French antique baking chest with lid and drawer

The Petrin, or French bread dough trough, was a typical sight in the kitchens of France. In the days before it was easy to pop down to the local Boulangerie bread in France was made at home, this time consuming job was typically done two to three times a week. 

French bread on a bread board

Dough for bread and pastry was kept in the box for storage until ready for use. Once ready, the dough would be taken out, kneaded on top and then placed back inside the trough to rise more. Several batches of dough could be kept inside the petrin at once. The lid helped keep in the warmth, and keep out anything unwanted, including mice! Leaving the dough to rise overnight was not unusual, slow rising generally improves flavour and texture.  It could take several rounds of kneading and leaving the dough to rise before the bread was ready to bake.

The Petrin typically has angled sides and sits upon legs.

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