultra cheap kitchen bags over doughs, when he's not using linens.

sphealey's picture
sphealey

I received as a gift a set of stretchy silicone "bowl hats" in small, medium, and large. They work pretty well for covering bowls in place of cling wrap, although they do tend to slide off if the edge of the bowl has flour or oil on it.

sPh

Oldcampcook's picture
Oldcampcook

Would a shower cap work?  May have to steal my SO's and hope she doesnt kill me.

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I also cringe when I see that directive.  Sometimes plastic wrap seems to be the best idea.  But I also have plastic shower-cap-like bowl covers (one IS a shower cap).

And I bought a pair of plastic covers made for my KitchenAid mixer bowls.  They call themselves "non sealing" but they work for my purposes.  If I'm concerned, I might put a damp cloth over the top of that.

Rosalie

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

from my frying pan, fits perfecty over my dough bowl and I can see through it.  When dough is rising in the casserole, I just put the lid on.  For loaf pan, I put it inside two larger bowls, one inverted on top of the other.   --Mini Oven

grrranimal's picture
grrranimal

 

Hmmm.  Wonder if any of my pot lids are big enough for my monster mixing bowl! 

Prandium longa. Vita brevis.

mariana's picture
mariana

To ferment dough in a bowl without using plastic wrap to protect its surface from drying out, boil a cup of water in microwave, place it in a corner and place your bowl in the center of microwave oven. Water vapor will create humid and warm environment inside, just like in professional proofing chambers that bakers use. Bakers don't use plastic wraps.

grrranimal's picture
grrranimal

 

Of course!  Great suggestion.

 

Prandium longa. Vita brevis.

verminiusrex's picture
verminiusrex

I do the oven proof method, place a pan of hot water (from the electric kettle) in a cold oven with the dough during both proofings, it makes for a warm, moist enviornment that the dough loves and the dough doesn't crust over.

Maeve's picture
Maeve

I do use plastic wrap, because we have this huge roll of it bought at sam's club yonks ago.  But when I let the dough rise in the loaf pan I use a turkey roasting bag, sort of rolled up about halfway and propped over the pan.  For rolls I put the top a cake carrier thingy that I've had lurking in my kitchen - useless - for years.  I don't like putting plastic wrap right on my dough.
When that roll of plastic wrap runs out I will probably use the shower cap idea.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I'll use the plastic grocery bags everyone else mentioned but my favorite is the higher quality slightly yellow shaded bags they put out for holding a dozen ears of fresh corn. They seem to be heavier and stronger and a little larger. They fit over my largest bowls and seal around the bottom nicely.

When I use a bag with a lot of clearance above, sometimes I'll mist just a little water inside to raise the humidity and help keep the dough nice and soft.

Eric

suave's picture
suave

I use cling wrap without second thought.  It is dead convenient, and as far conservancy issue - weigh out a piece of cling wrap and compare its weight to things you might normally throw out - plastic fork, yogurt jar, takeout box, food storage bag. 

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

You've got a good point about the weight.  I'm using more cling wrap these days because the particular roll I have is fairly easy to work with.  I don't know if I'm just lucky or if the more constant humidity level in this house makes a difference.

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

Thank you for being honest.  I use many sources; cling-wrap (i buy it in a resataurant pack, it lasts a yr. or so) But mostly I glom my coverings from the supermarket meat bags.  They are a heavy poly food grade bag that I usually take 2 when I need 1.  I split them on 2 sides and they cover my half sheet pans just great.

______________________________________________________

Two wrongs don't make a right. Three lefts make a right

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Don't compare the the cling wrap to other things you might "normally" throw out.  If you're really interested in conservation, you'll compare the cling wrap to other things you might do in this particular instance.  As MKelly signs off, two wrongs don't make a right.

Rosalie

suave's picture
suave

Well, how's this for comparison.  I can use a grocery bag.  It's gonna be wet afterwards and therefore will have to go into the trash.  It weighs at least twice what a piece of wrap would weigh. Otherwise I would recycle that bag back at the store.

browndog's picture
browndog

The plastic grocery bags do sometimes get damp inside, but dry out with a little airing. I keep a half dozen that get used over and over again. Eventually they get holes, and that's when I toss them.

hedera helix's picture
hedera helix

reduce, reuse, recycle is the mantra I live my life by. So in this case...

Reduce = don't buy cling film, and turn down offers of plastic carrier bags wherever possible

Reuse = when I have had to take a carrier bag, use it for all manner of things, over and over again, including covering dough. Nver had any problems with it drying out doing it this way instead of cling film. Then after the bread is made, the bag gets turned inside out to make use of dry side, and I wrap the bread in it for freezing (actually do a double wrap with 2 bags for better freshness later). If they begin to look a bit ragged after a while, like Floyd, I use them for your trash.

Recycle = last resort.

It might seem a small thing to worry about, but as I have already said elsewhere on this site - "A thousand ripples make a wave"

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

I do two things:

  1. I cover the bowls for the bulk rise with a dinner plate. Works fine!
  2. For rising dough, I've usually got it in my cooler with a cup or two of hot water in the bottom to get the temperature into the 80s. With all that moisture, there's no need for plastic. You can do the same thing with a plastic clothes box -- turn it upside down with a cup of hot water inside.
ehanner's picture
ehanner

I do reuse cling wrap and I have a box of rubber bands to snap around the top of the bowl for a good seal.

Usually though I just flip the bowl over on the counter top, pat it into a ball that fits and cover the dough with the bowl it came out of, for the bulk ferment.

Eric

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

My county collects the plastic and goes into recycling. It never even sees a landfill or water source.
Mini O