The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Stuck Cloth Needn't Deflate ???

Chuck's picture

Stuck Cloth Needn't Deflate ???

Once in a while a cloth sticks to my dough. That makes me curse, remind myself to be more careful next time, and sprinkle no-stick around more liberally.

But I've never had the loaf deflate; I've always eventually been able to get it unstuck without damage. Is this just weird luck? Or is deflation really not a mandatory sentence?

The moment I sense something is stuck, I stop pulling on the cloth. I identify the nearest stuck spot, and carefully scrape it loose with a table knife (the knife scrapes the cloth between it and the stuck dough; my other hand provides support from the other side of the cloth). Then when it's free, I peel the cloth back just a little farther, identify the next stuck spot, and scrape again. It generally takes several minutes (and a lot of cursing under my breath:-) to complete this process, and I certainly wouldn't call it "easy". With some cloths (ex: linen from SFBI/TMB) the pain is not too bad, while with other cloths (ex: old cotton hand towels) there's plenty of pain.

But so far in the end it's always worked well enough; I've always gotten my loaf back without deflating. Have I just been lucky, only dealing with things that weren't stuck all that badly?

pmccool's picture

The other factor might be that your loaves aren't over-proofed, which would render them less likely to deflate even with the extra handling.


Nickisafoodie's picture

I have been using $2 dinner napkins that are made of a synthetic finely woven material rather than the traditional linens- floured of course. They are avail at every mass merchant along side the matching tablecloths!

They seem to work well and wick away moisture better than natural fabrics.  I often do an overnight retard in the fridge, putting the basket/napkin/dough in a plastic bag.  In the morning there is lots of moisture in the bag with droplets beading up on the top of the plastic, but have always been able to pull off the napkin as long as there is a decent amount of flour as you would do with a linen beforehand.  It seems the micro fiber helps wick away moisture from the dough, allowing it to stay moist, but easily pulled off when I same onto the peel (or parchement).  Give it try.