The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Proving Baskets dilemma - Which One Rises to the Ocassion?

PaulZ's picture
PaulZ

Proving Baskets dilemma - Which One Rises to the Ocassion?

Most of my new adventures into baking have been shaping baguettes, ciabatta loaves & rolls, batards and boules. All great successes :-)

Now want to try & use dough rising baskets or banetons. Oh oh! Seems very confusing!

Some baskets have couche / cotton duck material lining the basket, others are plastic moulds (brotforms) with holes for air, some solid with no air holes. Then there are banetons I've seen that have no linen but the dough is placed directly onto the coiled wicker or cane after flouring generously. Is there really a difference or is it really a matter of aesthetics? Also, would appreciate informed comments on the ratio of dough to the size of the basket. Half to allow for a doubling up in the final proof? Thanks fellow bakers!!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You could just try slumping a smooth dishtowel in a bowl or basket or colander, flour it and put your floured dough into it.  Half is about right.  Play around and see what you can come up with.  Some doughs will actually pick up the pattern in the cloth.  Stiffer dough can rest in the form a few hours or be retarded without sticking.  Very wet doughs are a little more tricky and should not be left long to rise.  Better to do more S &F's first.  Saving the last half or three quarters of an hour for rising in the floured form.  What you use is a matter of personal aesthetics.  I do prefer a higher narrower form to a low flattish one.   The smaller the loaf, the smaller the form.  I would not raise 1kg of dough in a 3kg brotform, it would defeat the purpose.

It is good to have a little air circulation under the cloth like with baskets and anything with holes.  Unglazed baked pottery is also an option, so is an unvarnished wooden bowl or basket.  Important is to have the form opening larger than the base or widest part of the form so it slips out easily.  But you know that, I 'm just adding all this for other readers.  It is also possible to use a sauce pan, just roll one dishtowel  into a donut or nest in the bottom and then drape with a second towel.  If your kitchen toys are really limited (from your picture you don't look limited) you could just place the dough into a floured square cloth, knot up opposite corners and hang from an upper cabinet knob suspending the dough in the air.  :)

PaulZ's picture
PaulZ

It really sounds very basic, thanks Mini Oven.

Can't understand  why these "things" are so costly (at least they are here in South Africa.) One could theoretically take a real "el cheapo" Chinese import bamboo bread basket, line it with food-safe linen cloth / cotton canvas and hey presto! No worries and happy days?! (Total cost = $1.50 vs $ 25 for a French imported baneton.)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and see if they also make something usable.  Might be supporting your community at the same time.

PaulZ's picture
PaulZ

Excellent idea.  We have sight disadvantaged aid societies in all our major cities - and I think they can custom weave as well.