99¢ Store Proofing Basket

For years I’ve used a special wooden basket called a banneton to proof my round loaves of bread in. I’m teaching a bread baking class this weekend and needed a bunch of proofing baskets for the class. Bannetons are nice but expensive so I decided to try using a canvas lined proofing basket as a more economical alternative.

I got some metal bowls from my local 99¢ store. Wicker baskets or a plastic colander would also have worked, but the 8 inch metal bowls were the perfect size for the kind of bread I make. The canvas came from an art supply store, but a fabric store might also work. I’ve tried to use dish towels in the past, but I’ve found that canvas works better. Just make sure to flour the CRAP out of the canvas and never wash it, or your loaf will stick.

I sized the canvas so that I can fold it over the whole bowl to keep the dough from getting oxidized. New kitten “helped” with the fabric cutting.

When you’re ready to bake you just invert the bowl and dump the loaf out of the basket. I like the look of bread proofed in a canvas lined basket.

Stay tuned for my levain-based bread recipe in an upcoming issue of Urban Farm Magazine.

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11 Comments

  1. The bread looks delicious! A friend of mine, Bill, opened a little cafe in South Pas if you are ever in the area. He uses only the freshest ingredients and he bakes his bread every day. I think he makes like 20 loaves or something. He is located on the corner of Fremont/El Centro built into the Fremont Theatre. Its a small place but food is homemade. Please tell him Dave said hi! All the desserts are great too. (shameless promotion for a friend here!)

  2. Hmmmm….I’ve just always left my rounds on the counter to proof. Maybe that is why they never look quite as tall and round and awesome as some that I see photos of.

  3. Cat note: they can swallow string and get into major bowel trouble. I’ve been told never to try to pull one out of their mouths if it might be long as it can cause damage coming out. On the other hand, a few cat hairs in the food never bothered me (much).

  4. ooh, thats timely, im just experimenting with sour doughs at the moment, i have some wicker baskets of the right size and some canvas, cool idea, i shall go flour it up in preparedness, thanks.

  5. I second Diane’s comment. I’m a veterinarian, and my first thought on seeing this post was “I hope the kitty doesn’t swallow that string or get it wrapped around the base of her tongue.” String or thread is a very dangerous foreign body if swallowed. It can be life threatening and requires major surgery.

  6. I love the spiral dusting pattern the flour makes when bread is formed in a real banneton, but it IS hard to justify the $30 or more when a simple basket really does the job. A sun-dried dishtowel (a bit stiff) works great in place of a couche for baguette as well. Pretty bread!

  7. Non-bread baker here with a question – is that a metal bowl or a colander? Does the bread need ventilation while it proofs?

  8. Anonymous, I do think that plastic colanders or wood baskets might be better but I couldn’t find any that were the right size. If this proves to be a bad idea I’ll report back and revise this post.

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