Making bread is an art and science that dates back thousands of years. Ancient techniques are still being practiced today and continue to evolve. There’s something wondrous about producing and enjoying fresh loaves and filling the house with its aroma.
Bread is a staple on many tables and the people who bake it use various tools to create their masterpieces. There now exists tools that help bakers from any levels of expertise to create an artistic and delicious loaf easily. Not only will your bread look better, but it will also have a better texture. Proofing baskets are known for making crispy and crunchy crusts.
Using a proofing basket helps bread makers achieve dazzling patterns and shapes. They usually come with scrapers and blades that you can use to cut your loaf into creative designs before baking. You can experiment and get very creative with your bread. It’s a great activity for the whole family to enjoy together.
Proofing baskets are an effective tool for bakers that comes in different shapes and sizes to assist the bread baking process. The handmade loaves are given a rustic quality with a perfect crust and texture. With the use of a proofing basket, you’re guaranteed to produce an artisanal-style bread that you’ll want to share with everyone.
In this article, we’ll review different brands of proofing baskets along with their features. Most proofing baskets come with other essential tools that will make your bread baking experience a pleasurable one.
Let’s review some basic information about what exactly is a proofing basket, how to use and maintain it, and the options you’ll have in the kitchen.
What Is a Proofing Basket?
In culinary, proofing is a step in the creation of baked goods, yeast bread in particular, in which the dough is permitted to rise and rest one last time before it is baked. When baking bread, you must take the necessary steps required for the dough to achieve its optimal state for baking.
Baking bread is a science and proofing baskets go far beyond just helping your loaves of bread look better. Let’s take a closer look at the science behind the basket.
Proofing baskets are also known as brotforms and bannetons. As the dough proofs, the gluten relaxes and causes the shaped loaf to flatten and lose its shape. To prevent this from happening, a basket is used that allows an attractive shape to form.
The basket assist well-hydrated or delicate dough keep its shape while proofing/rising. The material it is made of, usually, rattan cane helps absorb humidity to prevent the dough from becoming too sticky. It basically prevents your dough from becoming a misshapen blob and instead, it becomes an attractive loaf that can have the beautiful spiral patterns you can see on rustic loaves of homemade bread.
In addition, getting rid of the excess moisture allows the crust to become crispy, which is what most lovers prefer.
If shopping for a new proofing basket, you’ll want to consider several factors such as the shape, size, and material. You may choose rectangular, round, or oval shapes. They are commonly found as 8, 9, or 10-inch round baskets.
These sizes can easily accommodate one and two-pound loaves, which is your standard loaf. You can make smaller loaves, and you’re better off having a bigger basket to avoid the dough from expanding outside the basket. If the basket is too small you’ll have a hard time creating the size loaves you desire.
The most popular material to make a proofing basket is cane. It is durable, smooth, and imprints gorgeous lines on the loaf. There are also baskets made from wood pulp that prevents the loaf from sticking. Plastic baskets are easy to clean but don’t allow air circulation. Coiled rattan is another material used to make proofing baskets.
It is best to look for 100% natural materials that do not use chemicals or dyes in their manufacturing process.
Proofing baskets come in different patterns that can imprint on the dough, or you can use linen to line them if you desire a smooth texture. This is where your artistic eye comes in and creates the loaf according to your creative perspective.
Why is a Proofing Basket Essential?
You can certainly make bread without a proofing basket, but the texture both inside the mass and outside will be much better using a one. The basket absorbs some of the moisture of the dough. The release of that moisture allows the dough to rise to its full potential. It allows the bread to vent out all the gases in a proper way to avoid undesired explosions.
Proofing baskets allow the dough to hold its shape and prevents the outside to get too sticky resulting in an exquisite texture. The added bonus is the spiral design which makes for a fine presentation. These baskets are essential in quality handcrafted bread making.
These are some popular picks out in the market today. Let’s review some great options for you to consider.
This popular option comes in 9 or 10-inch sizes. The 9-inch with a capacity of up to 1.5 pounds of dough and it is 3.5-inches in height. It works well with recipes involving yeast, as it is ideal for fermentation. Perfect for recipes such as Tartine Country, Gluten-free, Lahey No-Knead, and many more. It’s capable of proofing overnight in the refrigerator.
Features: This proofing basket comes with a free baking bowl, a slashing scrapper tool, proofing baskets for many types of breads including sourdough. The starter jar proofing box.
Material: Natural rattan cane. It absorbs the extra dampness from the dough to create a crispy and crunchy crust.
Quality: This sturdy proofing basket is well made with ridges that produce spiral ring patterns. You can bake French Artisan European style loaves in a long-lasting durable piece. It meets German food safety standards. You’ll be able to bake healthier artisan-style bread.
The scoring box tool kit is ideal for preparing dough before it is placed in a baking dome, dutch oven, cooker pan, regular conventional oven, and other baking appliances.
Affordability: Along with a well-made proofing basket, you’ll receive baking supplies including a dough bench plastic scraper, matching cloth liner, sourdough starter kit, and an e-book full of tips.
Kaqinu’s Bread Banneton Proofing Basket comes in a set of two. A 9 and 10-inch round baking bowl kit for Sourdough. The smooth surface allows the dough to remove and release easily.
This proofing basket is suitable for the final rising of the dough. The banneton bowls feature a spiral shape design that creates artisan-style bread. It is excellent for many types of recipes. The two sizes help prepare medium and large loaves. Excellent for many different recipes including those with yeast, it is great for fermentation. These proofing baskets are known to absorb humidity from the dough, which creates a crispy crust.
Its quick proofing design at temperatures above 68 degrees F/20 degrees C lets you create quick, but traditional recipes. The smooth surface ensures a crispy crust that won’t stick. It comes with an essential dough scoring tool that allows you to shape bread in a traditional artisan-style design. Perfect for bread enthusiasts and bread themed parties.
Features: The two-piece set comes with a liner made of cloth, a metal scraper, a basting brush made from silicone, a scraper made from stainless steel, and scoring tool, which includes four replaceable blades and a protective cover.
Material: This handmade proofing basket is made with 100% rattan cane.
Quality: The specially crafted homemade design has a smooth surface that won’t splinter. It is a reliable and safe baking tool ideal for making healthier bread. The linen liner cloth is made of high-grade material that allows for easier cleaning.
Affordability: A great value that includes essential tools for you to be able to immediately start making delicious recipes. The price is great for its quality and free gifts included.
This set includes two style proofing baskets, a 9.6-inch oval, and a 10-inch round. They can hold up to two pounds of dough. Made from 100% rattan cane, these bread proofing baskets make a perfect gift for a bakery or someone who wants to bake healthy and delicious bread at home. It is great both for beginners and those who know the art of bread making.
It is made with exquisite craftsmanship. The smooth surface is non-stick and has no chemical odor. The durable water-resistant material will allow you to make perfect loaves easily.
Includes two sizes of liners that are easy to clean either by washing with cold water of scraping excess dough. The scoring lame with five blades allows you to create attractive patterns on the surface of the bread. The dough scraper is made from quality metal and is ideal to cut and transfer the dough. Works well with any dough including sourdough bread.
Features: The oval and round bread come with washable liners made of cloth. It also includes a metal dough scraper that allows you to easily cut and transfer the dough. It also includes a scoring lame with five blades that allows you to create artistic patterns on the surface of the bread.
Material: 100% natural rattan cane made with high-quality craftsmanship. The smooth non-stick surface does not splinter. The material has no chemical odor, it is durable and water-resistant.
Quality: The proofing baskets are high quality and natural 100% rattan stays dry and clean. Does not allow mold to build. The smooth surface does not allow wood splinters to develop. Be sure to cleanse the basket and allow it to air out, keeping it free from moisture. The linen liner cloth can easily be cleaned and stay built-up free.
Affordability: The quality material made with natural 100% rattan cane provides an exquisite basket at an affordable price. The high-grade craftsmanship is affordable and durable. The value of all gifts included makes it a perfect addition to a professional or home kitchen. It makes a perfect gift for special occasions for enthusiastic bread makers.
This beautifully crafted basket is made of the best quality materials. This handmade piece is made from 100% rattan cane following the highest manufacturing standards. Comfortable and convenient design allows for easy bread making.
Also comes in 10, 10×6, and 13.8-inch sizes. Perfect for those who are beginning bakers or even for professionals. Perfect gift for those that want to encourage the pleasure of baking your own bread at home. It creates a fun activity for kids and the whole family.
Features: This quality proofing basking comes with a scoring tool, dough scraper, and linen liner.
Material: Made with pure 100% rattan cane and high-quality handmade craftsmanship.
Quality: Made from natural materials, it is dye and chemical-free. Its design is comfortable and allows bread-making conveniently and easily. The smooth surface won’t splinter or create painful wood splinters, which makes it completely safe for your hands. The material does not build mold and allows for easy cleaning. All you have to do is be sure it stays dry and clean.
This choice comes with a 100% quality guarantee with a full refund within 30 days of purchase.
Affordability: Although it is a more affordable option, it does not include any additional items. It is a very basic package at an affordable price without compromising quality.
This beautiful set of two 8.5-inch round proofing baskets are perfect for homemade sourdough loaves. Their 3.5-inch height allows for perfect loaves. Made with natural rattan that complies with EU food standards.
Woven from single rattan, very natural with its original rattan scent, which is more noticeable at the beginning of use.
Suitable for fermentation, which makes your bread more healthy. Perfect for various recipes including fruit bread and European-style loaves.
Make healthy artisan-style bread easily. Handles a variety of recipes both for professional and home use. Just wash by hand with warm water and keep it clean and dry for years of service.
Gifts: This basic set includes a two-piece set of liners for the 8.5-inch baskets.
Material: Made with 100% woven rattan, single piece. Linen is made with a fabric that is very easy to clean.
Quality: Breathable material prevents mold from building up. Liner is washable and reusable, can be cleaned with warm water, and put to air dry.
Affordability: This basic set is well-priced for a set of two. Although it does not include additional gifts or items, it is a great choice for quality proofing baskets.
How to Use a Proofing Basket
The first step to using a proofing basket is to prepare it by coating it with flour. Dust flour on the liner or directly onto the basket and cover thoroughly. Shake off any excess flour. Once you prefer the loaf, you’ll want to dust it with flour as well.
You’re ready to let your loaf rest and rise. This is where the basket comes in. Instead of letting the loaf rise on the counter, you’ll invert it into the basket bottom side up. The top of the loaf will rest at the bottom of the basket while the underside will be visible and exposed to the air.
Once the dough is done resting, you’ll invert it once more onto a baking sheet. Be sure to dust the loaf once again with cornmeal or flour. You can use parchment paper or a silicone liner on the baking sheet to prevent the loaf from sticking. You’re ready to immediately slash the top of the loaf and put it in the oven.
For delicate dough or a loaf that didn’t rise too much, use your hand to support the loaf at the bottom so that it doesn’t hit the baking sheet too hard and deflate causing it to lose its nice shape.
How is a Proofing Basket Well Maintained?
Taking good care of your proofing basket will give it a long-lasting life and give you the opportunity to enjoy it over and over again as you did the first time. Once you receive your basket and want to use it for the first time, it is recommended to sprinkle it with water evenly all over to moisten it.
Next, you’ll pour one cup of flour at the center of the basket and begin to rotate it in a circular motion distributing the flour evenly and repeatedly. Once the entire basket is evenly covered with flour, flip the basket over and shake off the excess flour. Leave it to dry.
This is the way you “break-in” your proofing basket. You’ll then be ready to use it by coating the basket with flour before putting in your loaf. It is a very easy and straight forward way to prep your basket and be on your way to baking your bread!
Cleaning Your Proofing Basket Correctly
It’s important to keep your basket free of clumps and build-up. After each use, you’ll take a large brush and in a sweeping motion take off any excess flour. Perform this task immediately after you take the loaf out of it. This will allow your basket to be free from clumps of flour that can get into the crevasses. You may also choose to wash the basket with water and dry it in a dry place where it can receive airflow.
When using the linen liner, you may use the same cleaning technique with the brush. If there’s dough stuck to the linen, you can leave it overnight where it will harden and dry, which can make it easy to remove the next day. If you feel it’s necessary, you may wash the linen with cold water letting it soak overnight, and set it out to dry the next day. The brush will be very handy in getting off any excess dough left behind.
It is recommended to wash your linen by hand, as the washing machine can ruin it or shrink it. Using soap is not appropriate, cold water should be enough.
How to Properly Store Your Proofing Basket
Keep your proofing basket in a dry place uncovered. You’ll want the airflow to penetrate it instead of covering it with a plastic bag. This can create mold and infect it with microbes. About once a month, it’s a great idea to brush it off with flour.
Baking bread at home is a wonderful experience both for the baker and those who enjoy the delicious loaves. If you are into making your own bread, you should definitely purchase a proofing basket. They are affordable and allow for hundreds of easy baking recipes.
It is highly recommended to have more than one basket. Having various sizes and shapes allows you to get creative and keep your options open. When making multiple loaves, it is very convenient to be able to use multiple baskets at the same time.
If you like baking a high volume in one day, you’ll be able to freeze your loaves and have them readily available whenever you want. It’s an easy way to have homemade bread without much hassle.
Proofing baskets are not expensive and they are made from natural materials ensuring the best quality for your baking needs. They are an essential tool for bakers from any level. They are easy to maintain and keep clean and allow for a perfectly shaped and beautiful design. They draw out humidity from the dough create a golden crispy crust.
They make wonderful gifts both for home and professional kitchens. A great alternative for bakers of any level of expertise. They are made from durable materials and provide many years of service. It is a great addition to your kitchen!