The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Washing a Pastry Cloth?

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SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

Washing a Pastry Cloth?

I have my grandmother's nigh upon ancient pastry cloth. I know it's older than I am - my mom remembers seeing it in use when SHE was a kid, and she's 60. Let this be a testament to the lifespan of good, quality stuff! It came with a few bits of dough imbedded into it where stuff had stuck. Nothing to worry about. And then, last week when I was making my version of Anadama bread  - I failed to flour thoroughly before turning my dough out onto the cloth to divide and shape. I have a large, perhaps 3" round spot now that didn't come up entirely when I scrapped (carefully and at a very shallow angle) with my bench scraper.


Can I wash this? Is it going to be a mess? The edges are not finished/hemmed - they're simply cut with pinking shears. Other than unraveling, do I have to worry about the embedded flour and dough just turning into a paste and ruining the cloth entirely?


Any suggestions welcome.

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I wash my pastry cloth all the time. What I don't do is put it in the dryer. I just hang it on the clothes line, where I dry most of my laundry, outside. That way it retains some natural stiffness.


--Pamela

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

For something that is very likely delicate (especially the unfinished edges), I would carefully hand wash and avoid any machines. You might also get away with just 'spot washing' that one area. I'd try that first, then move on to other options if that doesn't produce good results.


- Keith

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Mine is just an unhemmed real flour sack cloth that I bought on eBay. It doesn't seem to fray much in the washer maybe because it is a pretty thick/tight weave.


--Pamela

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

Mine looks and feels like raw canvas.


 


Given that my family is one of artist, and my grandmother always had canvas around, I wouldn't put it past being canvas!

annaraven's picture
annaraven

Buy a large lingerie bag at the store (if you don't have one) and put the pastry cloth in that. And then wash it on delicate cycle with a non-smelly detergent and let it air dry afterwards. It should be fine. The lingerie bag will help it avoid unravelling.

Vrenibc's picture
Vrenibc

You might also try letting the cloth dry as much as possible and then using a clean plastic style vegetable brush to brush out as much of the embedded dough before putting it in theh washer.  The plastic or rubber bristles work to get between the threads without breaking them.  Less dough/flour means less mess in the washer!  I've both washed and dried mine in the washer/dryer, and never had a problem, but i always brush out as much as possible first.

mredwood's picture
mredwood

My pastry cloth had a weak spot from too much scraping too much or too hard. This is what I do when it goes beyond what I feel comfortable with. I don't mind flour water & oil on it and I like to keep the oil down because of rancidity. 


Place the cloth in your clean kitchen sink & cover it with cold water. Let it soak a while. Then use a plastic brush on it. Do a small section at a time. When the water gets cloudy from the flour change it. Turn it over and do the backside. Then the front. A good 20 minutes to a half hour the first time. Air dry. It does not have to come perfectly clean.  I would not agitate it in the washer because of the pinked edges. Remember you can always repink the edges. I would not use fray check. Mine is cotton canvas with a tight weave. One has a soft spot is the one that was purchased by someone and it has red pie circles on it. It is softer and not as tight as the cotton canvas I purchased at the fabric store. I have given many of these away to aspiring bakers. Always a clean surface. Fold up and place in a zip lock & whip it out when you need it. They last Forever. 

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I do about the same as mredwood...give it a good soak and a gentle scrub..several rinses and hang to dry!