It’s almost embarrassing to be here raving about what is essentially an open-weave macramé dishcloth, but the Teiger Dough Cloth might just be the best thing to happen to kitchen cleanup tools in ages, especially (but not only) for bread bakers. I’m working on a bread cookbook right now, which means I’ve been baking bread on a near-daily basis for months, and the Teiger has been an essential tool for keeping on top of all the dishes and kitchen cleanup. And I’ve come to realize that, while it is a tool that was created for bread baking, its usefulness extends well beyond the baking world.
Anyone who bakes bread regularly will already know what I’m getting at, but if not, here’s the deal: Bread dough is notoriously hard to remove from all the places it isn’t meant to be—hands, bowls, dough hooks, countertops, sinks, and on and on. Dough consists of two main elements: Starch and gluten, the stretchy, sticky proteins that give bread dough structure and volume. When dough encounters water, the starches wash away easily, leaving behind the gluten, which transforms into a gummy goop that clings tenaciously to nearly everything it encounters. Soft sponges and dishcloths just push this stuff around pointlessly, while abrasive sponges, scrubby pads, brushes, and steel wool quickly get gunked up entirely, turning them into just another object in need of being cleaned. And thanks to the tightly-woven structure of these tools, the gluten is challenging, if not impossible, to remove from them, even when run through a dishwasher.
Enter the Teiger Dough Cloth, a 12-inch square of acrylic thread twisted and knotted into an open mesh. Being acrylic, it is flexible enough to bend like any other dishcloth or sponge, while still being just stiff and abrasive enough to detach stuck-on bits of dough from hands, tools, and surfaces without scratching them. Best of all, its open weave magically prevents it from holding on to the gluten blobs, which instead wash easily away under running water, allowing you to keep on scrubbing until the kitchen is completely spic-and-span. (Those few bits that do cling to the Teiger usually come off after a journey through the dishwasher.)
Here’s another way the Teiger beats most other scrubby kitchen cleaning tools: It is durable. Unlike sponges and scrubby pads that fall apart, stain, or turn into germy petri dishes after a week or two of use, the acrylic (i.e., plastic) Teiger lasts for a long time. How long I can’t say, but I’ve been using the same one for six months now, and I run it through the dishwasher every other day or so, and it remains good-as-new.
There’s one cleanup job Teiger especially excels at: Removing dough from wooden countertops. Professional bakers (and wannabe professional bakers like me) work on butcher block counters because they provide the right amount of friction for shaping loaves while also remaining relatively nonstick. Soft tools like sponges and kitchen towels don’t do anything to pluck off the bits of dough that remain stuck to its surface, while abrasive tools like steel wool scrubbies can scratch the soft wood. The Teiger, meanwhile, works a charm on butcher block, especially since it is flexible and thin enough that you can feel the dough bits under your hand, allowing you to remove every last one.
And while the Teiger was created specifically to tackle sticky bread dough residue, it really is an all-purpose scrubby that most anyone would find a useful addition to their kitchen cleanup routine. It works equally well on the goopy, stuck-on bits of any sort of food, not just gluten blobs, and it is gentle enough to work anywhere without the risk of scratching. It’s not quite abrasive enough to remove burned-on residues from pots and pans—I use a sponge and scouring powder or paste for that—but it does the trick on just about anything else. (I especially like using mine to clean my stainless-steel sink at the end of the day.)
How many Teiger Dough Cleaning Cloths come in each order?
Each box includes two Teiger Dough Cloths, one for now and one for later on (or one to share with a friend).
How do you clean the Teiger Dough Cleaning Cloths?
I usually just rinse it off and run it through the dishwasher with every wash (draped over the front edge of the top drawer). If it’s heavily gooped up, I’ll let the cloth sit in a bowl of warm water for an hour or so and then pull off any large globs of gluten before moving it to the dishwasher.