What is a Banneton for?
A banneton is used to help provide your dough structure while it is rising (or proofing). As your dough proofs, the gluten relaxes. This causes your dough to flatten and spread out. The banneton provides your dough the support it needs as it relaxes and rises so it maintains boule (round) or batard (oval) shape.
Tips for using your banneton for better bakes:
Season your banneton:
In order to be used successfully, you will need to season your banneton properly. Liberally flour the liner of your banneton. Don't hold back. Work flour into the linen liner with your hands. The more flour you can work into this liner, the better. Shake out the excess. Wheat flour will work but we recommend using it in combination with rice flour. Seasoning the liner will help prevent your dough from sticking to it. This is a very important step.
Putting dough into the banneton:
Put the pretty side (the side without a seam) of your dough down in the banneton for your final proof. You want the pretty side down so it will be right side up when you turn it out to bake.
Put the banneton into a plastic bag:
Once your dough is in the banneton, put it into a plastic bag. This helps prevent your dough from drying out and developing an undesirable crust. Make sure there is air in the bag so your dough doesn't touch the bag when it rises. If you don’t have a large enough plastic bag, you can cover it with a wet tea towel or a piece of plastic wrap. If you use one of these, lay them gently over the top of your banneton.
Caring for your banneton:
I know you might want to wash the liner after using it… resist the temptation! You should avoid washing the banneton liner. If you wash it, you will lose that wonderful seasoning you are working hard to develop. If there is dried dough stuck to the liner, scrape it out with your finger. After a few months if you feel it needs to be washed, you can wash it by hand using warm water - no soap and no washing machine.
I think we have covered our banneton bases. Oh, and for goodness’ sake, please do not put the banneton in your oven… your local fire department will not be impressed.
Pick up a banneton of your own today. You (and your dough) will be happy you did. We have round ones for boules, oval ones for batards.
All for now,