The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Making your own cane proofing baskets

  • Pin It
Wingnut's picture
Wingnut

Making your own cane proofing baskets

I am a fairly handy person and was wondering if anyone has made their own cane proofing baskets. I found the round reeds online and I can make my own wooden bases. I am assuming I would need to make a steam box and us a pneumatic stapler. But I am clueless on the staple size.

Any thoughts?

Cheers,

Wingnut

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

any staples to make a wicker basket, which could be similar to a banetton. You don't really need to buy any material. Go out on a nature trek and cut yourself some willows, ideally you'll want to do it during spring/early summer, because the bark will still be soft and pliable so they'll peel more easily. With prepared willows, weave a round basket.

Maybe it won't look exactly like what is meant by "banetton", but arguably these baskets are even more pretty. I've tried my hand at it once or twice, but didn't get into it that much, though I was rather young at the time. I know we still have some baskets weaved that way that are decades old -- I use one just like in autumn when I go mushroom picking.

If you're interested, there's some charts and a lot of helpful instructions in the following link (you will need to use google translate from Lithuanian, though):

https://sites.google.com/site/probobute/pynimas-is-vyteliu

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

spending 50 cents a basket so I probably won't do it but making your own basket is very cool.

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

beat me to it.  I think weaving is the way to go.  I dont like the idea of making your own actual cane bannetons with staples as if you're loose on a staple at any stage and it finds its way into the dough, then that's clearly a big danger.   As DA says I think making your own woven baskets would be very cool and I'm very tempted to try this, just for fun and satisfaction.

Traditional basket weaving with willow doesn't look like it will produce the right results but a little googling showed me that "coil" weaving is the better way.   Take a look at this Youtube link.  About 1.30 mins in there are shots of different bowls and baskets made and many look right on the money for bannetons.  These are sweetgrass creations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zk4d6j1tlY

Question is, do the raw materials cost more than basic bannetons which can be picked up for about £10 ?

Wingnut's picture
Wingnut

I think it is highly improbable that a conter sunk staple would work it's way out and end up in the bread. 

I have watched that video, thanks.

It's not about saving money, it is about the experience and pride of doing something yourself. To much of the things in our lives are just bought and discarded without much thought. If I never had to buy another piece of plastic packaging again in my life it would be too soon. I don't like being part of a disposable society.

That is just me.

Cheers,

Wingnut

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

bowl made by an Arizona Indian tribe.  The material is slightly different but  It works great and puts a nice mark on the bread too.

 

Wingnut's picture
Wingnut

Nice, thanks for sharing DAB.

Cheers,

Wingnut

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Goodwill find,  Didn't find a basket today though ...but did get 2 Heckle's knives for $2 - a nice serrated bread knife I have needed since my French one dropped its wood handles and a 8" chef knife.  Never know what you will find at Goodwill on dollar Thursdays.

mcs's picture
mcs

...so I'm going to point you to someone who has.  This person used stainless steel nails (no length mentioned), but I would guess that narrow crown staples would also work well and perhaps provide more 'grip'.  Like I said, I've never made one, but I would think if your nail/staple length was just over twice the thickness of the cane, then it would shoot through two layers of cane, and just into the layer below it.  For example, if the cane is 1/2" thick then a staple that is 1.25" long should work well.

-Mark

Wingnut's picture
Wingnut

Thanks Mark for the link, interesting stuff.

Cheers,

Wingnut

laurielrh's picture
laurielrh

I have made two round baskets with #8 reed and half inch staples.  The staples are the way to go.  They will never separate and end up in your bread.  I tried nails and found that they were harder to seat.  This is not an easy process but it is doable.  The secret is to angle your stapler to hit at least two layers of reed.  Otherwise you will have protruding staple ends.  I do not find this acceptable(although I have seen professional bannetons that have the same problem).  Good luck!

Wingnut's picture
Wingnut

Thanks Lauriel, good info. I am up to the challange. I was thinking of using number 9 size. I would love to see a finished picture if you can find time.

Cheers,

Wingnut

kygin's picture
kygin

Among other things, I'm a basketmaker and have been for 20 years or so.  Just want to mention something about the reed.  The vast majority of it comes from China, and it is chemically treated there to kill any bugs so that it will pass customs.  The chemicals that are used is anyone's guess.  If you do use the reed, it would probably be advisable to soak through four or five changes of water.  Hopefully that would leach out anything that might be of any hazard.

Wingnut's picture
Wingnut

Is there a US source you could point me to?

Cheers,

Wingnut

kygin's picture
kygin

Wingnut....

This was posted to one of the online basket forums sometime back:

Due to concern about insecticides and basket reed, we asked Allen Keeney of Allen's Basketworks to address the subject. Allen has traveled to the Far East and seen first hand how reed is harvested and cut and he imports the reed he sells in his shop. Here is what Allen said:

"The story of reed and pesticides is not a simple answer. Traditionally the rattan poles from which the reed is cut were gathered in the remote jungles far from any pesticides or other industrial chemicals. They were then boiled in a mixture of diesel and coconut oil to remove the resins. After this treatment they were subject to being treated with burning sulfur to both kill any later insect i nfestation and to sometimes bleach the poles. The next time they would receive any chemical treatment would be the mandatory fumigation of the container before shipment to the USA. Methyl bromide is the usual fumigant.

The complications from this simple picture are many. The reed we import now is cut in China a country that is dependent on other countries for the raw rattan. Some of the rattan poles come from Viet Nahm a country whose forests received massive doses of defoliants during the Viet Nahm War. I do not have direct knowledge of any contamination of the rattan but have my suspicions. Also the cut reed from China may be treated with a bleach to give it a uniform color and softness. The bleaching also removes some of the silica which if left in would cause brittlness. I do not know what is used for the bleach. When I was in the factories in China they would not tell me the chemicals used and all the barrels were labeled in Chinese. Someone later told me calcium dioxide but I was not sure they had understood the question. Some times when I open a bale of reed I will smell the odor of acetic acid, where this gets introduced I do not know.

All of the manufacturers verbally assure us there are no harmful chemical residuals left in the cut reed. I know of no suspicions of harmful effects but I would still err on the side of caution as there could be a problem of which we are unaware. At this point I believe the reed is no more dangerous than many of the items we consume all the time. I changed my career as a chemist twenty years ago because I suspected many of my associates were dying of the effects of what we were told then were harmless chemicals. I hope I am answering more questions than I am raising here. - Allen"

 

Wingnut's picture
Wingnut

Good info kygin, thank you.

So I am to understand there is no U.S. supplier of cane?

Cheers,'

Wingnut

kygin's picture
kygin

No, sorry, all cane is imported.  Because of climate conditions, it can't be grown in the US with the possible exception of Hawaii.  

FWIW, the cane that is used to make commercial bannetons likely comes from China, and the bannetons themselves were likely made there, as well.  I'm just offering what I know about chemicals and reed.  Breadmakers have used these bannetons for years, and I don't know of a single one that has keeled over dead from their use, but....  For myself, I'll err on the side of caution.  I quit using reed in any capacity years ago, and now only work with the materials I can gather myself.