Breadmaking has always been around for centuries, as long as we could even remember. Whether it is done at the bakery or at home, breadmaking is one of the oldest forms of making food or sustenance. When making bread, proofing is one of the final and essential stages to fully prepare the dough for baking.
It is the process where the dough is left to rest and rise, letting the yeast ferment the dough and leavening it. For best results, expert bread makers use a proofing basket for this process. If it’s your first-time hearing about this baking tool, here’s a detailed view on how to use and care for your proofing basket.
How to Use a Proofing Basket
It comes in different names – proofing baskets, bannetons, wicker baskets, and a lot more. However, they are used for the same purpose – to achieve perfectly proofed dough ready for baking. Proofing baskets are used to hold and support the shape of the dough during the proofing process. After proofing, it is best to transfer the dough immediately to the oven to prevent it from being deformed. You can line it with linen cloth or just use the basket plain to get that banneton swirl many bread makers aim for.
Before using it, be sure to dust it with flour to prevent the dough from sticking into the basket. Aside from that, it also provides support to the dough to help maintain its shape even after it is removed from the basket. Be sure to flour the banneton just right since over-dusting can lose the unique spiral mark of banneton baskets. However, under-dusting can also leave the dough sticking into the basket making it hard to remove during baking. It may not be perfect at your first try but you’ll get to master it through time.
Proper Care for Banneton
Proofing baskets need appropriate care in order to make them last longer. After using a banneton, dry it up under the sun or inside the oven for a few minutes. When the stuck dough gets dried up, brush it to remove the hardened dough pieces.
After cleaning it, be sure to store it in a dry and well-ventilated area to prevent mould formation. In case there are moulds growing on the proofing basket, put in inside an oven for about 40 minutes at 120 to 140 0C to kill the moulds thoroughly.
If you want to wash your banneton, be sure to do it in carefully and perfectly. Soak it in water and brush it gently to remove stubborn and dried up dough pieces. Before storing it, make sure that it is totally dry to avoid mould formation.
Bread makers can definitely swear on the advantages they experience when using a proofing basket on their breadmaking journey. If you don’t have this great baking tool yet, now would be the perfect time to invest on something new and really useful banneton to achieve the perfectly shaped bread you’ve always aimed for.