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I have a recipe for steaming seitan that involves wrapping the vital wheat gluten loaf in a tea towel, tying off the ends, and placing in the steaming basket.

I am good to go but for the tea towel. Unfortunately, I don't have any tea towels, nor do I have any that aren't either microfiber or bath towels with a fuzzy nap. I have one of cotton quilted fabric. What can I use as a surrogate tea towel?

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Do you have a cloth napkin? They are pretty similar. –  Jay Mar 14 '12 at 20:36
    
@Jay I don't but if you think that would be a good substitute why don't you put it as an answer –  mfg Mar 14 '12 at 20:39
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Whatever substitute you use, make sure it is fit for food use. If you go to a fabrics shop and buy a length of gingham, chances are it has been treated to make it more shiny, or less wrinkle-prone, etc. These treatments are made with different chemicals, including formaldehyde. And then there are the dyes - they may be OK for contact in your skin, but nobody tested if they leak nasties in prolonged contact with wet food. –  rumtscho Mar 15 '12 at 11:08
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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Cheesecloth, canvas, broadcloth, or duck would all work well.

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Will try cheesecloth tonight, bought some yesterday; hopefully it doesn't act more like a sieve –  mfg Mar 15 '12 at 14:22
    
Can someone explain to me what's meant with 'duck'? I don't think we're talking about the bird here... –  Mien Mar 15 '12 at 14:55
    
@Mien Duck is a type of canvas –  mfg Mar 15 '12 at 15:55
    
@mfg I think a cheese cloth might be a bit too thin. It'll easily become saturated with water. I think the point of wrapping it is so it doesn't take in too much water. –  Jay Mar 15 '12 at 17:07
    
Cheesecloth was sufficient, thanks Derrick –  mfg Mar 20 '12 at 17:57
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Tea towels are traditionally made out of linen. It has a delicate weave that is ideal for drying delicate china without the risk of "scratching." A linen napkin although less delicate will most likely still be a very good substitute for the purpose of wrapping the vital wheat gluten loaf.

However, most cloths that have a simple weave without the "loop" weave found on terry clothes and bath towel would work just as well.

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I tried this once with a tea towel and the slow cooker method of cooking seitan. When the loaf was done, even though the towel had been washed many times over 20 years, when I unrolled the loaf the outside of it had obviously taken on some of the ink from the design on the towel. It looked fine on the inside but I was chicken to try it. I now use cheese clothe doubled to wrap my seitan. YMMV

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