I've noticed alot of recipes that require proofing baskets calling for rice flour for dusting the baskets. Does anyone know why it is preferable?
Rice flour is like teflon; dough just doesn't stick to it.
Many bakers use a 50-50 mix of rice and AP flours - works quite well.
your proofed loaf will not stick to a rice dusted basket; however, be careful not to let rice flour get on your counter top as you are handling the dough because seams will not seal if rice flour is on the dough surface. I learned this the hard way.
I also use 50-50 rice flour and bread flour for my banneton. It works really well, never have a problem of dough sticking, if I dust the banneton well enough.
Another point to add to Michael, don't dust the rice flour too much though, make sure you shake off any excess flour from the banetton.
I had a first hand experience leaving too much flour in the banetton and my loaves came out a very hard crust (not in a good way of crackling crust)...and rice flour sticking all over the loaves, not a very nice looking with white flour all over.
In addition to bread baking, rice flour prevents fresh pasta from sticking to itself or whatever you have it resting on; and it is a great flour for dusting greased cake/muffin tins.
I keep a shaker of rice flour. Sometimes I mix it with semolina or AP but usually just straight.
WHT it works is a good question. I don't know enough about the molecular properties of rice flour to give an answer. But I suspect other "slippery" feeling starches like corn starch and potato starch would work as well as rice flour.
bnom, I have always understood that the rice flour grains are like tiny ball bearings. I imagine cornstarch and other starches might get gummy and stick, but I have never tried them so that's just a guess, A.
You may be right. I seem to recall having used potato starch to keep fresh pasta from sticking, but my memory basically sucks. I think its a matter of absorbing the moisture in the dough--wheat flour will absorb it, rice flour wont. Will have to try a little test of the starches...