How to use a Banneton and where to get them

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close up of two styles of Bannetons

When I started the cooking school you couldn’t get a cane banneton from anywhere but patisserie suppliers.  They were pretty costly, so I decided to import some directly from Germany.  They were still pretty expensive, but now you can get them from good homewares stores like here  They’re excellent quality, and the cost is halved due to manufacturing and shipping costs.

Sour dough boule showing the marks left from proving in a banneton

When do you use a Banneton?

You can use them for just about any bread dough.  Just make sure your dough only comes up to around the 1/2 way mark, so it has room to proof, and you’re on your way.  They come in long and round shapes, in cane and food-safe polypropylene, although I favour the cane.  Cane is nicer to use, and the design it imprints on your loaf makes for a very professional product, don’t you think?   You know me, I have both cane shapes.  I do make a lot of our bread though, so that’s my excuse.

Homemade sourdough is so much better for you than the supermarket variety, it tastes great and makes the house smell amazing.  I’m a bit of a lazy chef, so where ever I can shorten methods without compromising taste and quality, I’ll do so.  I’ve developed a sourdough method that couldn’t be easier.  I run classes spasmodically throughout the year. Check out my “Classes” page if you want to see if there’s one up.

I use Bannetons in my sourdough bread making class.  The results you can achieve with such little work is very appealing just about everyone wants one after the class.  Because they do such a brilliant job at making your loaf look amazing with no real effort, I thought I’d show you how to use them.

Farmhouse loaf that was proved in a banneton

 

Step 1

The first thing you need to do is prepare a mix to pop in the mould.   It is used to stop your dough from sticking.  Don’t Skip this step it is essential or you’ll be cleaning your Banneton for ages.

To prepare your banneton (or some people call them a Brotform).  I like to make up a mix of 50/50 Plain Flour/Fine Semolina.  You don’t have to weigh this; just rough measurements are fine.  Pop into a jar, then give it a good shake to mix.   I use around 1/2 a cup of each and keep topping it up as I need to because you’ll need to use it every time you use the mould.  You’ll use this as a barrier to stop your dough from sticking to the mould.  Some chefs only use flour, but I like to add the semolina for two reasons,

  1. It’s added protection to stop the dough from sticking
  2. The semolina will help make a better crust on your loaf.

Step 2

Tip around a couple of tablespoons into the banneton.  Then with your hand massage it in, working it into all the creases.  You can use a dry pastry brush to help get it right in if you like.  Make sure you have a good coating of flour/semolina all over the cane.  Now it’s ready for you to add your dough for the final proving stage.   Cover it with a clean tea towel or freezer paper, and leave to prove.  When it’s ready to bake, just gently tip the loaf out onto a prepared baking tray (or semolina-dusted baking stone if you have one) and bake.  You’ll end up with a beautiful looking loaf like our pictures.

Step 3

The clean up is simple.  Just give it a tap or brush it out with a dry brush if necessary. I have a nail brush set aside for just this job.  Then leave it somewhere warm to dry out before storing it away.  Don’t store it away till it’s completely dry or it will go mouldy.  You can do what I do and once you turn off the oven and it’s dropped in temp a bit you can pop it in there so it will dry as the oven cools.  Just prop the door open with a wooden spoon handle to let the steam escape. It only needs to be open a little.

 

Where do you get them?

Here’s a place that has the exact same ones I do. 

Here’s some product Information from this supplier

Prove your bread dough before baking in this very special, natural rattan proving basket. As the dough rises, it will take on the pattern of the canes, and the result will be a beautiful, spiral imprinted oval loaf. Enjoy the smell of fresh bread baking and serve your crusty artisan bread, with pride.

Key Features:
  • Creates a striking pattern on the bread
  • Made from natural rattan
  • Measures 27cm x 13cm x 6cm (Round)
  • Use for second proving of bread dough

Specifications

Construction:Rattan
Dimensions:27 cm x 13 cm x 6 cm  Round
Features:Spiral pattern
Shape:Oval,
Cleaning/care:Brush clean
Origin:China

You can look at other shapes here too. 

While you wait for your banneton, you could make this pull-a-part

Image of bannetons and bread

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