The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bannetton Misery

ryebaker's picture

Bannetton Misery

I have been making a variety of  Tartine style breads and for months made the loafs, into the bannettons, into the fridge over night and the next morning out they come after a proof.  No problem.  Lately I cannot prevent the loaves from sticking to the cloth (use flour on the loaves and cloth).  Even when I gave up on the overnight fridge hold, reduced the water and were very careful with the flour. Any suggestions greatly appreciated. I am about to go back to the fridge overnight, since part of the issue is the speed of the rise in the summer heat, but am getting desperate.   Will heavier stiffer  cloth (ie duck or canvas) help?  the cloth I have is very light and where it adhers the cloth has become saturated typically.

richkaimd's picture

Have you tried the suggestions others have made already on this subject?  I recommend trying the search function on the TFL home page.  That's where I learned long ago that a 50:50 mixture of white wheat flour and rice flour will likely solve your problem.  If your local supermarket doesn't have rice flour, try a Whole Foods if there's one nearby.  I got mine at an Asian foods market.

Whatever you tried, success or failure, report your results so that we can all learn.


Chuck's picture

Will heavier stiffer  cloth (ie duck or canvas) help?  the cloth I have is very light and where it adhers the cloth has become saturated typically.

You want the cloth to act like a wick and remove moisture (less moisture means less sticking). Yes a coarse weave seems to do a better job of wicking away moisture without becoming saturated. IMHO "stiff" fabric will be harder to work with but won't help with sticking  ...stiffness may be a necessary evil that to some extent comes with coarse weave though.

The ideal is linen cloth, the same as is used for couches (search "banneton liners" or "couche cloth" for more discussions). If linen isn't available, then cotton canvas is a pretty reasonable second choice. I've even heard of people having success with heavy T-shirts. If whatever is used becomes saturated with moisture (because it's too light?-), or has nibs of thread that make an uneven surface (i.e. "terry cloth"), that definitely won't work.

After wicking moisture out of the bread surface, the cloth probably needs some place to dump that moisture. Evaporation from the back side of the cloth is one possibility. Arranging that may mean covering only the surface of the dough, but not the bottom of the banneton. Maybe that's why a common covering for a filled banneton is a shower cap (search "shower cap" for more info).

You may find it works better to rub some flour (maybe even rice flour) into the cloth before using it to line your banneton.

placebo's picture

The important thing is to have a smooth surface, so the dough can't get stuck in crevices. I have the lined bannetons from SFBI. The cloth is pretty thin, but I've rarely had sticking problems. I've also used a bowl with a thin cloth with a very tight weave  as a makeshift banneton with no sticking problems.

When the dough did stick in the banneton, it was to a small area. That spot was wet while the area around it was essentially dry, so I think the saturation is a result of the dough sticking rather than the cause.

I'll second the recommendation for using rice flour. That stuff is like teflon. Nothing sticks to it.

Yerffej's picture

Linen will,  in all likelihood,  end your difficulties.


Elagins's picture

try using rice or white rye flour on the cloth instead of wheat flour.  neither of those get absorbed into the dough (assuming it's wheat) and should solve the sticking problem until you decide on a longer-term solution.

Stan Ginsberg

Janetcook's picture

Another voice for rice flour and linen.  I also use hemp linen to line my baskets and it works very well.

I bought a yard of the linen from this company and now have more liners than I will ever need!  I did sew some into liners with elastic but left some flat and they work too - in fact, almost better because there aren't as many creases - they are easier to flatten out then when sewn with elastic.

Good Luck,