The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

I don't have a proofing basket, so what is a good sub.?

Mary Bread Baker's picture
Mary Bread Baker

I don't have a proofing basket, so what is a good sub.?

I think this site is great! I just got into baking bread, I love to cook and bake sweets so it was a pretty natural step.  However I do not have tons of equipment, I have two different stones and thats about it I have been using bowls to mix and 1st proof in Then I punch down and shape and let rise again but I put the bread on a metal  pan and put in oven then when the pan gets hot it bends and knocks down the bread, very disappointing. I'd like to use the stones but they have to be heated beforehand, then I saw a proofing basket looks cool but I havn't got one yet so what would be a good sub.?  All advice is welcome.

SulaBlue's picture

I just proof my bread in a bowl. I've found my best cooking results to be in a dutch oven, so right now I'm only doing round loafs. Something about the process of cooking on my pizza stone set off my fire alarm - but I'm going to try it again soonish.

Proofing baskets are relatively inexpensive at and

You can also proof your bread on a couche - a piece of linen that has been throughly impregnated with flour.

clazar123's picture

I've discovered I have a lot of "stuff" and rather than buying or acquiring anything that serves just a single purpose, I have been re-purposing things. I try to get specialty items only when I must and then think of them as a necessary tool for the job.

I proof my bread in whatever comes to hand and fits the dough-a large bowl, covered plastic container, large,wide-mouthed thermos jug, unfinished hand-carved wooden boat (someone started to carve a boat out of a clean piece of wood-looks like a 14" model but is perfect for a small baguette shaped loaf as long as I use a well floured liner).

So look around and see what would work. Just make sure whatever you find is washhable and safe for using with food-no brightly covered bowls from anywhere-unless you test for lead.

I tend to avoid metal containers but, come to think of it, I bet a 4 qt covered soup pot would work well. Anyone do this? Any metal issues? Cast iron would probably impart an iron flavor but stainless shouldn't.

fancypantalons's picture

Banneton are very handy, but they're by no means required for making a simple boule.  I just form my loaves as boules by hand (the key is in getting good surface tension across the top of the loaf), and then do the final rise on a flat surface (after spraying them with oil and covering them in plastic).

As for baking on a stone, the trick is in how you load the oven. 

Here's the trick I use: do the final proof on a sheet of parchment paper.  When the loaf is nearly ready, stick the stone in the oven and pre-heat (my loaves start out at 500F, dropped to 450F after the first couple minutes).  Then, to load the oven, transfer the risen loaf, parchment paper and all, onto the back of a sheet pan (the parchment makes this easy, as the it allows the loaf to slide around), and then transfer the loaf from the sheet pan onto the pre-heated stone.  Simple, easy, and relatively fool proof.


pcasebere's picture

You can spend $8.00 on a "proofing basket," or $0.50 on a "whatever-you-want-it-to-be basket."  If you are picturing a proofing basket -stop!  Go to a thrift store, or where-have-you, and buy a simple whicker basket.  When you're home, place a cloth napkin in it, then your dough, and cover it with another (or same) cloth napkin.  The basket is simply shaping the dough, as a mold, in the final rise; this is just my $0.02 though.

Susan's picture

A huge investment is not required to make good bread.  Pop over to my TFL blog and take a peek at the latest entry.  You'll see a paragraph on what I use to make bread.  All my breads are sourdough, but the tools are basically the same as with yeast. Here's a photo that shows my mixing tub and two of the colanders I use with simple flour-coated linen squares laying in them.  Have fun and enjoy yourself, 'cause if it's not fun, why do it?

Susan from San Diego