The 5 Best Proofing Baskets for Bakery-Worthy Loaves
Dotdash Meredith and Yahoo Inc. may earn commission or revenue on some items through the links below.
Shape your dough like the pros with these round and oval bannetons.
If you’re making any kind of bread with yeast, proofing — the process of letting the dough rest and rise before baking — is an essential step to achieve the best finished product. “Proofing is the additional rise you give the dough after shaping it and before putting it in the oven,” says Jack Hazan, the chief baking officer at JackBakes and author of Mind Over Batter. “It's very important because it contributes to the bread's fluffy texture and keeps it from coming out dense.”
While there are a variety of vessels you can use to proof dough, from glass bowls to loaf pans, a proofing basket is favored by many professionals. “Proofing baskets help shape the bread during the proofing stage,” says Angela Reid, the head baker at Leland Eating & Drinking House in Brooklyn. “You can use a bowl and line it with linen, but proofing baskets make the proofing process much easier.” Hazan agrees that proofing baskets are the way to go, adding that they give the bread that perfect bakery look and feel and last for many years. “I still use the same one that I purchased 10 years ago.”
After looking at important factors like material, size, and shape and consulting with bread baking experts, we determined the best proofing baskets you can buy. Continue reading to find out which ones made our favorites list and why.
Breadtopia Round Rattan Proofing Basket
Pros: The price is low, but the quality is high with this artisan-made proofing basket.
Cons: The optional liner is sold separately.
Both Reid and Hazan are big fans of this proofing basket from Breadtopia. “We buy from Breadtopia because the quality of rattan is stronger, and the quality seems better than cheaper ones,” Reid says. “They are good quality and affordable, from a small Indonesian handcraft company employing a group of native artisans using quality rattan supplied by local farmers.”
If you want or need a liner, you’ll have to buy it separately, but Breadtopia sells a matching one for a low price, so it’s easy to tack one onto your purchase. Alternatively, you can simply dust the proofing basket with flour, and you shouldn’t have any issues with the dough releasing from the basket.
Price at time of publish: $16
Dimensions: 8.5 x 9 x 3.5 inches
Dough Capacity: 680 to 1130 grams
Liner Included? No
Frieling Brotform Round Proofing Basket
Pros: It’s a cinch to use and clean.
Cons: You’ll still need to buy a separate liner or cheesecloth if you want to use one for a smooth finish.
Made from natural cane, this proofing basket is easy to work with, even if you’re a beginner bread baker. Just sprinkle flour inside, put your dough in, and once proofing is done, the dough should slide right out for an effortless transfer to whatever baking sheet or bread cloche you’re using. Then, give the basket a quick wipe with a damp cloth to remove any bits of dough or flour, so it’s ready for the next round.
Many people like proofing baskets for the ribbed pattern they give to the finished bread, but if you want a smooth look for your loaf, then you need to add a liner, or even a cheesecloth, to the basket before proofing. Unfortunately, even with the higher price, that’s not included.
Price at time of publish: $40
Dimensions: 8 x 3.25 inches
Dough Capacity: 500 grams
Liner Included? No
Emile Henry Bread Baker’s Dream Set
Pros: You’ll feel like a real pro with these stylish and useful bread baking utensils.
Cons: The bread lame and dough whisk require hand-washing.
If you’re wanting to invest in bread baking essentials, this set is for you. There’s the proofing basket, of course, which is made from natural cane with an 11-inch diameter suitable for large loaves. Once the proofing is done, you can put the dough in the included Burgundian clay bread pot (which is wonderfully dishwasher-safe) for baking. The lid keeps the bread tender, while the glaze means your creation won’t get stuck at the final step.
As part of the set, you also get a beautiful bread lame handcrafted from wood, brass, and stainless steel. This is the bladed tool you can use to professionally slash or score those pretty, precise patterns onto your dough before baking. Lastly, you get a dough whisk with a spiral design that does a good job of incorporating your ingredients without adding too much air to the mix. These last two items need to be hand-washed, but given their size, that’s not too big of a chore.
Price at time of publish: $200
Dimensions: 11-x-4-inch proofing basket, 10.5-x-6.25-inch bread pot, 7.5-inch bread lame, 3-x-10-inch dough whisk
Dough Capacity: 750 to 900 grams
Liner Included? No
Related:The 15 Best Bread Cookbooks of 2023
Saint Germain Bakery 10-Inch Premium Oval Banneton
Pros: This large, easy-to-clean proofing basket comes with a liner.
Cons: Its potentially rough material means it’s best to use a liner.
A big round boule isn’t the only option. If you want to make long country-style loaves, this oval proofing basket is our favorite. It’s made by a small family business in Vietnam using natural rattan that’s dye and chemical-free, and its 10-inch size is ideal for medium to large loaves.
Prefer to use a liner while proofing? You’ll be happy to know that a cloth one is provided with the product. It’s possible you may notice some little splinters or gaps between the weaving, so we say it’s best to use the liner anyways, especially since you already have one. If for some reason you’re not satisfied with this bread basket, the manufacturer offers a full refund, which shows that they stand behind their product’s quality.
Price at time of publish: $30
Dimensions: 4 x 10 x 6 inches
Dough Capacity: 650 to 800 grams
Liner Included? Yes
ANPHSIN Oval Banneton Bread Proofing Basket
Best for Large Loaves
Pros: You get a liner and a scraper with this ample-sized, well-made proofing basket for large, artisanal loaves.
Cons: The liner isn’t the best quality, so you might want to dust the basket with flour instead.
Can you relate to that famous “I love bread” quote from Oprah? If your household runs through bread quickly, or you simply prefer to bake larger loaves, consider this 13-inch oval-shaped basket. The proofing basket results in a good shape and size to make thick sandwiches since it’s longer than it is wide.
Another plus is the basket’s low price, which is made even sweeter by the fact that you get a linen liner and a scraper included in your purchase. The liner might not meet your expectations, so if that’s the case, opt for flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the basket. The scraper comes in handy for cutting and portioning your dough.
Price at time of publish: $20
Dimensions: 13.7 x 13.8 x 3.14
Dough Capacity: 900 to 1100 grams
Liner Included? Yes
The Breadtopia Round Rattan Proofing Basket earned the spot as our overall favorite because of its combination of quality craftsmanship, low price, and ease of use. If you want to step up your baking game, the Emile Henry Bread Baker's Dream 4-Piece Set is a worthwhile investment for its assortment of handy, well-made tools.
Factors to Consider
When looking at the size of proofing baskets, you’ll see that the dimensions are often related to the weight of dough the basket can hold. The general rule is that an 8-inch basket can accommodate 500 grams of dough, and Reid says 9 inches is suitable for a 1,000-gram double loaf recipe.
When it comes to determining what size to get, regardless if it’s round or oval, Hazan recommends going for a bigger size, so your bread won’t spill out of the basket. “For beginners, I recommend a 10-inch, round basket.”
The shape of your proofing basket will affect the shape of your loaf since the vessel supports the form of the dough as it rises. Many proofing baskets are either round, for baking boules, or oval, for baking batards. You can also find proofing baskets in the shape of a baguette or a triangle. Consider what kind of bread you’ll be baking the most often to determine which shape is right for you, or if you’re an avid baker, you may want to invest in a few to suit various recipes.
Some proofing baskets come with a liner, but if it doesn’t, you can purchase one separately. Typically made from linen, these liners are washable and reusable. “Liners make cleaning and removing the dough a little easier, but aren't necessary if you flour your baskets well enough,” Reid says.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you use a proofing basket?
While baking can become pretty technical, using a proofing basket isn’t complicated. “Whether you’re using a bare basket or a linen-lined one, sprinkle some flour in the basket. Be sure to shake out any excess flour before adding your dough,” Hazan says. “Next, dust the surface of your loaf with flour and flip it into the proofing basket, so the ‘top’ of the loaf is on the bottom of the basket.” He explains that one reason to do this is that it allows you to flip the loaf out for baking and have it “right side up.” If you're going for a free-form bake, as opposed to in a pan, Hazan says proofing with the top-side down is advisable.
“Always, always cover the dough when proofing — it keeps the moisture in and dry air out to create a better loaf,” Hazan reiterates. You can cover your proofing basket with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap.
How do you clean a proofing basket?
Hazan says you typically don’t have to clean your basket every time you use it. “If it does start looking crusty or anything, just rinse it out with a little bit of water,” he explains. “Do not use soap: Wipe it out with a cloth but leave it so it’s still a little damp. Finally, dust the basket liberally with flour and let it air dry. That’s it!”
Reid takes a similar approach: “If flour accumulates on the basket, knock off the flour into a bin and use your spray arm from the sink to wash the crevices.” She says you can then dry it on top of your oven. To clean the linen liner, she advises washing or soaking it with water and then hang-drying.
Can you make sourdough without a proofing basket?
“Yes,” Reid says, “but using the right tools for the job makes it much easier and usually with better results.” If you don’t have a proofing basket or don’t want to use one, Hazan says you can use a bowl at least two times the size of your loaf and a clean kitchen towel. “Just be sure to liberally flour the towel and cover the loaf like you would if you were using a proofing basket.”
Cindy Brzostowski is a freelance writer and avid home cook who has previous experience in cookbook publishing. Her writing has been featured in Allrecipes, Blue Apron, The Kitchn, and EatingWell among other publications. To determine the best proofing baskets on the market for this article, she used her own expertise, market research, and interviews with baking experts. She interviewed Jack Hazan, LMHC, CSAT, the chief baking officer at JackBakes and cookbook author, as well as Angela Reid, the head baker at Leland Eating & Drinking House in Brooklyn.
For more Food & Wine news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on Food & Wine.