The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How clean are you?

Atropine's picture

How clean are you?

I have been baking bread and got a new piece of marble to roll the bread out on, etc and that got me thinking....

How often should one wash various implements of bread baking? 


I know that you can leave dough  for the next bake in the fridge, but how long can you use the same doughook without washing?  Bowls?  Scraper?  Marble or roll out mat?  Cooling rack? Baking pans?


I use a rubbermaid container to proof my ciabatta dough, and wash it if I am not going to use it any more that day, but I also know that some people do not wash their couches, and I assume they do not wash their baskets.  I also find that my kitchenaid needs a bit of a sponge bath every so often (dough and other bits get stuck in the screw heads on the underneath near where the dough hook is.


So what do YOU do for each?  What is safe/healthy/acceptable?

AnnieT's picture

I used to leave my banneton liner in place after use, thinking that the build-up of rice flour was a good thing - until I found that it had mildewed! So now I take it out and leave it on top of the stove while the bread is baking to be sure that it is dry. I also wash all implements immediately because dried on sourdough is very hard to remove. I do admit to spraying the mixing bowl with oil before returning the dough without washing it first, but as soon as the dough is ready to shape the bowl gets soaked in cold water. I like to clean up as I go but that comes from early training. One of my lecturers at domestic science college said that my workbench was less like a battlefield than most of her students. So I vote for erring on the mega clean side, A.

mkelly27's picture

anything wet gets washed all the time, dry surfaces get the regular interval wash when I see built-up flour.  Hands are washed every time I step back to the counter to mix, knead, shape or handle.  My wife was a Health Inspector in a previous career, So I know the drill.


Redundancy is your friend, so is redundancy

ehanner's picture

I recently spent some time operating a BBQ slow cooker and selling to the public. One of the things that was drilled into my head is the need to maintain a bowl of bleach tainted water to kill unwanted bacteria. It doesn't take much, just a few drops in a gallon of water and your sponges and then cutting boards and counters will be germ free. Especially at home where we are cooking other foods that might contaminate the surface I think it's important to make the effort. I know the temperature in the oven kills most of the offenders. Still, we are dealing with live bacteria that imparts a flavor to the bread. I wouldn't want to spoil the starter I have been working on for years, needlessly.

So for me at the end of a baking session or for that matter any cooking session, the counters and equipment and tools get wiped down with a damp anti-bacterial rag or sponge. I'm not a clean freak, quite the opposite really. This seems like a good thing to do.

BTW, the CDC says the home kitchen/bathroom is responsible for spreading a huge percentage of the flu type germs we catch. Wash your hands often. Indoor plumbing is a blessing.


Atropine's picture

I keep a spray bottle of bleach (that has to be made every day--bleach breaks down in light and in protein) which I clean my kitchen with.


LindyD's picture

I clean as I go. All utensils are washed in hot soapy water when I'm done with them, as are all bowls. If I'm mixing another bread in the KA, the dough hook will get washed before the next mix. My KA gets wiped down after each use as well. I don't want bits of dried, hard dough falling into whatever I may be mixing next. My brotform isn't washed, but I do use a stiff brush to clean out any caked flour residue. If I take dough out of a bowl for additional folding, I don't wash the bowl before returning the dough, but it will get washed when the bread goes into the oven.

I don't have a dishwasher so it is no big deal (or use of energy) for me to do the clean up. Whatever works for your comfort level is fine, so long as green fuzz isn't growing on your baking tools.

Thegreenbaker's picture

 I just wash up with hot soapy water or put everything in the dishwasher (if it is allowed in there)

My benches get washed with hot soapy water then rinsed with clean freah water. 

Before I got my kitchenaid, I would knead on the benches. Before I did this I would clean them as I mentioned above then follow that with a soppy cloth of white vinega and leave that a few mins before drying with a parer towel or clean tea towel. I dont use bleach, its bad for the environment but vinegar kills bacteria. :)




ejm's picture

Like TGB, I use vinegar rather than chlorine bleach.  I keep a spray bottle of white vinegar on the counter for cleaning the stovetop, counters, etc. I wash dishes (hot soapy water) as I go - wooden spoon and mixing bowl washed when dough is turned out to knead. (Mixing bowl becomes rising bowl) I do not have a kitchen aid but if I did, I would definitely clean the dough hook after each use. I spray my kneading board with white vinegar to clean it. At night, I spray the board and leave it to evaporate.

-Elizabeth, firm believer in baking soda, vinegar, regular soap (NOT antibacterial), hot water and elbow grease for cleaning

Thegreenbaker's picture


You're a woman after my own heart :)


I never even thought about the vinegar being sprayed on the chopping board and left over night! I am going to start doing that tonight! :)

Yes, I wash my dough hook straight away unless I am making another dough straight after the first dough is put out to rise.


You can be clean....and then you can be tooooooo clean. Thats how those super bugs evolved.....*shudders* (in my opinion)

ok....enough of my preaching ;)