The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Benefit of a banneton?

jackie9999's picture

Benefit of a banneton?

Let me start by saying I don't have a banneton. I do have some baskets that I could line with linen for a substitute.  But what is the difference between forming the dough into a ball and letting it rise, score and bake?

Is the only difference the lines/design from the willow? The few loaves I've made have turned out fine (in my eyes) and taste great. The Five-grain seeded, Eric's fav rye and David's unoriginal sourdough all turned out so well I've made them a few times.

What would the difference be had I used a banneton?

mcs's picture

With high hydration doughs and/or with very long final proofs, bannetons help keep your loaves from 'blobbing out' too much.  Plus, they also make the quick transfer to a peel/baking stone easier if you're baking on one since the bottom side is up and not sitting on your parchment/pan for an hour waiting to go in the oven.
With lower hydration doughs or with shorter proofing times, you may not need a banneton because the dough can hold its shape for this shorter period of time, long enough to rebound in the oven.

LindyD's picture

Well, you'd have that pretty pattern on the top of the loaf, formed by the pattern of the banneton.  And flour on top of the bread, if you floured the banneton (and like flour on the outside of the crust).

Using one would have no effect on the taste of the bread or quality of the crumb of the breads you're currently baking.  I have a banneton but use it only when I've made a high hydration dough that will spread sideways during fermentation.  I'll admit I'm not really fond of lots of dry flour on the crust and even though I've been told it will brush off, it doesn't.

If you're happy with your bread unbannetonized (is there such a word??) then just keep on doing what you're doing.


SulaBlue's picture

If you line it with a floured bit of linen. I use my pastry cloth - which can also double as a couche for only one loaf. I haven't tried shaping a loaf that way yet as I've been baking in my Dutch/French (Pretentious folks at Le Creuset, no?) oven so all my bread is round. I'm thinking of getting a rectangular baker of some sort so that I can have my bread be the same height from start to end. I like eating the heels - but they're too short for sandwiches!

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

One of the benefits of using a basket (lined or not) is that it wicks moisture away from the surface of the loaf, giving it a little bit of a skin.  This generally makes it easier to score.