A good bread bowl is the key ingredient to excellent bread-making.

The ideal bread bowl is ceramic or earthenware, with thick sides and good balance. The sides must be thick to retain heat and keep the yeast bugs happy and growing during the rises. The bowl should be about 14" in diameter, and about 9-10" deep, so that the ingredients don't slosh up the sides and onto the counter.

A good bread bowl is can become a cherished family heirloom. My mother has a bread bowl of excellent proportions that she has used for years. I think that the bowl retains some kind of magic from so many years of use. No bread tastes better.