The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Flour sack towels

TG2784's picture

Flour sack towels

Okay, so I am new to this site and I have a question I figured I would put out there.


When baking high hydration breads (ciabatta, sour9, etc) O have noticed that a lot use the banneton or proofing baskets. Some have a cloth in them and I have seen them use them in the oven.

My question is, flour sack towels are great for many uses in the kitchen. Can these be used in the oven? My first initial thought was no way. I fear it catching on fire or whatnot. But then I saw the cloth in these baskets are being put in the oven. So I figured why not? But figured I would ask more seasoned bakers first.


DanAyo's picture

Can’t put cloth in an oven

newchapter's picture

From what I’ve seen/done most use a rice flour dusted, linen liner in their baskets.  But, then, the basket is inverted, to remove the bread dough onto parchment, or directly into a preheated Dutch oven, then docked (or scored) right before being put in the oven.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen them put in the oven in the banneton basket, with or without a liner.  If some people are doing that, I don’t think it’s a safe idea.

idaveindy's picture

I'm trying to imagine what might have caused your misperception, so I'll cover some possibilities.

1.  First, dough is taken  out of lined (or unlined) baskets when put into the oven. Dough can be put on or in various things in the oven to bake it.

2. Sellers on Amazon sometimes show pictures of a baked (done) loaf sitting in a banneton (basket).   No one I know actually puts a baked loaf back in a banneton, unless it is for those silly pictures. (Sometimes people put bread in other baskets, and wrap it in cloth or a napkin to keep it warm. Those pictures are for show only, they are not "real."  The sellers just want to associate their product in your mind with bread.

3. You may have seen pictures of people using wet towels to steam an oven.  Those are taken out of the oven before they get dry and burn.

4. Some long or oval doughs are proofed (final rise) on a towel/cloth called a "couche" without a basket.  The cloth is bunched up on the sides to hold up the dough, and to separate them if there is more than one piece of dough. But this cloth is not put in the oven.

5. Other things that might be mistaken for cloth in the oven are: parchment paper, and a silicone baking mat.  These can be used up to the temperature recommended by the manufacturer.

Hope that helps.  

(I generally use a round banneton lined with a linen liner, or a tea towel, and generously dusted with rice and/or wheat flour.)

TG2784's picture

Thank you all for your feedback. I have never put any form of cloth in the oven and don't intend too. 

I was simply taken back and confused due to watching a few different videos on making ciabatta bread. I will have to see if I can find the person/video again. It clearly showed him putting it all in the oven, which I thought was strange. 

I am not new to baking, I just have never made types of artisan bread before and have been experimenting. 


Thanks again.