No good loaf of bread is truly complete without rising up to become fluffy, moreish, and fresh.
The final stage of the bread-baking process, in which the bread is placed into the oven to bake, is the time in which it begins to rise, and takes on that iconic shape that you recognize bread for!
This part of the process helps to prevent the dough from deforming, after being taken out of the mixing bowl and prevent sticking that can ruin the process of baking.
The final rising of the bread in the baking process is what is termed “Proofing”. Proofing is a very important step, and as such, you may want to provide the bread with some extra support as it is proofing.
Most bakers make use of a proofing basket. A proofing basket helps to provide support to the bread as it rises, while also imprinting the shape of the proofing basket onto it.
However, not everyone has access to a standard proofing basket, so you may need some proofing tips, or may even need to know how to find a proofing basket substitute or even create your own basket alternatives.
You’re probably here because you don’t have access to a proofing basket, and you need quick and simple basket alternatives that you can quickly access to create the perfect loaf of bread.
Luckily, you have come to the right place, because today we are going to dive right in to find some perfect basket alternatives that you can turn to right now to proof bread and create amazing dough!
Luckily, you likely have one of these already in some form in your kitchen! That’s right. If you don’t have access to a proofing basket, you can easily make use of just about any bowl you have lying around.
In fact, you can use a bowl that is made of absolutely anything, whether it is ceramic, plastic, wood, or metal. You could even use a plastic container for bread proofing, provided that it was the right size and shape for proofing bread dough!
Regardless of which bowl you choose, you will want to grab a cloth dish towel and line the side of the bowl carefully before then placing your fresh dough right into it.
Once you have put the dough into the lined bowl, all you then need to do is cover the bowl lightly with some film, and then place the bowl right into the fridge.
You can also place the bowl into larger plastic containers to prevent the dough from sticking, as it will reduce contact with the open air.
This will allow the dough to proof properly, and the texture of the tea towel will add a unique shape to the dough that will make it look glorious when fully baked.
This helps to make a bowl a perfect proofing basket alternative that will help with baking bread and prevent the dough from losing its shape and beauty.
You might also benefit by adding a light coating of flour to the towel to create a floured cloth, which makes it one of the best proofing basket alternatives. This helps to ensure the dough does not stick and results in more airy bread.
A Wicker Basket
If you really don’t want to miss out on the rustic appeal of a proofing basket, and you want a loaf of bread that has an amazing pattern to it.
Then you can easily make use of a wicker basket, whether you line an old wicker basket with a heavy linen cloth, or simply leave it as is, it can make for a perfect proofing basket alternative.
Wicker baskets are very affordable and easy to purchase even at your local grocery store, just make sure that you buy one that isn’t coated with chemicals and preservatives and that is all-natural, as the chemicals can easily spoil the taste of your bread.
If you do buy one that is coated, make sure to line it with parchment paper, a floured towel, or other heavy fabric, to prevent sticking and so that the dough rests without soaking up the flavors of any chemicals or additives.
One of the best things about a wicker basket is that you can leave your dough to proof in one without needing to line it with a towel or anything first.
This also means that the bread will take on the pattern of the basket as it bakes later on, which helps to make it look totally unique and rustic.
If you are totally lost for options, such as perhaps you are short of bowls to spare for proofing, then you could also make use of a wok if you happened to have one in your kitchen.
Woks are naturally very wide like a mixing bowl but have smaller rounded bases, which make them perfect for getting the desired shape as the dough dries.
This actually makes them surprisingly perfect in shape for supporting your dough as it proofs. Some woks also have slight ridges along their internal designs which help to keep them non-stick.
This means that the final bread product will take on much of this pattern, which will look amazing once it is fully baked after you proof your bread.
A Heavy-Duty Tea Towel
That’s right. Even if you don’t have access to a bowl, or anything slightly round, you can even just make do with a humble cloth kitchen towel!
Make sure that the material in the towel is quite thick to help give it some structure.
Stronger towels can make for great proofing basket alternatives, as you do not need to add too much flour, and the use of a heavy proofing cloth helps you to create a perfectly strong structure for your dough, and to keep dough sticking to any surfaces while it proofs.
However, in order for a towel to work, you will need to first shape it just right to accommodate your dough. Let’s find out how to do this.
First, you will want to take your towel, lay it flat, and then, using your hands, grab both ends, and shape the towel rather like an accordion. This should result in two distinct ends to the towel.
For this step, you will need some elastic bands or string to tie the ends together nice and tightly.
Now that you have your distinct and secure ends created, all you then need to do is create a ‘nest’ shape to accommodate the dough that you will place into it.
The two ends of the new temporary proofing basket that you have created should hold strong thanks to the elastic and the density of the towel material.
Once you have created the temporary basket, simply place it into the fridge, with some kind of covering, which will allow the dough to take on the shape of the towel, and also allow the towel to maintain its shape.
To Wrap Up
Those are just a few awesome options to replace a proofing basket, should you find yourself in need of a suitable alternative.
Luckily, if you have something that is round and structurally sound in your kitchen, you can likely use it for proofing your bread dough, even if you need to line it with a tea towel, so there are always plenty of backup options, if you need perfect shaped dough for making beautiful round loaves.
All you need to do after proofing your dough is add it to a hot oven, and this will help to give it a good rise during the final rise and helps you to create perfect bread with plenty of air pockets.
The bread will have a perfect and crunchy outer layer, and the dough inside will cook to perfection, creating bread that could easily take the baking world by storm, even without a proper baking pan or proofing basket. All you need is one of these proofing basket substitute options!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Proofing Baskets Necessary?
Not necessarily. While proofing baskets definitely help you to create bread loaves that look totally amazing, they are not 100% necessary, and you can still create amazing-looking bread that also tastes great.
You could even simply use a metal or plastic colander that is lined with a towel, or wooden and bamboo bowls.
Can I Proof Dough In A Metal Bowl?
Definitely. You can use just about any type of bowl to proof dough, provided there are no chemicals used in constructing the bowl, otherwise you simply need to line it before use!
Can You Proof Bread In A Wooden Bowl?
Definitely! Just make sure that the wooden bowl is free of chemicals on the surface that may spoil the taste of the finished bread.