Our proving baskets
are made in Germany from compressed wood-pulp. They are designed to hold bread dough while it is proving, i.e. during its final rise before being baked. They aren’t meant to be put in a baking oven.
There are two main advantages of using a proving basket:
We don’t currently sell proving baskets made from cane. Our German supplier says that the Thai government has imposed export restrictions on rattan cane in order to limit over-exploitation of this rainforest resource, and we haven’t found an alternative ethical supply. In the long run, we’d like to develop cane baskets made from our home-grown willow.
The advantage of wood-pulp over cane baskets (apart from their lower price) is that they have good ‘insulation’ properties and so reduce condensation on the surface of the dough. This means that your loaf is less likely to stick to the basket.
We have a range of different sizes and shapes. The sizes – 500 g, 1 kg etc – refer to the weight of dough that the basket will accommodate, allowing for expansion during proof. Naturally, a basket of a given size will hold a greater weight of denser dough – the kind with more wholegrain flour or additions of seeds, grains, nuts, fruit etc – than of a plain light dough that may almost triple in volume during proof. A little practice is required to establish the optimum weight per basket of the recipes you are making.
With basic care, these baskets should last for a long time. We send an explanatory leaflet out with each order and full instructions are also available here.
Couche(s) (pronounced koosh)
cloths are an even simpler way to prove a free-standing loaf. The cloth is rucked up into 'gutters' which hold the rising dough. The dough pushes against its neighbouring gutters and so tends to go upward rather than outward as it proves. When fully risen, the dough pieces (which can be either long like a baguette or bâtard, or oval) are gently flipped onto a floury 'slip' (a piece of stiff card or thin plywood will do) and slid onto the peel or baking tray for placing in the oven.
Our baking tins
are made in Yorkshire from professional quality aluminised steel, coated all over with a rust-proof primer and glazed on the inside surfaces with a black non-stick material to help the loaf come out cleanly every time. Their straight sides and relatively narrow width make them ideal for baking doughs made from 'weaker' flours (including rye) whose superior flavour and interesting provenance often makes them the first choice for Real Bread bakers.
are a popular addition to our range. They are ideal for making the sourdough crumpet recipe in DO SOURDOUGH. And they've got other uses, too.