I love Rough Linen.  I really love it.  In fact, if the Jerry Springer Show called up and asked me to star in an upcoming episode called “I Married My Duvet Cover”, I’d say, YUP. And I married my sheets too.



I own a Rough Linen Pinafore (2 of them), Rough Linen sheets, a duvet cover, napkins, bread bags and even curtains.


So when Tricia Rose the inventor and  proprietor of Rough Linen agreed to partner with me on a linen product  I was THRILLED.

High Five my cats thrilled.


That’s right.  Rough Linen and The Art of Doing Stuff together as one.

Love baking bread?  Then this one’s for you …

Introducing the Rough Linen/ Art of Doing Stuff dough proving cloth.




I make bread every week.  It’s become a ritual. It’s not as time consuming as it sounds since I make enough dough to make several loaves of bread.  The dough stores perfectly in the fridge for a couple of weeks. All you have to do is pull the dough out of the fridge, rip off a hunk, let it prove (rise) for half an hour and bake it.

The Recipe I use.



(The New Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day)




But when I first started baking bread I had HUGE issues with the dough sticking to the counter, sticking to my tea towels, sticking to everything.  Then I started doing a bit of research and discovered the proving cloth. Also known as a couche (pronounced koosh), also known as a proofing cloth.

What is it and why do I use one?

A proving cloth is a heavy, rough fabric that a baker uses to allow their freeform breads to rise on.  Breads that are baked in pans can rise in those pans.  But if you’re baking a baguette, boule, or any other free formed bread then you need something to allow the dough to rise on.

The proving cloth has historically been made from flax (linen) because the fibre has all the properties you want. A bit of roughness, tight weaving and yet is still loose and pliable.  (it only sounds like I’m reciting this from Wikipedia because I become very serious when talking about carbs)

So.  You use a proving cloth if you are baking free form loaves of bread and want to make sure the dough doesn’t stick.



I’m convinced. Stop talking! I want to buy a Rough Linen / Art of Doing Stuff Proving cloth NOW.

*shipping charges to the Canada will say $30 US but this is NOT the case*

Shipping to Canada will cost a maximum of $6 US.  The $30 quote is a glitch in the system.

Rest assured you will be charged $6 or less to ship to Canada.

When you get your proving cloth it will come to you folded nicely in tissue paper looking clean and beautiful.  If you’re doing things right, it is the last time it will look that way.




Unwrap your proving cloth and lay it out.  Then DUMP a whole lotta flour on it.  At least a cup, probably closer to 2.




Rub the flour into the fabric.  Rub it right in, pushing it into the weave. Cover the entire cloth.




Once you’ve done that, dump the excess flour onto your counter and scoop it up and return it to your flour bin.




You have now seasoned your proving cloth and it’s ready for its first blob of dough.  Like a cast iron pan, the more you use it, the more non stick it will become.




Place your dough on the proving cloth.  If it’s an especially wet dough, I roll the bottom of the loaf around in a bit of flour to help absorb some water from it.




Now you want to loosely cover your bread.  It doesn’t have to be airtight, just covered up.  It’s actually good if your bread develops a little bit of a skin because it makes it easier to slash the loaf later on.




If you’re proving 2 loaves of bread pull the centre up between them.




Lay the centre fabric over one loaf and then wrap the edges up.



Leave your dough to prove for as long as it needs.  The longer you prove, the bigger the holes in your bread will be.  The wetter your dough also results in a nice open crumb (big holes).  But OVER proving your dough results in disaster loafs so don’t do that.  You know you overproved if the second you touch the dough it completely collapses and when  you bake it, it comes out a flat, brick-like disk.




I proved this dough for around half an hour on a warm day.




With this proving cloth your dough should easily release from the cloth.



Just lift the edge and it should roll right away from the cloth.





Here … this will give you a better idea …




Then to flip the dough onto a pizza peel (for sliding it into the oven), flip it the same once more.








Like this …




Now your dough is right side up on your pizza peel.




Slash your bread.




My two favourite slashes are straight across for an oblong loaf and a fan pattern for a round loaf.




Hot, crusty, warm bread.




From The Art of Doing Stuff & Rough Linen.




I gave a loaf to my neighbours.




Because otherwise I’d eat it all that very night.  As it was, I only ate one loaf that night.  I put the other loaf in the freezer.

Which I’ve since eaten.  With butter and homemade strawberry jam.




To store your proving cloth, artfully sprinkle some thyme on your counter just for looks, fold it up and put it into a plastic bag so critters won’t get at it.  You do NOT wash your proving cloth.

The only time you would wash it is if you had a big mishap with an incredibly wet dough and you get your cloth hard and wet and crusty.  Then you can wash it but remember to season it again with flour.

Each time you use your linen proving cloth dust it again with a bit of flour.

Buy it now!

You’ll love it.

I’ll be watching for the marriage announcements.




  1. Judy Persson says:

    Heads Up! This recipe works even when you’ve had a few glasses of red wine because your hubby (partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, room-mate, whatever…) went to a hockey game and left you alone to entertain yourself in the kitchen. But I got a little overheated while mixing the dough and had to take off my top (curtains closed!) – I must have been mixing really hard because it couldn’t have been the wine…. Drank more wine while it was resting for the 2 hours and it still turned out!!! This is definitely a “keeper” recipe.
    p.s. I ordered the book!

    Thanks Karen!!!

    • Stephanie Hobson says:

      This comment deserves a reply! Funny as heck! The comments on Karen’s page are as entertaining as the posts.

  2. jen says:

    Karen,You might also like to visit this site- a couple of Dutch folks whose passion is bread making using independent mills to source their flour. No worries, the posts are mostly in English ;)

  3. LisaS says:

    I DID IT! WOOT! I bought this right after you posted. I have attempted to bake bread before (the artisan 5 minuets a day) and have been unsuccessful every time. They were like hard discs that you could throw at your neighbor and knock them out when they cut their grass too early in the morning! I was so worried to fail again. I even bought the dutch whisk you recommended. The tips in this post combined with the proper tools and the recipe in your other post equaled SUCCESS! My bread wasn’t perfect but it was more than edible…. dare I say yummy! Thank you for this! LOVE!

  4. Marna says:

    I wish I had something like that over 40 years ago, sure would have been easier for bread etc.
    I use to make all kinds of bread, pizza, even pastries. Just can’t do it any more, mainly cuz of a really tiny kitchen and wonky stove. Someone mentioned sour dough, my dad made us sour dough pancakes most of the time I was growing up, and he made them for my kids and other family, they were the best flavor. He had his original starter until he died, then I took it. I miss making my own bread, at least I was able to do it for many years. Wish I could have an outdoor oven like yours, it is so cool!

  5. Ellen Deffenbaugh says:

    I just used my couche for the first time to shape a loaf of sandwich bread. I love it! I am already a huge Rough Linen junkie. I picked up two, one for a gift, but not sure if I’ll be able to part with it.

    • Karen says:

      That’s great Ellen! I’m so glad you like it. :) I’m pretty sure you only need one unless you plan on making bread for all your neighbours so you’re probably safe to give the other one away. ;) ~ karen!

  6. Ren Duinker says:

    Hi Karen, I hope you’re right about the shipping charges, I just got an email confirmation which did, in fact, include the $30 (!!!) shipping charge.
    Looking forward to making some bread this winter.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ren! Yes, don’t worry. :) That will be immediately refunded. It’s some weird glitch with the checkout that they just can’t make work. ~ karen!

      • Ren says:

        Thanks Karen, I was issued a refund of $24.16 yesterday, all’s well,
        thanks again. Ren

  7. Dale says:


    Yesterday I pondered upon the neat side light of your wonderful, humor-packed blog. You not only prompt us to get off our collective butts and get out there and do some of the fun and fantastic things you do, you also tease/challenge us into returning comments, trying to match our wits to your humor based delivery. Many of your faithful followers come up with some pretty clever/funny takes on your adventures or should I say mis-adventures.
    Well done!!

  8. Teddee Grace says:

    Your dough proofing cloth is a great idea. Sort of like the cloths on which to roll pastry dough.

  9. maggie van sickle says:

    Congrats on your partnership. You go girl and like I said before I wish I was your neighbour. Have a great weekend and happy Canada Day.

  10. Susan says:

    I bought the cookbook last week, and baked my first batch yesterday. While proofing my first loaf, I thought it was small so I pulled out the rest of the dough while the first one was baking. I have such big eyes (and thighs to match!) PBJs for lunch and grilled cheese for dinner = no complains from the husband! My second batch of dough is in the fridge. This could not be easier.
    Thank you Vicki and Maggie for mentioning the shipping costs. Now that I know the shipping will not be $30, I will order the cloth. The shipping costs stopped me before from buying the pinafore & other products. Was that a glitch too? I hope so!

  11. Heather (mtl) says:

    Congrats on your new partnership! I have a large piece of natural linen and may have to cut to make a lovely couche for myself. Why not?!
    I’ve been making that loose dutch oven bread for ages, but have made a couple small changes. Try and see if you don’t like the results, too. I add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the water, whisk well, then pour into flour and mix. Helps give those wonderful holes an elasticity like ciabatta breads. Yum! I also leave the bread a good 30 hrs instead of the 12-18 hrs. *I have tried 48 hrs but the rise was flatter in centre*
    The olive oil adds a rich flavour, as does the extra time proving (in this heat, I use the oven with the light off as the temp is more consistant)
    You can keep doing posts about bread, if you like – I’ll be happy. Back fat and all :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Heather! I’ve made that dough a lot actually and really like it. It gets an unbelievably crispy, crackly crust. :) But this other dough is so easy to use I just keep making it now. As long as the weave of your natural linen is tight enough you should be fine for using it as a proving cloth! Just season, season, season it. :) ~ karen!

  12. Sonja says:

    Looks like I need to take up bread making…and rough linen buying!

  13. Mayo says:

    Bought it. Then hopped over to Amazon via your affiliate link and bought the whisk, a scraper and the cookbook. I’m a sucker for the “The Art of Doing Stuff” seal of use & approval.

  14. Wendy says:

    I can’t believe you bake your own bread too!?!
    Actually, that’s just dumb. Of course you bake bread too.

  15. Sabina says:

    One question? Do you use fresh thyme sprigs from the garden and do you leave them right in the storage bag with the towel?

  16. Sabina says:

    Ordered, yay! I’ve had pinny envy. I even asked for one for my birthday, but no pinny. So I will start out with the proving cloth since I already have the New Artisan Bread Book, and the bucket, and now no more excuses! Thanks Karen! And hey, I live between the Peace Bridge and Lewiston-Queenston Bridge. If anyone wants to ship to my house and take a drive let me know, I’d even be tempted to share a bottle of wine on the patio ;)

  17. Ana says:

    Bought one! $20 what a deal! I can’t wait to try making bread with one, i’ve only made the no-knead style that gets cooked in a crock, so this will be a new experience. Thanks Karen!

  18. Kiara says:

    Still would love some group shipping to Ontario… Will pay in advance :)

    • Karen says:

      I know, lol. But shipping would actually cost more then because Tricia would have to ship to me and then I would have to ship to you. Double the shipping. :/ ~ karen!

  19. Kiara says:

    Hi Karen,

    Came to say the same… I have looked at Rough Linen before (I want a pinafore SO BAD) but the exchange and shipping is bananas.

    Can we do a big group order to Ontario? Or would you order a bunch and sell them to your readers?
    I am in Toronto. Your amazon links are amazon US, many sponsors are in the states with cost-prohibitive shipping… I am hoping for some ideas that make these cool things you curate for us more easy to procure. Love love love you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kiara! Tricia is checking into the error with shipping costs. They won’t be that much. :) We’ll get back to you. And most of the Amazon links should convert to Canadian if the product is available in Canada but a lot of times they aren’t. I agree it would be great if all these products were available to Canadians but usually they aren’t. Trust me. It drives me nuts too. ~ karen!

  20. Karen says:

    Hi Karen. I went to the Rough Line Site decided to try a bread bag and go from there . I know you live in Hamilton Ontario I am in Oakville . The 20 dollar bread bag would cost me a additional 30 dollar shipping which is the only option for shipping . I wish there were more Canadian sites available

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen. The bag ships from Tricia in California (where Rough Linen is) but she’s checking into the shipping rates. They’re coming up wrong. It’ll be much, much cheaper than $30! ~ karen!

      • Karen says:

        Hi Karen! Actual shipping price is going to be a maximum of $6 US (depending on where the recipient lives). When you go to the shop page it will still say shipping is $30 US. They can’t change that glitch apparently, but once you buy the cost will only be $6 or less. ~ karen!

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