Wood Pulp Proofing Baskets from Germany
At the recommendations of a professional baker in New Zealand and a baking instructor in San Diego, we’re now carrying these German made wood pulp proofing baskets.
Note: We’ve now had plenty of time to use these baskets ourselves and are very impressed with how well they perform. The relatively gradual slope and texture of the baskets holds enough flour to allow even fairly wet dough to release easily.
They’re new to most of us here in the U.S., but have been manufactured in Germany for over 90 years by Ernst Birnbaum Company (http://brotformen.de). Proofing baskets (also known as brotforms or bannetons) have been used for many centuries. Birnbaum has been producing them for five generations (since 1847).
The first dough rising baskets were made of straw. Over the years the design of proofing baskets hasn’t changed much. The straw was replaced by cane which is still used today. Historically, many workers sitting at their working benches nailed the cane manually to the wooden bottoms of the baskets. These bottoms were custom made and inscribed with words and symbols according to the wishes of the customers, in mirror writing, which appeared on the breads crust after baking.
Besides producing the proofing baskets of cane, since 1920 they have also been made of wood pulp. After the division of Germany, Birnbaum could no longer import cane and concentrated on the production of baskets made of wood pulp. These wood pulp baskets are still the main product line. Birnbaum sells about 30,000 of them each year.
The wood pulp material predominantly consists of defibered conifer wood (spruce) and so it is 100% pure and natural. Ecologically, this material is better than cane. Spruce is locally available and renewable. While cane is also renewable, it is grown in Indonesian virgin forests and has to be shipped thousands of miles to Germany.
Water is added to the wood pulp during the production process and the resulting slurry is filled into a compression molding die. Then the moisture is pressed from the slurry and forms the proofing basket in the shape of the die. The resulting basket is dried for several weeks in the open air (which is accomplished faster in the summer). Afterwards it is polished and ready for delivery.
- Well tested
- Pure and natural
- Environmentally friendly
- Breathable (for better proofing)
- Accurately sized
- Made of materials approved for food contact