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After the fiasco with the Little Sourdough Buns of Damned Lies, I realized I had to take better care of my dough in its infancy so it could grow up into credible rolls, buns, loaves, baguette, boule, and other proper and respected breads.

I decided to make a DIY proofing box.  To the Google!  Sigh a sigh of disappointment at the results.  All the top images and links were for wood crafted, light bulb heated, foil insulated boxes, or microwaves with hot water, or ovens with the pilot or light left on.  I’m a lazy baker.  I don’t apply heat or effort to my bread making.  I let the water, flour and salt do the work and I just stretch them a little.DIY Proofing BoxThe results were conclusive.  I realized that the previous several years of glorious bread baking were the results of sheer luck and that I should have done this a long time ago.  The lean dough cooked into the beautiful reddish-brown, thin and crispy crusted loaves I’d always desired, but didn’t always meet with my ludicrously stupid previous techniques of just a little plastic wrap and cloth.

So, without further ado, here’s the simplest DIY proofing box you can put together for less than $10 dollars (depending on the amount of fabric you buy).

  1. One 15qt Sterilite (or brand of your choice) clear plastic latch box storage container (get one that is long and shallow so that you can get the fragile loaves in and out with ease)
  2. Several yards (or just a yard) of unbleached cotton muslin fabric
  3. Scissors
  4. Flour

Unlatch the box and open it.  Place the fabric over the box and cut it to fit with several inches of overlap. Flour the fabric and really work it into the weave.  Make some dough. Let it rise. Shape it. Put the shaped loaves into the proofing box on a layer of the floured fabric, nestling them in and using some of the fabric as little barriers between the loaves.  lightly drape with the rest of the fabric and latch that box down tight.