If you listen to the podcast, then you you know that I am a huge fan of baking. Not just fancy breads, cookies, and treats around holidays--but regular ole bread baking. Sandwiches, toast, croutons, and all that good stuff.
Transforming flour, salt, water, and a bit of yeast (commercial or wild) into bread is an amazing thing. It never ceases to amaze me or please our bellies.
Most equipment needed for baking can be scored used: baking pans and cast iron dutch ovens.
But, over the years I can't recall seeing used proofing baskets even once. I have a theory about items that are difficult to find used. One, the item is so loved or used so often that folks simply don't donate them. Two, the item is so expensive that folks feel guilty donating the item so it is sold or passed onto to friends.
What is a proofing basket? Proofing baskets help loaves keep their shape during the final rise.
Proofing baskets are not essential...a well floured bowl or other types of baskets are fine substitutes. But, I consider what I make at home a product, a product that I would usually go to the store and buy. In the case of bread, we would buy a nice local, artisan bread. Those loaves are beautiful. And part of the beauty is the shape--enter the proofing basket.
When shopping for proofing baskets, you may want to consider:
- Many are made in China.
- Nice proofing baskets are not cheap but they should last a lifetime.
- And then there's a choice of cane or paper. Paper?
Paper proofing baskets are not new. Paper proofing baskets are not a response to current events. Paper proofing baskets have been made since 1920.
Cane. The dilemma with cane is that it is grown in Indonesia. Then it is shipped to Germany. Then the baskets are shipped all over the world. Honestly, I don't feel guilty buying, owning, and using two cane proofing baskets in my lifetime. But, I think that it is important to understand the impact of what we are purchasing.
Paper. Pulp is made from mostly spruce trees grown and harvested in Germany. The pulp is mixed with water to create a slurry, the baskets are molded, and air dried. Paper proofing baskets come in all sorts of sizes and shapes--that cane can't form--which is kinda cool.
Cane or paper--either way, great bread on the homestead.
Where did I buy mine? The kind folks at Breadtopia lovingly packed and shipped them. No kickbacks here, just supporting good folks with great customer service.