The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Questions about bannetons.

Dave323's picture
Dave323

Questions about bannetons.

 


I am going to be buying some bannetons, both round and oval. My questions are these: 


 


As to size, they can be had anywhere from 6” to a huge 17”. Is my reasoning correct, that I can put smaller loaves in a large basket, and just not fill it, but I can’t stuff a large loaf in a small basket. So, my best bet would be to order, say, a 10.5“ basket rather than a 8” or 9” one? Money being, well, money, my goal is to NOT have the world’s largest banneton collection. :)


 


As to the liners ... when do you use the liner and when do you use the basket alone, dusted with flour?


 


Thanks for your help.


 


David


 

Chuck's picture
Chuck

...I can put smaller loaves in a large basket, and just not fill it,..


I'm leery. Baskets tend to be flat on the bottom. So a smaller amount of dough would just pancake into about the size of the bottom, but too thin. I personally would rather have enough different sizes of bannetons to more or less match all the different sizes of loaves I bake (maybe only a couple:-), rather than trying for "one size fits all".

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Get bannetons that are made for the size loaves you are likely to be baking. You won't regret it.


I find sizes that hold 1-1.5 lbs and 2-2.5 lbs of dough most useful. I also have a linen-lined round banneton that will accommodate 4-4.5 lbs of dough for miches and a coiled wicker brotform I use for rye breads of up to about 3 lbs of dough. I use the largest ones less often, but I'm happy I have them.


David

dwfender's picture
dwfender

Have you guys found any cheaper alternatives than an be used in place of bannatons?

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Any old basket will work, but unless there's a basket weaver living in your neighborhood or you have some other good local source of baskets, all these things are expensive. So you might as well get the real thing.


A couple sources frequently mentioned on TFL are The Lucky Clover Trading Company with one of the lowest prices  ...if their minimum order is acceptable to you, and SFBI/TMB as having one of the better selections of truly useful items. (After looking and choosing, you'll need to call SFBI/TMB on the telephone to actually place your order.) There are a couple other good sources too, which I can't remember at the moment...

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Towel-lined colanders are an inexpensive alternative to bannetons.  Of course you won't get the pretty designs, but they work just as well for rising.  Some people have also used plastic chip baskets, available for about a dollar each.  I flour a towel with a combination of rice and bread flour, line the colander, then place my dough in to rise.  

Dave323's picture
Dave323

Thanks, Barbara. I REALLY appreciate this tip. I tried it yesterday. I lined a stainless steel colander with parchment, then let my italian bread rise in that, covered by a damp linen towel. After it almost doubled in size, I scored it and shoveled it into a 500 degree, steamed oven, still in the colander and turned it down to 400.  The oven spring was amazing. After 10 minutes I took it out of the colander and let it finish right on the stone. After 20 minutes I removed the steam and baked for another 25 minutes. What a great way to bake a boule! Thick, crispy crust that sang nicely as it cooled. Great crumb, somewhat open, just the way we like it. Sorry, camera down. Will try to post pics at a later time.


 


Thanks again.


 

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Hi Dave,


So happy I could help.  Thanks so much for letting me know!


Barbara

Busche74's picture
Busche74

I searched around and bought my bannetons from www.breadtopia.com.  I think their prices are pretty fair.  I have been using them for 2 yrs and they are nice quality.  I agree that it probably makes sense to buy a size that will work for the loaves you are making....I do not use  a liner,I just flour the banneton with a mixture of rice and wheat flours- I love the designs that are imprinted from the flour onto the bread.  Early on I used any basket I had and used linen like fabric as a liner- this was extremely affordable and worked great...however I don't think I would try "any old basket" without the use of a liner

Dave323's picture
Dave323

 


I appreciate all the advice. That’s why I asked all of you - I trust your opinions. Looks like I will buy bannetons in multiple sizes instead of going the “cheap” route of one size fits all  :)


 

michael p's picture
michael p

http://www.brotform.com/zencart/ is where I got mine a few weeks ago - one for about $21 delivered, and it worked out great:

MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

Dave,


here's another idea: when I was working in Germany, we'd use the large bannetons for two smaller loaves. You just put them in side by side, proof and bake together and then "break" the two loaves apart after baking. You'll have an open end on each smaller loaf, but if you don't care about those asthetics, this might be another thing to consider.


Stephan