The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What do you proof your breads on?

ryan's picture

What do you proof your breads on?

Hi All,

I would like to know what you proof your breads on (not including bannetons or brotforms). I am having issues with my beautifully shaped boules sticking to my cloth (floured cotton table cloth), and then deflating pissing me off and wasting my time. So do you use a pelle for the final proof, or a baking sheet or something else. It has to work 100% of the time  either at room temp or in the fridge, and ideally it should be cheap.  Lemme know peeps.


Thanks alot, and happy baking. 


Paddyscake's picture

never fails. If you use a stone, proof on a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet or the back of a sheet pan and slide paper and loaf right onto the stone. After 10 minutes the paper will slide right out so you can get a nice bottom crust. You can also bake on parchment paper on the sheet pan. They say to sprinkle semolina or cornmeal on the paper, but I've found it really makes no difference other than personal preference.

mkelly27's picture

I swear by parchment, set and forget 


Two wrongs don't make a right. Three lefts make a right

Oldcampcook's picture

and I even use it on my no knead dough in my Dutch Oven.  You don't drop the dough and deflate it that way.

Old Camp Cook (or Kook) 

Cooky's picture

I'm a parchment partisan myself, but you also can get great results using real linen instead of cotton towels. They're pricey new, but you can find them sometimes at Goodwill or similar places. You can also get all-linen remnants at fabric stores for way cheap. Once you get them properly floured, they're much less sticky than cotton. According to Danielle Forestier, the baguette expert from the Julia Child videos, you should also never wash them (!) Just let them get bone dry, shake 'em out and store them in zip-up bags or other tight, impervious storage thingy.

Even if you are using cotton, you can get much much less sticking with rice flour. It doesn't adhere to the damp dough the way wheat flour does.


"I am not a cook. But I am sorta cooky."

sphealey's picture

I proof my artisan loaves on a peel. Thanks to various gifts over the last 2 years I have one large (pizza-sized) maple peel and two stainless steel (one medium and one small). I sprinkle a very light dusting of semolina on the peel, put the shaped loaf on, and set it on the counter in the corner. I make a tent of coffee cans and drinking glasses to hold a damp dishcloth that forms a curtain over the loaf without touching it.

Interestingly the risen loaf typically slides off the maple peel easier than the stainless steel even thought the metal is "smoother" to the touch.


ehanner's picture

I proof on parchment in the oven with a bowl of steamy water inside to keep the moisture up. When ready to bake, I slash and remove the water and turn on the oven. Works every time.


Elagins's picture

I use moderately floured linen canvas, no moisture, no oil spray. The linen wicks away surface moisture, leaving a slightly drier skin, which allows me to get magnificent grigne when I slash the loaves. To move my loaves from canvas to stone, I flip them onto a thin piece of plywood, about 16" long and 6" wide. Works perfectly every time.

ryan's picture


Thanks all for your responses guys! I guess I'll try parchment again, as well as on my pelle too, maybe even the linen. It's nice to know that people out there care.

Again thanks all for your help,

Happy baking,


KipperCat's picture

I too enjoyed these responses. I use a cotton towel that's been rubbed with flour and then sprinkled with wheat bran. I think the only times I've had a problem is when I've had a dough with more water than flour. Those are also the reason I started weighing my flour!

Since I have one linen towel, I'll probably switch to it. I do keep my bread towel in a ziploc bag for reuse. I don't want to get in the habit of rice flour just because of my awareness of food sensitivities/allergies. I don't want to risk giving someone a loaf of bread that contains a food substance they wouldn't normally be expecting. Rice is one of the least allergenic foods, but there are a few people who can't tolerate it.

I'm still a novice, btw, in case you hadn't guessed.

staff of life's picture
staff of life

Rice flour.  I've never had any sticking (and now I don't even dust my cloths with it) when I've used rice flour.


verminiusrex's picture

Like ehanner said above, parchment paper on a cookie sheet in the cold oven with a bowl of hot water.  I do this for both the first and then the bench proof, although when I take the shaped loaf out to preheat the oven I give it a hit with the nonstick spray to keep the exterior from drying out during the 10-15 minute time period before the oven is heated and I can bake.  I slash right before the loaf goes into the oven.  If I plan to use an egg glaze then I'll invert a container over the cookie sheet to prevent drying.

BROTKUNST's picture

Ryan ...  you could proof your loaf any way and place you like an the use a 'superpeel', a conveyor peel basically, to transfer the dough without parchment paper directly on the hot stone. It's plain, simple and absolutely easy. I'd argue that it would be impossible to deflate any dough with the superpeel because of the transfer ... other reasons, especially overproofing, may though.



dwg302's picture

white rice flour works very well for coating bannetons and i imagine linen couche.   its much finer than allpurpose flour and it works great.  you can find it in most grocery stores in the specialty flours (i have bob's red mill).  try dusting your linen with that and see how it works.   i also proof bread on silpain non stick mats and they work very well too.