Couche Practice

Can anyone advise me on what the practice is with mouldy couche(s).  I've read that the mould on a couche is not a problem ... but I'm not sure whether to have them cleaned or not.

7 comments

So you proof your bread for maybe on hour on a moldy couche.  You then pop it in a hot oven until it gets to over 200 degrees F.  If you bread is properly baked nothing is going to be living through that.  I wouldn't worry about it.  Now that said, I wouldn't worry about it but you might.  If it's unsightly or gives you any concern then get em cleaned or replaced.  This is supposed to be fun and not an adventure in if we think we'll poison ourselves today.

Yeah, thanks ... its not that I'm worried about it ... I was just wondering what the traditional practice is with couches, particularly in bakeries.  To clean or not to clean ... that is the question? 

Hi chalala

I've seen some pics of couches used by globally acclaimed bakers - including Polaines, if my memory serves me faithfully - that are so mould-inhabited they look ready to up and crawl away. I figure if the pros don't worry about couche mould, why should we? As lannyripple pointed out, any lil couche beasties on the dough surface are going to be purged during the baking process.

 

That said, from time to time I feel compelled to clean out the mould that appears on the plastic container I do my proofing in. That's a simple matter of washing the container out with hot water. I don't use couches, but if I did I can imagine I'd be pretty negligent re mould. Wetting couche linen isn't good for it, I think?

Cheers
Ross

 

 Not my idea of something I would want to be attaching to my bread. Some mold good, some not so. Some people are allergic. Probably not you. If you are comfortable with what you are doing do it. I would not. If I saw you do it or heard 

that your couches were moldy I probably would not eat  your bread no matter how yummy it looked. Thats me. I like things clean. My canvas pastry and bread cloths and linen ones wash up nice. You must remember to rinse and soak in cold water first. Then the washer. For the first wash  I would use a bit of bleach to kill the mold. If you don't want to do that let them go through the hot dryer, or sit in the sun for a day or two. Your linen may shrink but remember tableclothes and napkins and  shirts and suits and sheets have been make of linen for many years and they wash up nicely. I don't wash my often, after removing any dough I make sure they are dry before putting them away.

Mariah


 

 

 
 
 
 
 

Hello,

 

I my opinion, the state and color of you couches isn't really a problem as far as taste and health and safety. 
To me it is more of a concern of feeling good with the tools you use. I have worked in some bakeries where the couches were filthy and others where the were kept in perfect shape. I must say I like working with one that don't stink and that look good.

The first thing you want to do is scrape them with you straight dough cuter every now and then. That should get most of the filth away. 

Now you never want to leave a wet or damp couche as such, you should always try and make them dry until they really are before rolling them up.

An other concern comes from the type of proofing you use, for instance if you use methods such as late proffing or slow proofing and that your bread and couches spend the night in your chambers, they are going to get wet and develop mould.

Once they are black, there isn't much you can do to get the original linen color back.

However a tip I can give you to get rid of the mould and some of the smell is to put them inside your warm oven (100-120°C or 220-250°F) for about ten minutes. Start with on to check that it doesn't burn and adjust time and température accordingly. Do it little by little, a few at a time for them to really dry up inside and for the heat to kill most of the life inside your couches. I recommend doing the same with you linen lined bannetons, which can develop insect or micro organism life even if you are very clean.

 

I hope this helped you.

 

Regards.

 

Louis

 

Hello,

 

I my opinion, the state and color of you couches isn't really a problem as far as taste and health and safety. 
To me it is more of a concern of feeling good with the tools you use. I have worked in some bakeries where the couches were filthy and others where the were kept in perfect shape. I must say I like working with ones that don't stink and that look good.

The first thing you want to do is scrape them with you straight dough cuter every now and then. That should get most of the filth away. 

Now you never want to leave a wet or damp couche as such, you should always try and make them dry until they really are before rolling them up.

An other concern comes from the type of proofing you use, for instance if you use methods such as late proffing or slow proofing and that your bread and couches spend the night in your chambers, they are going to get wet and develop mould.

Once they are black, there isn't much you can do to get the original linen color back.

However a tip I can give you to get rid of the mould and some of the smell is to put them inside your warm oven (100-120°C or 220-250°F) for about ten minutes. Start with on to check that it doesn't burn and adjust time and température accordingly. Do it little by little, a few at a time for them to really dry up inside and for the heat to kill most of the life inside your couches. I recommend doing the same with you linen lined bannetons, which can develop insect or micro organism life even if you are very clean.

 

In France, some companies offer waterless cleaning services but you need to rent a machine and do it yourself and unless you have 200-300 couches to clean it is often cheaper to get new ones.

 

I know that some people clean them in water every now and then. It is all fine but not necessary if you have enough to let them dry before you use them again. Also washing them in water will reduce their lifespan. Last but not least, what Mariah says is very true, people used to only use linen but back in those days people didn't clean their clothes every week.

 

I hope this helped you.

 

Regards.

 

Louis

 

Thanks Louis

 

I appreciate the good advice.

Cheers

Laurie