For any baker, whether they are an enthusiastic amateur, or a seasoned professional, a durable and reliable bread proofing basket is a vital tool for ensuring your loaf turns out perfectly.
Bread proofing baskets are important for two main reasons. Firstly, they add to the visual appearance of the loaf, as these may come with certain traditional patterns, and generally shape your dough in a precise and consistent manner for a professional look. The other consideration to keep in mind is that proofing your dough in a proofing basket may also impart a better texture to your crust. If you line it properly with just enough flour, the crust will turn out crispier and with a better overall colour.
Before using a proofing basket, there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, refer to the description of the basket in question to figure out how much dough it can hold. It is important that you shape the dough ball properly before placing it into the proofing bowl. The surface of the top of your loaf should be tight, and this is done by pulling your dough into a ball and tucking the excess underneath.
This seal underneath should be tight when you are using a proofing basket, as it may come apart while proving. That is because the bottom of your loaf is on top during the proofing process, so it expands and may come apart if it’s not tight enough, or if you used too much flour on your workbench while shaping the dough. Just a heads up!
Proofing baskets come in many shapes and sizes, and figuring out which one is best for your bread baking needs can sometimes be difficult. We’ve selected five excellent quality proofing baskets for you to get started with.
Bread Proofing Basket Review Center 2018
|Image||Bread Proofing Basket||Price||Rating|
|#1 - Bread Bosses 9 inch Banneton Proofing Basket Set||Check Price||99%|
|#2 - Bread Bosses 10 inch Oval Banneton Proofing Basket Set||Check Price||99%|
|#3 - Brotss 10 Items Banneton Set, Sourdough Proofing Basket Bundle||Check Price||97%|
|#4 - Forsun 8.5" Round Banneton Proofing Basket||Check Price||94%|
|#5 - Adore Amore - 10 inch Round Banneton Bread Proofing Basket||Check Price||91%|
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Now that you’ve seen our top 5 picks, we’re going to go into more detail on why we chose each of them. Once you find the one that’s best for you, click the yellow button to get the best price on Amazon.com.
#1 – Bread Bosses 9 inch Banneton Proofing Basket Set
This set contains three items, a proofing bowl, a bench scraper, and a cloth liner. Let us start off with the Banneton itself. This is a round basket made of a durable and reliable rattan cane material. It is 9 inches in diameter, and can hold roughly 1.5 pounds of dough. That is more than enough for a fabulous home-made loaf. The ridged edges of the basket give your bread that classic rustic look.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re using a sourdough recipe with your special starter, or a whole wheat loaf for that extra flavour, or just a good old standard white flour dough, this Banneton will give you consistently great results. The only thing to pay attention to is the hydration. If the dough is too wet, it may cling to the sides, no matter how much you flour it, and it may also lose its shape once you turn it out onto your baking sheet. You should stick to the standard 58-65% hydration (in baker’s percentages) to get the best results out of your proofing basket.
Another feature of this round Banneton is it’s sturdy construction and quality material. There is nothing worse than finally coming over to turn the dough onto a baking sheet, only to find out that the cloth was ripped through, and there are wood splinters in your dough from the proofing basket. This leads to all sorts of problems with your dough. Firstly, nobody likes eating wood particles! But more importantly, if your dough is pierced on its second rise, it will deflate, and all that effort will have gone to waste. It will turn into a dense dough in the oven, and the crumb structure will be far too tight.
The manufacturer guarantees that the cloth included in this set is sturdy and capable of absorbing the extra moisture from the top of your dough, in order to give it a nice crust when baked. They also guarantee no splinters from the basket itself, so you can rest easy knowing that your dough will rise safely in this essential Banneton.
Let us briefly go over the remaining part of this three-piece set, the bench scraper. A bench scraper really is an essential part of any kitchen, though it may seem unimportant. A bench scraper has many different uses. Firstly, as the name implies, it allows you to scrape the dough and flour off your workbench very quickly and efficiently. You can then re-incorporate it into your primary dough ball, or just remove it entirely. It also features a slightly sharp, curved edge that is meant for cutting a large dough ball into several smaller ones. No need for a kitchen knife when you already have the tool in your hand.
The third use for a bench scraper is actually transporting dough balls from the workbench to the proofing basket or bulk fermentation container. Finally, a bench scraper can help you remove your proofed dough from your proofing bin (if you are on your first proof), or even your banneton, provided you use it carefully.
All things considered, this is a fantastic basic set of bread-making tools perfect for any home baker. All the pieces are made of solid materials that are sure to be with you for many, many bakes.
#2 – Bread Bosses 10 inch Oval Banneton Proofing Basket Set
This basket is similar to the first basket on our list, except for a slight difference – its shape. This is an oval-shaped Banneton, which means the construction of the individual wicker strands is a bit different from the round Banneton described earlier. The sides are curved in much the same way as the sides of the curved Banneton, but the top is flat, and constructed out of straight perpendicular wicker strands.
That is what gives bread loaves made with this Banneton a distinct shape, but also a distinct pattern on the flour that is left on top of the dough when it is turned out onto a baking sheet. Then there is only the issue of scoring to consider, since the pattern of the dough will require no further stencil work, if it is a classic loaf you want!
Nevertheless, it is important that you score your loaf, once it has completed its second proof, and you’ve turned it out onto a baking sheet. By scoring the loaf, you are making a tear in the membrane that was formed on the top of your dough ball when you shaped the dough going into the second proof. This gash then allows you to control the exact way in which the loaf rises and expands inside the oven, giving you more of a say as to the final shape you want. Decorative scoring is also used frequently, but it is important for the structure of the finished loaf that you have at least one big, main score, and that your decorative scores are far smaller.
It is important, both for the scoring process, and for the thickness and crispiness of the crust, that the surface of the load is tight and dry. Using a cloth liner not only helps prevent your loaf from sticking to the banneton, it also absorbs the excess moisture from the top of the loaf and provides a better crust. It is also important to spritz your loaf with water liberally before putting it in the oven, and even better to put a pan of water on the bottom rack of your oven while you are preheating it. The steam produced by using either method helps develop a much better crust.
It is important to point out that, since this is an oval-shaped Banneton, the way the loaf rises during its second proof will be different. The loaf will naturally want to rise in all directions equally, giving it a round shape. However, with an oval-shaped Banneton, it may take the loaf more time to reach the far sides of the basket. That is why you have to help it along if you want a perfectly shaped loaf.
Try rolling the dough up into an oval shape before putting it into the Banneton. By rolling it, you are creating the tight surface on the top of the loaf, which is necessary for an even crust and even bake, while forming it into a shape that will rise well in the Banneton for its second proof.
This is where a bench scraper, such as the one included in this package, may also come in handy. Instead of rolling your dough up with your hands, a bench scraper will help you manipulate the dough more precisely for the rolling bit. The top of your dough, once you’ve pressed out all the gas out of it from its first proof, should have as little flour on it as possible, to make sure that the dough sticks to itself once it is rolled. If there is too much flour, you risk having distinct layers when you cut into your baked loaf. Additionally, these layers may inhibit the second rise, this giving you a faulty structure.
If you stick to this advice when using this classic Banneton, you will have no trouble at all, and your loaves will turn out stunning every time!
#3 – Brotss 10 Item Banneton Set
This ten item set caters to those bakers who want to make their finished loaves look very special and professional. Along with a standard round Banneton, and the obligatory cloth liner, you also get six magnificent stencils to use on the top of your loaves.
Let us first briefly touch on the Banneton itself. It may look as though all proofing baskets are the same, and there is not much nuance involved in picking out the perfect one for yourself, but you will be surprised to hear that that’s not the case at all. All the bread proofing baskets that are a part of this set are meticulously hand-made so that each is different. That means you would do well to shop around a bit, to see exactly what you want your bread to look like before settling on one.
What also differentiates this set form other similar products is the selection of stencils included with the pack. These are used for making your finished loaf extra pretty and professional. Here is how they are used.
Once your second proof is complete, and you turn out your loaf onto a baking sheet, there is an opportunity to score the oaf and dust it with flour. Since you would likely dust the top of your loaf with flour anyway, why not make a pretty pattern? However, you should first very lightly flour the entire surface of the loaf before putting the stencil onto the dough itself.
You can’t really do it by holding the stencil above the dough, as the shape will be all wrong. Gently put the stencil on the dough, and put a little flour into a small sieve, and shake it over the stencil so as to distribute the flour equally. Once this is done, remove the stencil carefully, making sure that no excess flour hits the loaf, and do it all over again on another spot.
You can get some really fantastic looking loaves out of this set, and that is why we recommend it wholeheartedly.
#4 – Forsun 8.5″ Round Banneton
If you have been reading this list and feel overwhelmed by all the various considerations that you have to keep in mind to turn out a great loaf of bread, perhaps this Banneton is the right fit for you. It is a very simple product consisting of a Banneton bread basket and a cloth liner, like the others. That’s it.
It goes without saying, however, that this is a very high quality Banneton that will last you many bakes and many loaves. It is also available in a wide variety of sizes, and the manufacturer even produces an oval Banneton, if an oval loaf is what you’re looking for.
We should point out that the cloth liner that comes with all of these Bannetons is really an optional ingredient to your bake. Many bakers use the cloth liner because, as we have mentioned previously, it dries off the surface of the loaf, providing for a better crust.
However, there is a downside to using a cloth liner. Bannetons are well known and prized for the circular markings they leave in flour on your loaf. These circular markings are considered the hallmark of a good home-made bread. However, using a clot liner can reduce the number of these circular flour marks on your loaf, or eliminate them entirely, depending on the thickness of the cloth.
That means that you have to test your Banneton and cloth liner set to see how they behave with the specific dough recipe you are using. It also comes down to your personal preference, whether you like the flour rings or not. Whatever you choose to do with your loaf, this Banneton has you covered.
#5 – Adore Amore 10” Round Banneton
We now come to our final offering on this list of beautiful baking baskets. Much like the previous Banneton on our list, this is a pretty simple product, again consisting of a proofing basket and a cloth liner. This one comes in fewer sizes than the previous one. Nevertheless, its 10” size is considered by many to be the perfect size for a loaf of bread, especially one that is homemade.
Like all the baskets on our list, this Banneton will provide you with an excellent rise and shape to your loaf. It is made of an eco-friendly material, with no plastic or artificial materials. The manufacturer suggests also using the Banneton as a serving basket, which is a good idea, especially considering the size of the basket itself.
Keep in mind that, though these baskets are likely to last you a lifetime, they still need some maintenance. Firstly, before you use a Banneton, make sure you wipe the inside as well as the outside of the basket, to get rid of any dust, or any splinters that may have developed over time. As touched upon earlier, nobody likes wood chips in their bread.
Once you’ve finished using your Banneton, make sure you get rid of all the flour inside by wiping well with a cloth. Do not wash these proofing baskets with water, as this may degrade the material over time. We suggest storing your Bannetons upside down, so that the inside doesn’t gather much dust.
Whichever Banneton or bread basket set you choose, you are sure to be able to turn out a fantastic loaf.
We have purposefully interspersed this review with general baking advice in order to guarantee that you will get the most out of these products. If you follow this advice, you will end up with a near professional bake every time!
Photo source: https://breadtopia.com
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