The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A Wooden "couche" and a question

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clazar123's picture
clazar123

A Wooden "couche" and a question

I have been looking for a proofing basket at the local Goodwill, -a nice long,thin basket would do nicely- when I came across a hand carved 18" piece of wood in the shape of a boat or canoe. Perfect! It had a nice rounded interior and it was totally unfinished. It looked/felt like a nice piece of maple. SOmeone's unfinished craft project. A few minutes with sandpaper and it was ready to use.

BUT-here's my question. I have never worked with a couche so my question may come from inexperience. A linen couche is generously dusted with flour so the dough doesn't stick. I did generously dust this with flour which, of course, didn't stick so there were a few places the dough stuck. Is there a suggested treatment when using a wooden bowl to proof dough? Or should I generously dust my loaf with flour before placing in the wooden vessle? Is there any treatment that does NOT include a cloth liner?

The loaf turned out exactly as I wanted but I had a few anxious minutes wondering if I'd get it out of the "boat" without deflating it.

 

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

If you lightly greased your 'boat' first, then dusted it heavily with flour, the flour would stick and it shouldn't be too difficult getting the dough out.

noonesperfect's picture
noonesperfect

I use a linen cloth to line my proofing basket, unless I am using a banneton that has a pattern I want impressed on the dough.  Flour the linen just like you would the couche, and you still get the benefit of the cool boat.

 

brad

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

A flat cotton towel (clean tea towel, dish towel, cloth diaper or t-shirt) with flour worked in and dusted with flour should work just fine. One function of proofing with cloth is that the dough surface will absorb a little bit of moisture and toughen the surface just enough for it to hold the shape. If the shape can breath (untreated wood, basket, colander) this can be more helpful but don't forget to let them dry completely between bakes. (Very hard on wood, it may eventually crack but if you don't really care about it, no problem.)

If the dusting flour is mixed with a little normal rice flour, it will work even better to release the dough. I use 4-1, four parts flour to 1 part rice flour. I only mix it a cup at a time for my needs and store in a shaker container with lid. That keeps me from mixing it up with other flour mixtures.

Mini O