The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Proofing baskets prices and quality question

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Ghobz's picture
Ghobz

Proofing baskets prices and quality question

I have an artisanal moroccan basket I use as a substitute for a round proofing basket. But 1 is far than enough. I need at least an other one and ideally 2 oblong proofing baskets so I can bake more comfortably than with the heavy ceramic mixing bowl I make do with right now when I make more than one loaf. If I'm patient enough, I could wait for my mother to travel to Morocco as she does twice a year so she brings me 2 or 3 more of the local artisan baskets. I would recieve them sometime in the next 6 months.

My moroccan "proofing" basket.

But then I'm not sure how they compare to the "real deal". I think I'd better try a real banneton or brotform to make-up my mind.

I noticed prices can differ by a full 50% online for these products. I wonder if there is a reason for this or if proofing baskets quality differ with the price?

Two of my sisters live in Paris. I have no idea how much are bannetons there and if there are different qualities. But since my niece is coming to visit us in Montreal, I'm trying to decide if I bother my sisters with this purchase in Paris to be sent in my niece's luggages or if I just buy "local" from an online store in Canada or the US.

You banneton or brotform users, do you know if there are differences in quality? I'm not talking about plastic versus natural material, I will buy natural for sure. Have you tried different ones from different sources or made with different material? What are your preferences?

Thank you.

 

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

I have a couple of cheap proving baskets (wicker with linen lining) that I bought in Normandy a couple of years ago. They are nothing like the quality of the ones the I have from The Bertinet Kitchen in the UK but will serve a few years for a modest home baker, if handled carefully.

The ones from The Bertinet Kitchen are more of a professional quality and cost from $C35 whilst the ones that I bought in France were between $C7 and $C13.

I do not know what quality your local supplies are but if your relative can safely transport a few cheap ones from France I would say they are worth a go, unless you are going into business.

Ghobz's picture
Ghobz

I'm not in business. We're a large family though: 2 adults, 2 young adults and 2 teenagers, me being the only woman of the lot. We eat bread every day, often twice a day.  That's a lot of bread, especially when we make sandwiches for everybody's lunches. But still, that doesn't compare to the wear and tear a business would put on the bannetons. I'll ask my sisters to buy me few of the cheaper ones and to put them in my niece's suitcase.

Thank you again.

Mukoseev's picture
Mukoseev

Here are the baskets I use for proofing.  I buy them online at a restaurant supply for about five dollars a dozen.  They come in a variety shapes and sizes and colors.  You can line them with linen but I use paper towels.  They're not for purists but I bake  15-20 loaves a week and they work great.

 

 

Ghobz's picture
Ghobz

It's a brilliant cheaper substitute. It looks very sturdy too. I'm not a purist by any means. Baking and cooking from scratch in general, a pleasurable activity years ago has now become a pleasurable necessity. With the solid and generous forks' strikes my guys have I need to be sensible in my choices.

We have a large restaurant supplier here in Montreal. I meant to go anyway for other things I need. I could be lucky and find reasonably priced bread baskets similar to yours. And I sew so It'll be easy enough to make linen liners.

Thank you for the great suggestion.

 

bob13's picture
bob13

     I am too new to all of this to really underestand.  1-why should I proof my bread in a basket & 2- why is natural better than plastic.  I see plastic used in the bakery when I visit up north, but that might be because it is a large scale, commerical operation.  Thanks for the education.

Ghobz's picture
Ghobz

A bread loaf doesn't have to be proofed in a basket really. One can shape a boule, a batard or a baguette and have them proof on any horizontal surface lined with floured fabric or paper.

For me I find it more convenient and easier to handle if my bread is in a vessel while proofing. It's less involved when it comes to shaping the bread if it's intended to proof in a basket. It can be moved conveniently while I cook other things as opposed to loaves proofing on the counter or kitchen table which can't be so easily moved, say half way through proofing to put it on top of the fridge or on a high shelf, if the horizontal space is needed for other purposes. It also makes it easy to just invert the vessel on the peel or directly on the baking stone in the oven with minimal handling and therefore minimal inevitable degazing of the loaves.

As for plastic versus natural, I find plastic-made objects generaly age really badly in a kitchen. It discolors, warps, scratches, absorbs odors... I also find plastic to be less sanitary when used as a container or cutting board, although that doesn't really apply for proofing bread. It's more difficult to wash thoroughly and almost impossible to deodorise after it absorbed odors, which can be a real pain.

Also, I'm not a professional baker and therefore I can be a bit clumsy in my movements. Hot surfaces (ceramic glass stove top or 500F heated oven) and plastic evidently don't go too well together. Then there's the well known health issues with BPA. I'd rather not add willingly to a the problem imposed on us by plastic lined cans of food, plastic packaged food stuff from the grocery, etc.

For those reasons I choose to avoid whenever possible buying or using plastic objects for cooking purposes in general, not just for bread baking.