Is a proofing basket necessary?

I’ve made bread before using a couche to shape, then transferring to a baking stone to cook. I’ve just purchased an oblong cloche bread baker, but don’t have a proofing basket. Any thoughts on how it would work to use the couche and then transfer the bread to the cloche? Or do I really need the basket? Would a loaf pan lined with linen work as an alternative? Anxious to try a loaf but no time to buy the basket. Thanks!

What type of bread are you making? A quick final proof yeasted bread or a long final proof sourdough? Low or high hydration?

Either way finding any container that an act as a banneton, lining it with a towel then sprinkling it flour will work. You can also use the couche, however it might be better for low hydration quick final proofing doughs because you don’t wish for it to spread too much and not fit in the cloche (will the couche keep a higher hydration long final proof dough from spreading enough?). Final proof seam side down, then tip it over on its head onto some sort of board then back over onto a piece of parchment paper seam side down again. Transfer it with the parchment paper into the cloche. So you’ll need some kind of flat surface board to transfer the dough. That is the usual method but just had an idea of why not lining the couche with parchment paper? Then you can simply pick up the the dough using the parchement paper and transfer it. Seems simple and wondering why I haven’t seen it before which makes me think if it’s a good idea or not :thinking:

@Abe Using for a final proof yeasted bread. About 70% hydration. I’ve used the couche successfully when making a Pane Francese and baking on a baking steel. I use a flipping board to flip the bread over seam side down on the couche, then flip back onto the board using the couche seam side up, then onto a parchment lined piel seam side down again to slide it onto the steel. Just not sure if it would work well for placing into the cloche. I suppose I could just lower the whole thing with the parchment into the cloche. I don’t think proofing on the parchment would work because it doesn’t breath as well as a linen couche does. Either way, I’m sure I’ll be tempted to buy a basket soon, since they’re pretty cheap :grin:

My wife has made me a number of ceramic bowls that I use for proofing. I use them with floured towels and they work fine.

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