We woke up to SNOW this morning! Yay! It's so, so pretty here when it snows - which it rarely does - so this is a treat! Of course it won't last, the rain will return and wash it all away probably before the day is done but for now, I'm looking at a Winter Wonderland and loving every flake!
Until recently I didn't even know what a pastry cloth was! I know! That's as shocking as a toaster in a tub but here's something more shocking, I'm still capable of learning! A dear friend mentioned how much she loves her pastry cloth, which she got when she was first married, and said she needed a new one because hers is now full of holes. I really didn't understand the benefit of rolling dough out onto a canvas cloth, wouldn't it get messy and be just one more thing to wash? And what if you wanted to use it but it was in the hamper? And wouldn't it get rancid and smell if an oily dough was rolled on it? And what about those holes??? After a little on-line research, this is what I learned:
When flour is rubbed into a canvas pastry cloth, it will prevent dough from sticking, and you use much less flour, thereby keeping the pastry light and flaky...the flour goes into the cloth not the dough!
The other great advantage to using a pastry cloth is you don't have to wash it all the time - even if you use an oily dough. After you use your cloth, you simply shake off any excess flour over your sink, fold the cloth up into a small little square and keep it in the freezer! Of course, you can wash it as often as you want (and then you can keep it in a drawer), and with every wash the canvas cloth itself will become softer and softer.
Pastry cloths have been around for ages - the Pioneers used them! And probably the Pilgrims, too! I keep mine in the door of my freezer so it's easy to find...right next to my Cider "Bugs", which make great little gifts, too! You can find pastry cloths on-line or you can make your own...purchase 100% cotton canvas at a fabric store, cut it to the desired size (32x32-inches is a good size but maybe you want something larger to accommodate a huge pizza dough - then make it 36x36...or maybe make several, small and large depending on what you're making...I made mine 30x20) and hem the edges - that's it! A pastry cloth would make a really nice gift for your favorite Foodie this year...my friend, who had holes in her much-worn cloth, now has a new one and she told me it was "the best gift she's ever received!" Only a true-blue-bonafide foodie would say that!
The park behind our house is filled with kids and sleds - hardly enough snow for sledding but they just couldn't wait to get out there - as soon as the "sun" (hahahaha, as if) came up they were ready to go! It's so pretty, I wish it would last! Today I'll be using my pastry cloth over and over - it's time to make the Christmas Cookies!