The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How much bread can I fit into a basket?

enchant's picture

How much bread can I fit into a basket?

I'm pretty happy with the rye bread I've been making.  It's my standard daily bread for sandwiches and with some evening meals.  I eat enough of it that I have to make it every other day.  I was thinking that I'd like the loaves to be a little bigger.

I use a banneton 8" oval basket and a Lodge Logic combo cooker.  I was thinking that I'd like to get a larger basket.  A 9" could easily fit, and with a little squeezing, I might even be able to use a 10".  But I was wondering if I could simply fit more dough into the basket.  It proofs so that it rises just a little above the rim of the basket.  My recipe uses 360g flour and 240g water (~67% hydration).

Is there any rule of thumb about how much a basket can handle?

Weizenbrot's picture

...would you mind sharing your recipe/formula? I'm always looking to find a new rye bread recipe. My go-to sources are Stan Ginsberg's The Rye Baker and Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread.

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

If you can find a copy of Emmanuel Hadjiandreou's book "How to Make Sourdough", there are some really nice rye recipes in there. Today I'm making Orange and Coriander rye, Sun-dried Tomato and Olive rye and Prune and pink Peppercorn rye. :) There's a very nice pumpernickel recipe in there too, using three kinds of barley malt for flavour. Yum!

enchant's picture

It's a pretty simple recipe that I can make in a few hours.

  • 240g warm water
  • 3.6g IDY
  • 270g bread flour
  • 90g rye flour
  • 1 rounded Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 Tbsp salt (see note at end)

(Sorry about the non-weight/non-percentage amounts on the seeds and salt.  In the beginning, I weighed them, but now it's just faster to scoop them directly into the mix.  I actually don't even weigh the yeast.  Just a hair over a teaspoon is exactly 3.6g for me.)

Mix yeast into water, mix in flour and seeds and autolyse 30 min.

Then I add the salt and knead in my stand mixer for 4 minutes.

Bulk ferment in oiled bowl 45 min (room temp).

A couple of quick stretch and folds, shape it roughly into the basket shape and bench rest 10 min.

A final shaping and then into the banneton basket to proof for 45 min.

With 25 min left on the proofing, I preheat my Lodge Logic combo cooker in 500F oven.

Empty the loaf into the combo cooker, score it randomly and spritz heavily with water.  (If I'm in the mood, I might sprinkle more caraway seeds on top).

Cover, then into the oven.

After 20 minutes, remove the cover, lower temp to 450, and cook till interior is about 200F.  For me this is generally 11 minutes, but I usually wait till about 13 because I like the crust a little browner.

Lately, I've reduced the salt to 1/2 Tbsp, because the original recipe creates a slice of bread with a heart-crippling 500 mg sodium.  Delicious, but I'm not a young man anymore and have to pay attention to these things.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

a cardboard or sturdy paper collar to the inside edge of the banneton (maybe even cut out a plastic collar from a milk jug) flouring and/or oil it and up the recipe proportionally.    What about one third more dough?  ...To a 500g flour recipe?  Usually takes 40 to 45 min to bake.   335g water  (100 x 5 = 500 and 67 x 5 = 335)  

The trick with the bannetons is not to go too much wider as dough increases but to use one that goes deeper instead.  

enchant's picture

I didn't realize that they had varying depths.  That would probably be better for me.  I'd like my loaves as tall as I can get them.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

in your recipe as 25% rye and 75% Bread flour  to make 100%.  So Rye flour is 125g and Bread flour 375g  for 500g total flour.  

2% salt on 360g total flour is 7.2g   If a teaspoon of normal table salt weighs 5g, then 7.2g is almost half a Tablespoon of salt.  No wonder you reduced it!   4% is a lot of salt!

2% salt on 500g flour is 10g or two teaspoons of table salt.  I thought you might want to know....  :)  

I think you can see the yeast IDY amount is 1% at 3.6g (360g total flour.)  So with 500g flour the IDY is 5g.  All set!  

Can the combo cooker take an increase in dough?  Go for it!  

You might have noticed I used multiples of 5 upping the recipe.  If you find this makes too much dough, reduce to 4.5.  Just use the % recipe and multiply by 4.5:  

  • 75%   x 4.5   Bread flour 
  • 25%   x 4.5   Rye flour
  • 67%   x 4.5   Water    
  • 1%     x 4.5   IDY
  • 2%     x 4.5   Salt  
enchant's picture

Since the original recipe had amounts that were all easily divided by three, I came up with a similar increase yesterday, but I just increased everything by a third.

  • 320g warm water
  • 4.8g IDY
  • 360g bread flour
  • 120g rye flour
  • 1.5 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 2 tsp salt

And yes, the combo cooker can definitely hold more dough.  The inside diameter of the combo cooker is 9-5/8" at the top edge.  I think the dough coming out of a 10" banneton would probably fit if I'm careful putting it in.  I've seen a couple of videos of people dumping their dough into the cooker, and in each, they leave the cooker flat on the stove top and turn the dough-filled basket upside down into it.  I had a couple of mis-fires doing this, so now I turn the cooker upside down over the basket, flip the both of them over, then lift the basket off.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

4.8  just like the IDY %.    

I tend to measure caraway seeds in shot glasses.  God bless her soul, my neighbour lady showed me how much caraway to add to half a kilo flour using a shot glass.  So it stuck with me.  That would be one shot glass.   Of course that was for a white buttery wheat bread with caraway, cut into triangles and rolled up...Just a touch of butter and dash of milk into the water difference.   I short cut her rolling out method of the dough and made mine first into a pizza shape and cut it up into triangles.  Then rolled up the dough from the outside edge into "sticks."  

Can do the same thing with this recipe.  They tend to look like more like a croissant but without the curve.  Simple to do and looks  like I spent all afternoon in the kitchen.  Of coarse one needs a cookie sheet for them.  They might look kinda funny all stacked up in a combo cooker.  (Then again....I can almost see it.)  A quick brushing with milk or cream or mayo or water and a sprinkle toss of caraway seeds is always "that little extra" when the mood is right.  

enchant's picture

"Bartender!  A shot of caraway.  And leave the bottle."

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You can get more of your money's worth out of caraway seeds if you hit them with a hammer first to crack their seed hulls.  They are very hard but a little going over helps.  "Oh and Bartender, hand me that bat would you?"

Another trick is to pour a little boiling water over them or nuke them with water in the microwave oven until they boil.  Let cool and add the water as part of the liquids.  This also softens them.  So does roasting the little things shortly in a frying pan and then dropping into water.