The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Question about proofing!

aminet's picture

Question about proofing!

I have a bid of problem with the final proofing.

How does everyone cover the dough for the final proofing? Usually plastic wrap or wet cloth or papertowl is used right?

I hate to cover them because it usualy sticks to it when trying to peel them off after the proofing.

Is it a bad idea to have hot water in the oven, kinda like a steamed oven, and put the uncovered dough in ? Or will that affect the dough when slashing(which Im also scared to do because it might deflate!)?

I usualy do the steamed oven for primary fermentation&final proofing when making soft enriched breads. It works quite well.

Some days, I just leave out the dough on the counter for final proofing withought covering it. Im just that scared of covering the dough!



Paddyscake's picture

of oil on the top will do the trick..then cover with plastic wrap, bag etc.

susanfnp's picture

Hi Annie,

Try getting yourself some large plastic zip-type bags and slipping the loaves in there for proofing. If you're proofing in baskets or bowls, Hefty has some 2-quart bags that should be about right. If you need bigger, Ziploc has a variety of sizes up to XXL (or maybe XXXL) which can fit two half-sheet pans with room to spare.

I love these because they are almost infinitely reusable (just make sure they are dry before folding them up to store) and the plastic is heavy enough that I can usually tent it up and away from the dough so it doesn't stick. You can slo put something taller than the dough inside the bag to hold it up if the tenting doesn't work. Sometimes I put a damp towel in there too to keep the humidity up. But I don't like it to be too humid because then the dough gets all sticky.

I would not leave the dough uncovered when proofing because if the surface dries out it will impede rising.


aminet's picture

This was a simple problem. and I feel kind of dumb for asking!

Both of you, thank you very much for the replies.

For some reason I did not like putting oil in the bowl during first firmentationa and i didn't understand the purpose of it, or maybe because I was lazy. So ofcorse I didnt bother puting oil for the final proofing either. 

I finally tried Putting oil on the plastic wrap, and it worked.

The tent idea is quite neat. It remindes me of comercial kitchens where I believe they put dough into a controled temp. and humidity place.

I wonder if a dried out dough can rehydrate in a steamed oven...

Larry Clark's picture
Larry Clark

plastic bowls or boxes. I've tried tenting, and a humid oven, all of which work, but I've found the boxes/bowls work just as well and are far easier to use. I rinse them with warm water, tap out the exess and cover the dough. The  dough doesn't dry out and you can see what's going on in there. I have yet to get anyting long enough for baguettes. The one draw back is, you have to store the @!%!# things.

LilliputLady's picture

During the overnight retarded proofing in the refrigerator, I use those thin, cheap shower caps  - I go to the "dollar stores" and buy the shower caps, usually 8 for $1.  You can pull the top up, like a tent, so it is not resting on the dough.

The final proofing, I put the loaves on my ironing board in my laundry room, take off the plastic covers, and place a cloth (I use old 100# flour sack bags, cut into big squares.  My father brought these home from Helms Bakery in So. CA where he worked for 13 years).  You can use any lint-free cloth, however, like dish-drying towl.  I also think Martha Stewart sells "flour sack" material cloths.

The key for me is to dust the top of the dough with white rice flour at the moment I'm finished shaping the boules and putting them into their willow bannetons for their overnight rest.  The white rice flour looks great on the top of the baked boules.  Regular flour absorbs the moisture and becomes gummy, so white rice flour is the key to unsticky tops!

By the way, I make sure I'm doing laundry (washing and drying) when I'm final proofing, shut the door and it keeps the humidity in the room high. 




aminet's picture

I have not yet tried the banneton or the basket with cloth lining. Thoes seem pretty advanced for me right now.

the shower cap covering is a good idea :)

 I was wondering why the flour I put over the dough before final proofing disappears before it goes into the oven. I need rice flour... !

Speaking of flour.. If you put flour on top of the dough, does that prevent proofing in any way? because proofing needs moist surface, and the whole point of covering the dough is to prevent skin from forming. Im a bit confused about this.