The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Really, how are the couches that are sold at KA?

BKSinAZ's picture

Really, how are the couches that are sold at KA?

I am in need of a couche and was wondering of the ones that are sold on the KA website.

Any assistance would be appreciated.

varda's picture

I ordered one from KA and was surprised to see that it came with ragged edges which were unraveling.   I was worried there would be no couche within a year because it would all come apart.   So I basted the two long edges.    Now it is great, and does the trick.   But I was a little taken aback that I paid $18 (?) for a scrap of cloth that wasn't even properly finished.  

gary.turner's picture

I don't recall ever seeing a finished edge on a couche cloth. If it is worrisome, try pinking the edge rather than basting, which could bring on unwanted pulls/gathering. (I don't think that would be more than an æsthetic concern, in any case.)



CarlSF's picture

I suspect the couches that you buy from KA or from TMB probably come in one big roll.  When an order comes in for a specific length, someone rolls out the couche and cuts the couche to the specified length.  That is why the edges are a bit ragged and not properly hemmed.  It's like when you go to a material or specialty craft store and ask the salesperson for a specified length of fabric, the salesperson will take out of the roll of fabric and cut it out to the specified length.


wmtimm627's picture

I bought mine from KA about 10 years ago and have never had any problems with them. I treat them like I treat cast iron and never wash them (I DO clean my pans, just not with soap). I clean them by shaking out excess flour after use.


proth5's picture

They work fine.  I've had one for many years - and have even laundered it.  It ravels, but if you trim the loose edges the weave is firm enough not to ravel further. It sees fairly frequent use.

In general, couches are not hemmed - but many people do it.

That being said, and realizing that I really like the folks at King Arthur flour, they charge a lot of money for about a half a yard of baker's linen.

I purchased several yards of baker's linen from TMB Baking (just type it into your favorite search engine) for about $9 per yard.  You do need to call TMB to place an order, but the savings is real.  They sell it in various widths.  I prood in a half sheet pan their narrowest width fits just fine.

King Arthur stands behing their statement that you don't need to wash their couche and after much research (with their help) I believe them.

I felt a need to wash the couche I got from TMB - again, edges ravelled a little but a quick trim and no harm done.  Since it will never be washed again, all is well.

So that's the best story I can give you. Hope it helps.

dantortorici's picture

I have bought both from KA and TMB.
No comparison, tMB is best.

proth5's picture

for the folks at King Arthur...

I believe each has their areas of strength.  There are some ingredients I get from King Arthur and I have always found them to be helpful any time I ask questions.  They target home bakers a bit more than TMB.  Their sometimes higher prices (please don't anyone post comparison pricing - yes, sometimes they charge premium prices...) help to underwrite some of those free videos and the baking outreach that they do.

TMB has an edge in the "gear" department and targets the professional baker a bit more, but is glad to sell to us home bakers.  They also are helpful and patient with home bakers.  Yes, for gear their prices tend to be better.

Depending on my needs, I will chose the one most appropriate.

Frankly, I'd hate to see either disappear from the "interweb" baking commerce landscape, so I'd like to express my support for both.

Don't want to start a raging controversy, but just as we expect businesses to cherish their customers, I think it is important for customers to cherish the businesses that treat them well.

Hope the couche decision works out well.

varda's picture

except for the part about TMB which I have never frequented.    I have ordered a lot of stuff (mostly flour) from King Arthur, and frequently it is the only place I can find what I need.    It would be a disaster for home bakers if they were to disappear.   Which is not to say that I don't wish they were cheaper and at times a lot cheaper.   The ragged and unraveling couche was the only quality (rather than price) issue I've had with them, and I was able to remedy it myself in a short amount of time, and since then I've got a lot of good use out of my couche and never felt like I needed to wash it or had any other problem with it.   Just to be clear...

richkaimd's picture

I don't recall where/how I obtained my two cloths.  I do remember that both had ends that needed finishing.  I got them done at my local tailor.  The job was so small that he wouldn't take any money for it!