Home » FRENCH “Trencher” DOUGH BOWLS


The Wonderful French Dough Bowl

When it comes to Christmas, the first thing we think of is home and all the smells that associate us to our home and the holidays.  Part of those familiar smells might just be the baking of bread.


Most dough bowls we see today have a rounded out center, but originally the dough “bowl” was shaped more like a trough or trench.  Below you can see a more accurate version of the original dough bowl with its trench like shape.

   compliments of k-co-copenhagenblogspot

Image result for french bakery dough bowls

The term trencher comes from the Old French tranchier, which means to cut.  In the Middle Ages a “trencher” was a hunk of old bread –stale and hard.  It was typically cut into a rough square which food was placed on in lieu of a plate! At the end of the meal the trencher was frequently given as alms to the poor.

Related image

Later on the dough bowl began to have more of a rounded shape with usually a flat bottom directly in the center so the bowl would be stable.

Image result for images of the bottom of dough bowls

The family dough bowl was a critical part of the family food preparation.  It was a highly used and highly treasured kitchen tool.  As well it was common place for a future husband to carve a wooden dough bowl for his bride as a wedding present.   The girls in a family also had a strong desire to have a dough bowl for her hope chest, assuring her future husband that she could adequately bake and cook. A mother’s dough bowl was usually one of the items in an estate that was most sought after and typically left to the oldest daughter.

All of these bread bowls are from our culinary shop Aubergine Antiques.  (251) 928-0902 or www.aubergineantiques.com

Dough bowls are not only used for the process of making dough, but are used for decorative purposes in the home.  Display fruit, flowers, Christmas  trimmings — the list is endless.


When you take your dough bowl home, welcome it with a quick, sanitizing vinegar bath.

  • Mix one part white vinegar with five parts water.
  • Using a soft, clean dishcloth or spray bottle, wet the bowl thoroughly, inside and out.
  • Let the solution work for 3-5 minutes.
  • Rinse the bowl with warm water.
  • Let the bowl air dry.
  • Never sanitize a wooden bowl in the microwave, as this would cause the wood to crack.

Follow the vinegar bath with regular seasoning.

  • We recommend using mineral oil (available at your local grocery store or pharmacy) because it’s inexpensive and won’t turn rancid.
  • Season once a day for the first week, then once a week for three weeks, followed by once a month thereafter—or whenever you notice your bowl looks faded or dull.
  • To season, apply mineral oil liberally with a soft cloth or paper towel. Let it soak in for at least five minutes (an hour or two is better), then wipe off the excess oil.

Cleaning your bowl:

  • Don’t immerse your bowl in water, and never wash it in the dishwasher. Instead, let leftover dough dry thoroughly until it can be scraped out easily with a plastic scrubber.
  • Once the excess dough is removed, put a little warm water and mild soap in the bowl and wash it gently with a clean dish cloth.
  • Immediately rinse with warm water, then air dry or pat dry with a soft dish towel.
  • Season after every use, to keep your bowl moisturized and looking its best.

Wonderful bread starts with all the finest flour, yeast and salt and a very important tool:  the bread bowl

The final product of the bread bowl…..wonderful bread.

Related image

le pain bread image by nouvelles/photo by katya on flickr.com & photo of bread bowl with pine cones & bread bowl with flowers is from  enchantedhome.com

  Au Revoir! A La Prochaine!!