The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Farewell, my bannetons

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bshuval's picture
bshuval

Farewell, my bannetons

Hi all,

I just had to throw away my two rather expensive wooden bannetons, and I had to share my story.

As many of you know, you are never, ever, supposed to wash bannetons. You let the dough rise, and then you just tap out the excess flour. In San Diego I've had them for two years, and they were fine. Now I am in Israel, where the climate is different. The summer is much hotter and much more humid, which makes a difference, insect wise. I was going to use the bannetons tonight, after not having touched them for a few months. To my horror, they were full with little tan dots. These are either insect eggs or yeast spores (the dots did look a lot like granular yeast), but I am going with insect eggs as the more likely suspects. I am just glad I caught them at this stage, before all the insects were born (although I have the exterminators coming this Thursday).

At first I tried to wash the bannetons. This not only did not help much (there were eggs between the crevices of the wood), but also taught me why bannetons should never touch water. The wood is very soft, and the water made it expand and splinter. To the bin they go (not that I could have ever brought myself to use them after having seen them infested with insect eggs). I do this with a heavy heart but with no regrets.  

The most annoying thing about this is that it wasn't easy to get the bannetons. I had to specially mail order them. I made sure to get the wooden, highest-quality, ones. And now they're gone. Poor me. The next set of bannetons I buy will be plastic. At least those can be easily cleaned.

Boaz.

Comments

JeremyCherfas's picture
JeremyCherfas

That you already threw them away. I find that 48 hours in the freezer is all that is needed to kill flour beetles and their eggs.


Jeremy

cake diva's picture
cake diva

Hi Jeremy!


I was just about to use my banettons but when I uncovered them they were full of dead moths and larvae.  I tapped the banettons with all my might but I think there's still a lot in the crevices.  I'll put them in the freezer as you suggested.  At the end of the 2 days, what to do next?  Any extra measure I need to do for my peace of mind (that I'm not adding anything unintended to the next boule I make)?--cake diva

JeremyCherfas's picture
JeremyCherfas

after taking them out of the freezer, and then stop worrying. I mean, a little extra protein, well cooked, isn't going to hurt you. But I would also be sure to freeze the bannetons regularly, maybe after every bake, just to be sure they do not get reinfected. And you could store them in a sealed container of some sort -- even a plastic bag -- between bakes.


Jeremy

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

what a great idea, Jeremy, a nice kitchen garbage bag, and voila.  Thank you !

cake diva's picture
cake diva

Thanks for the advice, Jeremy.  You saved my banettons!  -- cake diva

rainwater's picture
rainwater

Jokingly, I would have let the eggs hatch and the bugs would have crawled away from the bannetons....or a sharp rap on the edge of the refuse can would have dislodged the bugs from the bannetons.  Bugs aren't so scary...I live in Houston where heat and humidity and bugs are the way of life.....you learn to live with them.....and if you want to break an addiction to being sterile....travel in India for about 5 months.....  :) :)

erg720's picture
erg720

hi Boaz, I'm suffering the same thing.


I'm so want those proofing basket, looking everywhere to buy a couple. I'm using the simplest baskets. Indeed, life here not so easy for the bread lovers. 


Me, Rishon le'zion


 

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

run wire through the top two rungs and made outdoor hanging planters


 


:(

leahweinberg's picture
leahweinberg

I say as my starter is doubling in record  time, and I'm fighting a bit of an ant problem myself. erg720- if you find some nice proofing baskets here, please let me know! So sorry about your bannetons Boaz. Hope the extermination gets all the critters! 


 


Leah 

erg720's picture
erg720

You can find at Mr. Cake. Both kind: the wooden banneton cost 200 nis and the plastic replica around 65 nis.


I bought mine from Sheshet. They are wood basket with cloth cover. not bad at all

bshuval's picture
bshuval

erg720, the kind of banneton I like does not have a cloth cover. I like to use a banneton for making flour rings on the bread. 


Leah, the heat here is indeed throwing off my bread baking. First, turning on the oven is not the most fun thing this time of year. Second, my dough is rising so fast! I have to cut down on the amount of leaven I use. 


Boaz, in Haifa. 

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

are the coiled willow baskets that make the circular patterns (although someone once posted one they made out of plastic tubing!)  Bannetons are the baskets that can be lined with fabric, or the plastic ones that need no lining. Just clarifying..


Betty

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

My condolences, Boaz )-;


I believe putting the baskets in a 100 - 120 dC oven for 25 mins. will dry them out and prevent nasty critters (if you splurge for a new pair of baskets, that is).

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Condolences on the infestation.  I looked around for a long time before deciding to buy a bunch of bamboo bread baskets for around $1.50 U.S. each.  Although not perfectly ovoid they approximate the shape well enough when lined with floured linen. They were soaked in warm water with small amount of chlorine bleach as an incoming precaution and allowed to air dry.  They haven't been washed since. So far they've held up for two years of use without apparent wear making for a happy baker.


+Wild-Yeast

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

I use a soft baby bottle brush to brush out the extra flour that gets caught in between the coils. It seems to work well.

SallyBR's picture
SallyBR

I feel your pain....


 


I have only one banetton, sometimes my husband gets jealous of it, as I am VERY protective  :-)


 


I have never seen plastic ones, sounds interesting

hsmum's picture
hsmum

Wow, Amazon really does have everything, doesn't it!  I NEVER would have thought to check there for bannetons.


Karen

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD