The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Metal Colander as Proofing Basket/Banneton

volvik's picture

Metal Colander as Proofing Basket/Banneton

I've been trying Jim Lahey's No-Knead recipe and am giving a sourdough version a whirl.  Rather than letting it do it's 2 hour second proofing in a floured/wheat bran dusted towel I'd like to use an old metal colander than has a ton of little holes.

Do I still have to use a towel (cotton/linen etc) for it to sit in or can I just apply some olive oil to the colander and then liberally dust it with flour or wheat bran and then place the dough in that and cover with the towel?



Windischgirl's picture

Depending on the hydration of your dough--and no-knead tends to be pretty wet-- I think if you just use the bare colander, you'll end up with "Porcupine Bread" as the dough oozes through the holes in the colander.  

Might make for an interesting look but would probably be difficult removing the loaf for baking :-)

I have a nesting loaf pan set that was intended for meatloaf: the outer pan has regular straight sides but the inner pan has a ridged bottom with drain holes (I can't imagine using meat with so much fat I'd need the drain holes, but whatever).  I typically use the pans for a stiff straight dough, such as Hamelman's Honey Oatmeal Bread.  Inevitably the smaller loaf has to be "encouraged" to release from the pan as the dough has snuck into the drain holes and taken on a funky ridged bottom.  And that's a stiff dough.  High hydration dough would probably be even more "fun."

imaloafer's picture


If you have any basket of the approximate size, use that. You can also use a bowl if that's all you have. Cheesecloth and dusting with flour works well.

Happy Baking,

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

If you're going to use a colander as a proofing basket, do use a smooth textured towel or a vigorously cleaned old fashioned cloth diaper that has been dusted with brown rice flour or a combination of brown rice flour and whole grain flour. I've used  some stone ground whole wheat and whole grain rye flours in combination with the brown rice flour on my towels.

Depending on the hydration of your loaf, you may find little dots on the exterior of your baked loaves. Don't worry, they're only cosmetic novelties caused by the drying of the flour.


imaloafer's picture

We began using cheesecloth but now buy "flour sack" dish towels, (fairly inexpensive and washable) cut them to size and line bannetons, when needed, with these. 

volvik's picture

Thanks for all the good comments...

This Day's picture
This Day

I dust a flour-sack towel with rice flour, place the dough on it, pick up the towel and dough by the towel's four corners, and place it all in a straw hat with a large crown.  I either suspend the upside-down hat and its contents in a deep bowl or just place it on a tray while the dough rises.

I bought several hats at one of those stores where everything is priced at a dollar.  The hats are usually available during the gardening season.

SylviaH's picture

to make use of a hat.  Sounds like a good idea.  I'll have to give it a try..oh I have a lot of straw hat's..I'm sure I could part with one or two.  I wonder if baseball caps would work?  I doubt my husband would part with a new one ..'lol'.