Bread proofing baskets, also known as bannetons or brotforms, give rising loaves of bread a lovely shape and are particularly well-suited for artisan loaves. The baskets are commonly used in Europe to provide support to loaves during their rise times, create a smoother crust and reduce sticking of wet dough. The baskets can be made of plastic, woven straw, wood, clay or other materials, but the procedure for using them is the same. Most proofing baskets are relatively inexpensive and durable, so they can be used again and again for many different types of bread dough.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Olive oil
- Kneaded dough
- Cling film
Clean and dry baskets. Bread proofing baskets should be completely clean and dry before use. Wipe them with a moist cloth and dry thoroughly with a dishcloth or piece of dry linen.
Make them non-stick. If you are using a plastic proofing basket, coat it with olive oil. If your basket is linen-lined or hard to wash, coat it with a light dusting of flour to prevent sticking. Shake out the excess flour so the basket has an even coating throughout.
Knead the dough thoroughly according to the recipe and separate it into loaves. Place each loaf seam-side up in a proofing basket.
Cover the proofing basket with a layer of cling film or a dishcloth. Set it in a proofing box or a warm place, such as an oven with the pilot light turned on.
When your loaves have doubled in size or risen adequately, gently turn the baskets upside down and invert the loaves. If they stick, lightly peel them away from the linen liner or basket. Don't be alarmed if the loaves have taken on the imprint of the basket. They're supposed to have that pattern.
Tips and warnings
- Mix the dough according to your recipe's instructions. Make sure your yeast is fresh or the dough will not rise.
- Keeping your bread in a proofing basket will prevent it from spreading out and flattening while it rises, which often happens if you place kneaded dough on a flat surface or in a wide bowl.
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