Panibois and proving bowls…..both beautiful and useful.

variations on a simple loaf

We’ve just bought a whole load of flour from Shipton Mill (since baking all our own bread I’ve found it more convenient to buy our flour by the sack and Shipton Mill is our preferred miller) and we decided to buy some of these lovely little wooden baking moulds.  Several times when I’ve seen pictures of wooden proving baskets on other blogs or on Instagram pages, I’ve noticed comments asking if you bake the bread in the wooden ringed bowls….you don’t.  But you can use these lovely wooden baskets in your oven to bake bread.

If you read my blog you’ll know when I make bread the finished loaf isn’t always too pretty, they tend to be rather rustic, Venus of Willendorf style loaves, the sort of loaf served up in the kitchen of Cold Comfort Farm….over the past year or so I’ve found eating bread (or any carbs really) tends to play havoc with my tummy and general well being so although I bake bread a couple of times a weeks it’s only for my boyfriend, inevitably I’ve become a hoarder of recipes to use up old bread.  I’ve tried making smaller loaves but they never come out so well as the big ones, so we thought these wooden “tins” would be handy for making smaller sized loaves and also would allow me to bake two different tasting breads at once.

You get 5 re-usable moulds (they look rather like strawberry punnets if you’re old enough to remember pick your own farms) and you buy the parchment inserts separately.  It says to use the inserts once but I think you could get away with using them a couple of times to be honest.

I suspect my boyfriend bought these really because they looked so cute but like the wooden proving bowls I’ve bought from Shipton Mill in the past (I have a large oval one and an extra large round one) these are fast becoming part of my bread making routine.  (They also make me feel like I’m doing something all special and fancy when in fact I’m just making bread for toast and sandwiches)

I can’t help thinking of the William Morris quote about only having useful and beautiful things in your home…I’m the first to admit I have a whole load of clutter but I think Mister Morris would heartily approve of these wooden “tins”…especially if he got to taste some of the bread inside.

seeds and spelt loaf

To first try out the “tins” I just made up our regular bread recipe using the sourdough starter, then once the sponge was made and was good and bubbly, I divided it into two and made one loaf using spelt and bread flour with a handful of mixed seeds thrown in for taste and texture.

While I was kneading that loaf I added some extra sugar to the sponge, sprinkled over a few strands of saffron and soaked some raisins in a little tea (the advantage of making tea in a pot is that there’s always a dribble of tea ready to soak fruit for cake or bread).  Along with the raisins I also added in some mixed spice and a dessert spoon of sticky mixed peel.

I allowed both loaves to prove in separate bowls before gently knocking them back and placing them in the lined wooden moulds.  Gave them about 40 more minutes to rise a second time before turning on the oven and then let them bake for about 15 or so minutes less than the big loaves.

Both got the boyfriends seal of approval (both were eaten within a matter of days) and I think he rather liked having a fancy fruity loaf for breakfast toast and then the plainer seed loaf for lunchtime sandwiches.

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