Do you ever wonder how a baker gets the perfect loaf of bread every time? It is highly likely that they are using a proofing basket to keep the shape and structure of the loaf when it’s rising. Proofing baskets are not only used in the professional kitchen but they are also popular items for the home baker.
Proofing baskets come in many shapes and sizes- from round, oval, to long. Proofing baskets can be lined or left unlined so the pattern of the basket will imprint on your dough.
Using a Proofing Basket
- Gently clean the inside of the basket with a soft brush or your hand to remove any loose particles.
- Prepare the basket by coating it liberally with flour and shaking out any excess.
- Place the bread upside down in the basket so when it is proofed and you flip it over the good side is up.
- Let the bread settle in the basket until it rises to the edge of the basket.
- When the bread has proofed, turn the basket onto a baking tray or baking stone. Gently and quickly turn the basket upside down to remove it.
- Cut small slashes in the top of the dough for baking.
- Place in the oven for cooking
Benefits of a Proofing Basket
Proofing baskets are made to help support the loaf while rising and keep the regular shape of the loaf. The natural material of the basket helps to remove the excess moisture from the surface of the dough, which results in a nicer crust on the finished loaf. Also, the gluten in the dough relaxes as it is in the proofing basket causing it to spread out and flatten as it rises.
If you use a proofing basket for the first time you may notice that the dough sticks to the basket. If this happens, use your fingers to work the dough out from the cracks and remember next time to add more flour in the preparation stages.
You are now ready to attempt making artisan bread with a proofing basket!