The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

make bread WITHOUT plastic wrap or wax paper

ascuslsil's picture

make bread WITHOUT plastic wrap or wax paper

Does anyone know how to make bread WITHOUT plastic wrap?

A wet or damp towel?

A plate covering the bowl?

Basically, I am looking for a solution WITHOUT any disposable materials.




blackoak2006's picture

My mom would use a dish cloth and cover it right on the counter.  This is the method that I use and it works well.

sphealey's picture

Might go against the grain of what you are trying to accomplish, but I have a set of stretchy silicone bowl covers that I often use instead of plastic wrap.  They should last approximately forever in household service ;-)

Dough buckets are another reusable choice for rising; I have some from KA and also a couple of plastic ice cream buckets that a friend gave me about 4 years ago.

For the final proof I use damp cotton cloths streched over a set of upside-down drinking glasses.


rolls's picture

big plastic bags that you can reuse for the same purpose?

otherwise I'd just cover with a big bowl inverted

flournwater's picture

Bread was being baked thousands of years before plastic wrap came along so, of course, anything else that will help to prevent the dough from drying out and protect it from drafts will work just fine.  Don't everthink it.

jennyloh's picture

Pryex bowls comes with cover. Tried using that recently, works as well.  Agree with you about the plastic wraps,  time to be more environmentally friendly.  or just use a damp dish cloth.  That works as well.

ascuslsil's picture

Thanks, everyone.

I'm new to bread making and I've only made one loaf of the no-knead bread and there was some condensation on the plastic wrap. I wasn't sure if the humidity helped speed up the yeast fermenting in the first rise.

I will use a dish towel next time.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

works well, also any large lid that covers the bowl.  It doesn't have to be air tight, better if some gasses can escape.   A plate, even the fry pan itself can cover.   If you have low humidity, a wet dishtowel over the dough is better than a dry one, keep in mind that a wet towel cools the dough too, slightly dropping the temperature. 

If condensation forms on the lids, I drip it back in on my dough and use the moisture in removing the dough from the bowl.   The nice thing about a glass lid is seeing thru it.

pjaj's picture

I've never tried it, but a shower cap might do the job. Personally I never bother, if there's a slight dry crust on my dough after first rise then I just work it back in during knock down. It seems to rehydrate - no problem with yeast risen doughs, I'm not so sure about sourdough that requires considerably longer..

I've also found that working at the top end of warm for yeast doughs (say 35-40 degrees C) gives a faster rise and less time for the dough to dry out.

ejm's picture

I use a lidded casserole dish to mix bread dough. I have also put a plate over a mixing/rising bowl when the lidded casserole dish is being used for a casserole.

And for after the bread is shaped, if it is in standard sized bread tins, I use what look like shower caps (except they are made of food grade plastic. They are reusable.)

For bread that is shaped on a peel, I cover it with a clean tea towel followed by plastic grocery bags (we use and reuse the same two grocery bags) laid flat overtop. But I suspect that a rectangular pyrex casserole dish overturned would work just as well.

I used to use a damp clean tea towel on top of shaped free form bread but I found that the tea towel would dry quite quickly.


kneadingbob's picture

I have used these for years. I have some that are different colors. Just wash them up and use them until the elastic is shot. My traveling friends bring back the free shower caps in their hotel rooms. Work great.

Yumarama's picture

I have a set of clear plastic food bowls with lids, three sizes, cost $9 for the set. I have another set for smaller batches. All very handy, easy to clean, obviously reusable and can be used for lots of things. Bonus: they all stack into each other so they don't take up lots of room when not in use.

Being see-through makes it easy to check volume increase, their nearly straight sides are quite adequate for eyeballing "doubled in size" with help of a bit of tape.

Lidded tubs are good Smaller containers

I also have a couple of clear tubs for the bigger shaped loves. I've also used an inverted aluminum roast pan that also is used for self-steaming.

Tub for covering Turkey Roaster el cheapo

When I have loaves in the couche, I form then on a baking tray in the couche then slip the whole thing into a garbage bag. And then it gets used for the garbage bin when done.

Couche sur pan Couche en plastique 

And of course the dollar store bag-o-showercaps comes in very handy in a multitude of situations, such as a quick autolyse or covering pans.

Shower cap over the mixing bowl Caps over Loaves

Hope this helps, there's probably lots of other ways to use non-disposables.

A Hamelman BREAD baking group

Jolly's picture

I've been buying organic mixed salads in large plastic tubs. These see through tubs are large enough to place over pan loaves, and large batards. All it takes is a quick glance to see how my pan loaves are rising. It sure beats plastic wrap.

dmsnyder's picture

For covering bowls of fermenting dough, I use a silicone cover. I have them in 3 sizes. They also work as trivets and for covering bowls for re-heating food in the microwave.  I also use one when autolysing dough in the KitchenAid mixer's bowl. They work well for covering bowls of leftovers in the fridge. They seal air tight (better than plasti-crap, in my opinion).

As it happens, Sur La Table has them on sale for 1/2 price right now. The sale might end today ... I'm not sure. Anyway, here's a link:

I have no financial connection to the product or vendor, other than the product having saved me (and the environment) from using hundreds of yards of plasti-crap.


ascuslsil's picture

Thanks so much everyone.

The examples of what has been successful is useful.

I've got a bigger glass bowl that I'll put over the smaller one.


gene wild's picture
gene wild

When I was a kid my mother always  used a dish towel to cover the dough---she baked twice a week. I use the same technique today( forty years later) and it works just fine.

ascuslsil's picture

Now that's exactly what I wanted to year, a non-plastic wrap solution that has been tested for 40 years.

I guess this weekend I'll be baking a loaf.


jacqueg's picture

I raise and proof my bread in a warm, steamy microwave - heat a bowl of water, then pop in bread. DON'T microwave your dough!

RiverWalker's picture

thats a pretty clever idea, limited to microwave/batch size though.


personally I've used moist cloth towels for covering the bowl for the rise, I've also used an inverted bowl or pot-lid over the bowl the dough is in.  it doesn't need to be a tight seal, I find, to help keep the surface from drying out.