The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cleaning it up

proth5's picture

Cleaning it up

Remember when I said "linen is the exact right fabric for a couche"?  Yep - you all laughed.  Until you bought a linen couche and found that bread wouldn't stick.

Remember when I said "save yourself the pain and blow just a couple bucks on the blade holder from TMB" - I know - you just thought I was a shill - until you bought one.

So - here we go, again.

I hate the feeling of dough on my hands (after I am done working with it, of course) and there's always something to clean up in a bowl (or the bowl of My Precioussss)

Scrubber sponges just get gummed up.  Apparently in my region of the country the net onion bags have become obsolete - and the few times I have tried they get gummed up with dough.

So I was once again thinking about the whole issue when I spotted the nail brush that hangs about my kichen.

Cleans dough right off my hands.  Came clean itself pretty easily.  Great as a nail brush, but also as a vegetable or mushroom brush.  Cheap.

I have a demanding personal schedule and I take great joy in tools that work well.  And when one is not only a great multitasker, but inexpensive - well - where's the downside?

The folks from whom I buy these claim they are used for surgery prep...  I actually buy them by the dozen because I garden, clean ponds, and then take those same little hands and bake bread.  I like to scrub up pretty well.  Just never occurred to me that they would be superior dough scub off tools (never said I wasn't a bit slow on the uptake.)

So here is the link (or put Lee Valley Tools into your favorite search engine and then search for nail brush.)  Made in the USA.  Money back guarantee.  Just try them.,42551,10259

Happy Cleaning!


flournwater's picture

"Remember when I said "save yourself the pain and blow just a couple bucks on the blade holder from TMB" - I know - you just thought I was a shill - until you bought one."

What's "TMB"

proth5's picture

is the bakery supply arm of the San Francisco Baking Institute - located in South San Francisco.

No one is quite sure what the letters TMB stand for - I've never asked...  Just type TMB Baking into your favorite search engine.

They sell everything from large deck ovens to couche cloth to blade holders.  Nice folks.  Good service.

Hope this helps.

flournwater's picture

Thanks  -  I found it at but there is no order link for the Lame and blades listed.

It's a five hour drive from here.  I'll try an email.


proth5's picture

TMB does require a phone call to order.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

one tiny one and one normal sized one.  Get thrown into the dishwasher to sanitize when I remember to do so.   My onion nets are in reality garlic bags. ...Eat more garlic!  


proth5's picture

a bit flummoxed when people say things like "just use a 2 liter soda bottle" or "use the bags in which onions are sold" as though these things are commonplace.

I don't drink anything that comes in 2 liter plastic bottles (and I don't have the physique for dumpster diving) and all the onions that I see are rolling around loose in bins.

The very few plastic mesh bags I get my hands on are too useful to use for supporting trellised squash.  Nothing like the perfect roundness you get from growing small pumpkins on a trellis.

The garlic is just starting to peak through in my garden - just in time to be mashed down by the three feet on snow we will get in the next month or so as part of "Springtime in the Rockies" - since I grow hardneck garlic I just tie the stems together and string 'em up like Mother Nature intended...

But I do love me little brush...

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Pat.

I remember. :-)

I find that, if I soak my mixer bowls for a few minutes, they come clean with a regular kitchen sponge. However, I use a mushroom/potato brush to clean my banneton.

At SFBI, they clean banneton/brotfomen with a special brush on a long handle. These are found readily in many house ware stores, usually sold to clean porcelain bowls of the sort found in rooms other than the kitchen.


proth5's picture

you know best, of course.

I find that sometimes - especially with enriched doughs and my triticale dough that soaking isn't up to the job and a regular sponge is too slow (I have a lot to do).  I also just used my litttle nylon brush on the spiral and it works like a champ.

One really shouldn't be cleaning dough from brotformen or bannetons, but I find that a "gong" brush - easily found at your local home improvement mega mart is graet for those - as well as classifiers (used for sifting.

I've tried it all, but that little nylon brush beats everything.  Or I wouldn't mention it.

Janknitz's picture

For years I've been using a brush you buy at the Grocery Store.  It's meant to be filled with dish soap and depressing a button releases the soap, but I never do that part because the soap container gets gunky.  But it's my "dough" brush for hands and for dough encrusted equipment because it's very easy to clean the dough out of the large bristles.  Works great!

Welcome to the brush club!

proth5's picture

one of those, too - until my house sitter lost it.

My grandmother always had a Fuller dish brush.

Again, I've used that but the ease of cleanup of the small brush that I just tried exceeds the ease of cleanup of a large brush.  I was impressed.

Or I wouldn't have brought it up...

EvaB's picture

can hold onto in a slippery environment, nail brush works great for cleaning up kitchen things. I have several different brushes, including a denture toothbrush (its double sided with a narrow longer brush on the one side) and of course my old stand by (thirty + years old) bottle brush for cleaning baby bottles and nipples.

I prefer brushes over almost anything and you can find them at the dollar store for reasonable prices, they get into corners and crevices that cloths and onion bags can't, and as for the one that looks like the procelian device, I have one with a battery operated spin, which works great for jars. You do have to clean those when you recycle them!

I have never figured out appliance designers, my latest food processor, has a double edge around the top, one side fits outside the bowl the inside and of course gunk gets between them. Then there is the absolute 90 degree angle of the bottom of the bowl which is hall to clean, the stem which gets stuff in, and the cutter blade which has a hollow which somehow fills with dead flour and muck! Can't win!

proth5's picture

I agree that brushes are an underappreciated cleaning tool - but I am making a point about this particular brush.  I've seen them from time to time tarted up in colors to use as "corn silk" brushes - or "mushroom brushes."

I believe it is the process used to create the "bristles" that set this particular brush apart.

And good industrial design - why oh why is it so difficult to find?

carluke's picture

I have been using these brushes for years. Initially I bought them to clean up after gardening, and for my husband to use to get grease off of his hands.

Once I started baking bread, I realized they were also good for getting dough off of one's hands AND for getting the bits of dough off the bowl.

They are also a bargain!

proth5's picture

As I said, I 'm a bit slow on the uptake - but another vote for my little brush...

As, y'all know I'm not someone who fears spending money on a good tool - but these are inexpensive - made in the USA - and with a money back guarantee! 

Of course, I won't talk about the collateral damage that can be done by looking at the rest of the Lee Valley catalogue...

RonRay's picture

I just wanted to say thanks. I ordered a dozen on your recommendation and they are everything you said they were, just as the blade holder from TMB was.

I am now a happy scrubber, and even set one aside for brushing my beard ;-)


proth5's picture

You know - I really don't represent any of the companies whose products I recommend...Wish I did.

My house sitter remarks from time to time that every tool he touches in my house works perfectly and efficiently - it's a "thing" with me.

Have fun brushing!