Friday, March 05, 2010

Bread Baking Tips: How To Clean Up Sticky Dough from Bowls and Utensils

noKnead bread after fermenting on counter

The other day a friend of mine,
wildsheepchase, asked me if we had any tips on getting sticky dough off of utensils once you're done baking. This is a common problem; bread dough is notoriously difficult to get off of even smooth surfaces (like bowls), and small utensils can be tricky to get truly clean.

You'd think the simple answer would be to do what you were taught about cleaning up as you go: toss everything in a sink of hot, soapy water, and it'll be easy to clean up when you're done baking. You would be terribly, horribly wrong.

Hot water is the worst thing you can use on bread dough. The heat makes the bread dough even stickier, and you end up with a gloppy mess that sticks to everything. (I used to keep an old sponge around for washing bread bowls so I wouldn't feel guilty about throwing them away as often as I did.)

The easy way to wash bread dough off your bowl and utensils is this:
  1. Scrape off excess dough with a dish scraper.
  2. Fill the bowl with COOL soapy water, toss in all non-wood utensils and leave it for 15 minutes.
  3. Drain the water, grab the scraper again and get all the loose dough off. Throw it in the kitchen scraps compost bin or the trash - it will do very bad things to your drain if you let it go down.
  4. Using more cool water and a washable cloth/sponge, wash everything. Once things look clean, finish up with a bit of hot water, like the rest of your dishes. (Every so often, wash the cloth with your dish towels.)

    © Copyright 2010


Anonymous Frugal Kiwi said...

Great post. I've been blasting with hot water with the results you describe. I'll cool it down now.

3/05/2010 2:48 PM  
Blogger A Feast for the Eyes said...

This has to be one of the best tips I've read in a very long time. (Hangs head, sheepishly). Great advice and I'm going to follow that from now on.

3/06/2010 10:00 AM  
Blogger JH said...

Sometimes I'll just let it dry on there, once completely dry it comes right off...most of the time anyway

3/06/2010 3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, great tips! I would like to link my blog readers to this post- is that alright? Thank you!


3/06/2010 3:34 PM  
Blogger Cabindoggie said...

Oh lordie, I have so been doing this the wrong way!!! And my drain.......RuhRoh Shaggy! I have one other tip you may already know-I have been using these Saran quick covers to cover my bowls when the dough is rising in my drafty cabin. They come in three sizes and you can rinse and reuse them until the elastic goes or there is a hole. This is also a great use for those disposable shower caps they give you at hotels in the vanity kit. (I don't think I have ever used these for their intended purpose in my lifetime!!!!)

3/07/2010 9:19 AM  
Blogger kitchenmage said...

I can join the sheepish crowd, and it's MY post. About a year ago, I found myself struggling with a bread bowl and then realized that somehow, over the years, cool had become lukewarm had become warm had become hot... Oops! So when I was asked, I figured it was even a good reminder for people like me.

JH - That's my backup method!

adoreajarbakery, Please do link your readers back here. We love it when you think we are useful enough to share. Thanks!

3/07/2010 11:35 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

More flour works great as a scrubber too.

3/08/2010 2:32 PM  
Anonymous Stefanie said...

I am with JH. Drying the stuff is the easiest way to clean a bowl. After everything has dried (normaly the next morning) I take the bowl to the compost bin and use my hand to rub the dried dough out. It takes about 10 seconds to clean a bowl then. Afterwards you can wash the bowl with your dishes in hot water or put the bowl in a dishwasher. I use the soaking methode only if I need that bowl a again on that day.

3/14/2010 1:21 AM  
Anonymous Patty said...

The cleanup the the ONLY reason I don't bake bread anymore :) great tips, thanks for posting!

3/19/2010 9:17 PM  
Blogger Mom to Many said...

I have a habit of filling the sink with soapy water while I am cooking. I am a counter wiper by nature. But, my scalding hot water does not mesh well with bread dough. This you know. I have a coup0le of dishcloths with little beads of dough embedded in the loops and a dish towel that got goo-ed also.
Sadly I just figured the cold water thing out this week.
Save me from the gluten globs. :o)

3/24/2010 4:04 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

I use cool soapy water to clean up my bread bowl, but I discovered the best tool for cleaning out food that's hard to remove (usually something greasy or fatty) is a silicone brush. It removes bread dough in a flash from my stand mixer's bowl, and I lurve it to pieces for cleaning out my roommate's tuna salad bowl.

4/09/2010 9:51 AM  
Blogger kitchenmage said...

I love the extra suggestions. Sara, are you using just a dry silicone brush? I will have to try that the next time I make a mess, er, I mean bread...

4/09/2010 5:50 PM  
Anonymous Amy said...

I never tried to make some bread..but your blog sounds interesting and it force me to try one now :). Thanks

6/09/2010 1:22 AM  
Anonymous Carol said...

I scrape the bowl as clean as I can, then sprinkle a small handful of flour on, then rub it around. The leftover dough just sloughs off and I dump that in the compost- the bowl is practically clean after that!

6/14/2010 6:53 PM  
Blogger Op Shop Mum said...

Just tonight I baked wholemeal and apple loaves and am so sick of having to throw out dishcloths every time I bake bread. I have been having an ongoing debate with my husband over the best way to clean the bowls, as he gets snooty with me about leaving the bowl to soak. I said it comes off better the next day but he reckons it comes off better if you wash out immediately. Looks like I was right, however now I can endulge my wife ego and prove to him why I'm right.

8/27/2010 8:01 AM  

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