Which proofing basket is best?
If you want to bake delicious bread styles like sourdough, you’re going to need something called a proofing basket. Also known as bannetons, these simple containers are used to give certain bread types their recognizable loaf shape.
There are many factors to consider when shopping for proofing baskets, but if you want a large basket crafted from traditional rattan cane, the Bread Bosses 9-Inch Banneton Proofing Basket Set is the top pick.
What to know before you buy a proofing basket
What does a proofing basket do?
When making a loaf of bread, proofing is the step where the prepared yeast dough is allowed to rest and rise in darkness before being baked. Certain types of bread, like sourdough or gluten-free bread, need a proofing basket to create their shape; otherwise, they’ll expand outward like a flat disc.
Bread proofing baskets can be crafted from a wide variety of different materials. Traditionally these baskets are made out of rattan. Similar in appearance to wicker, this natural cane material is twisted into a spiral shape to create a particularly light and breathable container. Other proofing baskets may be crafted from wood or plastic.
Shape and size
A proofing basket is what gives your loaf of bread its shape, so the majority of these containers are round, oval or occasionally triangular. Many proofing basket sets will come with multiple bannetons so you can experiment with different loaf sizes. The diameter of a round bread proofing basket is traditionally about 9 inches, but you can usually find other sizes available if you want to feed a large group of people.
Proofing basket tips
- Choose a proofing basket that’s larger than the loaves you plan to bake. This gives you more flexibility with loaf sizes, and it doesn’t matter if your dough doesn’t completely fill the container.
- The first time you use your proofing basket, condition it by sprinkling the inside with a small amount of water and then dusting it with flour.
- A coating of oats can also be used to prevent sticking if you’re preparing a particularly wet dough.
- Proofing baskets are great for providing shape to gluten-free doughs.
What to look for in a quality proofing basket
These accessories are used to prevent sticking and to keep your banneton nice and clean. Liners are not required, however, and some bakers don’t use them because they can extract moisture from the dough.
Many proofing basket sets come with stencils. These optional items can be used to add a stylish flour dust pattern to the surface of your finished loaf. Designs of flowers and wheat are commonly found, while some stencils can depict portraits or words.
Pronounced like lahm, a lame is a simple, knife-like tool that is used for scoring loaves of bread. Scoring allows the bread to properly expand during baking. These tools are often found in proofing basket sets.
High-end proofing baskets can come with many other helpful accessories like scrapers, bonus lames and even instructional e-books or DVDs.
How much you can expect to spend on a proofing basket
The cost of a proofing basket can vary depending on the quality of the materials and any included accessories. Most users can expect to spend around $15-$40 for a reliable, well-constructed banneton.
Proofing basket FAQ
How do I keep my dough from sticking to my proofing basket?
A. Seasoning your proofing basket with a mixture of equal parts cornstarch and water is one reliable way to prevent sticking. You can also use a liner or dust your banneton with flour between each use.
Do I need to wash my proofing basket?
A. As long as your proofing basket remains properly dusted with flour and no dough gets left behind, you should never need to wash your proofing basket.
What’s the best proofing basket to buy?
Top proofing basket
What you need to know: This popular proofing basket set is affordable and perfect for beginners and experienced bakers alike.
What you’ll love: Boasting a traditional rattan and wicker construction, this proofing basket comes with a washable cloth liner, a plastic scraper and an instructional e-book with easy-to-follow recipes. The product is also splinter and odor-free, and users note the consistent artisan look of their finished loaves.
What you should consider: Sticking is likely to occur if the proofing basket isn’t properly seasoned before use.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top proofing basket for the money
What you need to know: This proofing set offers great bang for your buck by including high-quality accessories with two rattan baskets.
What you’ll love: The two bread proofing baskets included in this set are crafted from 100% natural rattan cane. The additional accessories include two cloth liners, a sturdy lame with a wooden handle, four spare lame blades and a blade cover. An instructional guide is also included.
What you should consider: This proofing set has been very well-received, but a few users have reported receiving oval baskets instead of round.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This highly rated basket is particularly useful if you want to bake long, oval-shaped loaves of bread.
What you’ll love: This proofing basket is hand-crafted from unbleached, non-toxic rattan cane and can hold up to 3 pounds of dough, considerably more than some other bannetons. The basket also comes with an e-book, complete with instructional videos and a coupon for baking lessons.
What you should consider: The unique shape of this bread proofing basket means that it’s only appropriate for certain types of loaves.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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