Breadmaking has been around for centuries, proving itself to be one of the oldest forms of making sustenance there is. Homemakers didn’t always have the luxury of having a banneton at their disposal, but the ones with access to one of these bread-shaping baskets have always been ever-so-grateful.
If you’re ready to use your banneton bread proofing baskets but don’t know where to begin, there’s no need to feel intimidated. We’re here to lay out all the details, answer every lingering question and leave you confident enough to get started on your bread proofing journey. After all, bannetons are supposed to make breadmaking easier, not more difficult. Read on to learn just how to use a banneton in your own kitchen.
Rattan Cane Banneton. Read more about what a handcrafted banneton can bring to your kitchen
An Overview On How to Use a Banneton Bread Proofing Basket
Bannetons intend to supplement the proofing process of loaf making. Prior to putting your dough in the oven, a banneton helps to keep the shape of looser doughs or any dough that has trouble maintaining its mold. The idea is to transport the dough directly from the proofing basket into the oven so it doesn’t have time to lose its shape.
After initially conditioning your banneton, using it is simple. Whether it be gluten-free, vegan or another variant of sourdough bread, place your prepared dough in the banneton upside down. For ideal proofing, you’ll want to ensure that the seam of your dough is facing up. As it proofs, cover your dough with a cloth to prevent a skin from forming. Once it rises, flip your loaf onto a baking tray or whatever you use to bake bread (do not place your banneton in the oven). Once you’re done with your banneton, let it dry out to help it avoid forming mold.
How to Use a Cane Banneton the First Time Around
If you’re new to the world of cane bannetons, you’re going to want to condition your basket for optimum use. Fortunately, banneton conditioning is a straightforward process and entails that you take part in something you likely love to do—make bread.
Conditioning takes place over the course of at least three uses. After these three uses, you can expect your banneton to harbor proper moisture and flour levels so your dough doesn’t stick. Either just prior to proofing or up to a day in advance, lightly dust your basket with flour, then tap out the excess. Your banneton will use the flour as a non-stick ingredient as well as a basis for collecting moisture, something every loaf needs when proofing. After a few trials, you’ll be making the perfect loaf everytime.
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How to Flour and Dust a Banneton
Even after the conditioning process is complete, you’ll want to make sure that your banneton is properly dusted before each use. Correctly flouring or dusting your banneton means that you’ll be able to slide your dough out of the basket without it sticking. Ultimately, this allows your bread to keep the shape it has worked so hard to attain.
The most important to remember about flouring your banneton is to find a happy medium. Should you overdo it on the dusting, the flour will fill the spiral cracks and you’ll lose the signature swirl that makes a banneton-proofed loaf so unique. On the other hand, if you fail to flour your basket enough, you’ll be left with a sticky dough that may or may not come out of the banneton in one piece. It may take a couple of tries, but you’ll surely be a pro on flouring your proofing basket in no time.
How to Shape Bread with a Banneton
The banneton swirl is a famous bread marquee, and one that many bread makers vie for. The process of shaping bread with a banneton involves allowing your dough to fully proof within the basket, just as you would do without the banneton’s assistance. This gives your loaf a sturdy shape. Once it’s transferred to the oven, the bread will begin to spring in the beautiful shape that it has been given.
How to Use and Clean a Banneton Liner
Many folks go the route of using banneton liners for ease. To use a liner, all you need to do is place it over your banneton and ensure it’s properly coated with flour. If your liner gets dirty or you spill something on it, just rinse it off atop a colander and let it fully dry before using it next.
How to Care for and Keep a Banneton
You officially know how to use a banneton, and even have the details on the initial conditioning process. But what happens when it’s time to store your banneton?
After removing the dough from your proofing basket and sending it the oven, you’re going to want to dry out your banneton for a day or so. Feel free to bask it in the sun for a few hours if possible to jumpstart the drying process. Brush any remaining dough particles with a dry bristle brush meant solely for banneton caretaking, then store in a ventilated area.
If you wish to clean your banneton, do so carefully and sparingly. Soak it in cold water for a few minutes, scrubbing it gently, and never use soap. Should you discover mold, simply bake it on low heat (115-130 degrees celsius) for a few minutes to kill the bacteria, then take it to an aerated storage space. If you’re really into sourdough and own multiple bannetons, we don’t blame you; just don’t stack them on top of each other when storing.