The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

whats better for proofing dough

vince hav's picture
vince hav

whats better for proofing dough

i have a stainless bowl an a ceramic bowl. but i read about the banneton and was wondering if it makes a difference what the dough rises in. when i worked at pizzza hut we put the dough in the cast iron skillets that we baked the pizza in, an put them in a warming oven. does the one work better over the other or does it really matter? thought about buying a wood bowl like you would use for a salad, wood that be ok? thanks for your help.

gardenchef's picture

you can probably use something you have ( a flat cutting board or large glass mixing bowl) but I just got a couple of large dough rising buckets (food safe, with measurements on side) to use for some artisanal doughs that proof and can be refridgerated for a week. Very inexpensive...$16 can't remember if it was or

happy baking,  snowing in boston : )))))


davidg618's picture

at least, not much, not enough to worry about.

Yesterday, I proofed one loaf in a small banneton, and a second loaf in a stainless steel saucier lined with a tea towel, and having the same diameter as the wooden banneton. Except for slightly different curvatures the loaves proofed to the same volume (eyeballed), and displayed equivalent oven spring baked side-by-side.

On other occasions I've proofed in SS bowls, and cast iron Dutch ovens.

David G.

OurHappyHomestead's picture

I agree - I always use our ceramic bowls for sourdough, but when it comes to just proofing (like for pizza dough or whole wheat bread) we ususally just do it directly in the Bosch plastic mixer bowl, but if we're doing multiple batches we'll reach for the stainless mixing bowls.  Never noticed a difference, although if we were doing insanely large ammoutns we'd probably also move to plastic buckets... One of these days I'll buy the stainless bowl for the Bosh - I don't see us changing anything when that happens...



Nutrimill Grain


flournwater's picture

"wondering if it makes a difference what the dough rises in"

Your dough wouldn't care if you dropped it into an old shoe to rise, as long as the temperature is suitable and it has room to expand. 

Dough resting in a banneton picks up the design in the vessel, it isn't necessary to  use a banneton if you don't care about the embellishments.

I've never worked at Pizza Hut but I suspect the warming oven was used as a proofing oven to accelerate the proofing process.  For the purpose of proofing formulas like pizza dough it is not uncommon to proof them in the vessel they will eventually be baked in and, probably because it's capable of maintaining an even temperature throught it structure, a cast iron skillet is well suited for that purpose.  In fact, with an oiled sheet of parchment to allow for a smooth release, it'd probably work very well for proofing dough for any purpose.




Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and what you mean by "proof."   The word proof is used loosely and can mean 1) a test of the yeast, 2) the bulk rise or 3) second bulk rise or 4) after shaping, the final rise.

For 1) a small bowl or cup is just fine.

For 2) and 3) a plastic, ceramic, glass, stainless, or wood container is preferable.  Some insulate other do not, your choice is up to you and your ambient conditions.  Whatever works for you.  Some prefer a bowl that holds the heat, others want to chill the dough quickly and prefer a thin container.  There are even dough buckets with markings on the sides.  Good to have a lid that fits nicely but not too tight.  Yet others have plenty of room and leave the dough to proof on the table top with a large bowl inverted over the dough.

For 4) final rise.  That can be done in a bread form, on the counter top, nestled in floured cloth,  on parchment on a baking sheet, or in a banneton.  The idea of using a banneton or basket, lined or unlined is to help hold the dough after it is shaped while rising, so it keeps a rounder form and hopefully a rounder form after baking.    The dough will be tipped out of the banneton and put into the oven to bake.   The banneton absorbs a little bit of moisture and creates a slightly tougher skin on the dough.  This is helpful for free form loaves when the dough has a high hydration and needs a little extra hold during baking.   That's the idea anyway.   That is why an absorbant surface or a surface that breathes is often desired.  Be sure to dry the banneton and cloths well before putting away for the next use.  Bannetons are also used to create patterns on the bread surface.

No need to invest in expensive equipment.  Many times, if you use a creative exploring eye, you will spy something you already have that will work, something that will hold a floured cloth long enough for a final rise or final proof.   Suspending dough in a cloth swing from a cupboard knob will also work.   It can be a basket, bucket, bowl, colander, strainer, sauce pan or whatever.



vince hav's picture
vince hav usual i got some very good detailed answers that leave me know other questions on the matter.