The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Vanity, vanity!

GregS's picture

Vanity, vanity!

Nope, I'm not selling bannetons. My query is about the floury rings that a banneton supposedly makes around a loaf. The picture shows a decent loaf of Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough in the background and the banneton from which it was dumped in the foreground.

Because of my vanity about the appearance of my loaves, I have been trying to recreate those nice flour markings, obviously without success. In the photo, the banneton was coated evenly with flour through a fine sieve. The loaf was retarded for about 12 hours, then baked. I have tried coating the banneton with a mix of rice flour and rye, and rice flour only. The results weren't any better that those shown in the picture. To see my "dream loaf" look at the markings on the boule currently on the home page of TFL.

Help. I must assuage my vanity! Any help out there :-)


thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

The flour will stick to a new brotform. The loaf will usually stick too, so count yourself lucky.

That's why I recommend people buy used ones if they can find them.

As it ages, it'll give you the pattern you want.

Just give it time, say 10 loaves or so.

GregS's picture

Thomas, thanks very much for the insight. I have been vigorously washing and brushing my banneton after each use, then letting it dry in the interval. I started this because some flour moths started hatching in the floured crevices of the banneton if it was left untouched after use.

Perhaps I should just brush it with a dry brush or knock it on the counter?


thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Dry brush and knock should work fine.

You can break them if you knock too hard, though.

Or you can hire this guy:

I'm not really sure how moisture affects them (I haven't washed my in 6 years), but sounds like peeps below have some advice on that.

The more you use it, though, the less you'll have to concern yourself with maintenance.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and when the bread is done, park the banneton inside the cooling oven on a rack to dry a bit faster and then in the kitchen for at least 24 hours before banging it again over the sink and tucking it into a plastic zip lock bag.  If I use it more than once a week, I just leave it lightly wrapped in a thin dish towel on a shelf.  banging out and dry brushing the old flour between the grooves is all that is needed between uses.   Sift fresh flour before use.  :)

Syd's picture

Great advice from Thomas and Mini.  No need to wash after every use.  You want to keep them as dry as possible.  Drying them out in a cooling oven is a great idea.  Just make sure your oven isn't too hot. You don't want to scorch them.  I am also wondering if you aren't picking up moisture during the retard in the fridge.  Make sure your banetton is well covered in plastic to prevent any moisture in the fridge from making your flour get wet.

hansjoakim's picture

Hi Greg!

First off, great advice from Thomas and Mini above, and a wonderful loaf in the top photo!

I'm also using a mix of rice flour and whole rye flour that I sift into the bannetons, and this tends to leave distinct patterns on the loaves. Whole-rye and whole-rice flours are probably less likely to be absorbed into the proofing dough, so try that if you can find it. Do you experience any sticking of the dough once you unload it from the banneton? Your loaf looks so perfectly shaped that I don't think you experienced any sticking with this one... As suggested above, it could simply be a matter of time, and "seasoning" of the bannetons. There's no need to clean them between bakes, just make sure they are dry and that there are no visible lumps of dough sticking to them. Keep them dry, and once in a while put them in a low oven (around 100 dC) for 30 - 60 mins to dry a bit further. I'm sure you'll perfect the exterior of your loaves as well, Greg, just give it some time, and experiment with the amount of flour you dust your bannetons with.

Good luck, and keep us posted!

JustinB's picture

This is my personal experience from using them (in a high volume bakery)

You NEVER wash the bannetons. They will start to discolor a little, but it's fine as long as they are maintained. They need to be brushed out everyday and set out to dry, but never washed. Lightly, but evenly coat the inside with rice flour or a 50/50 mix. It needs to have a little stick on the inside, if not I've noticed the rings are very subdued so don't go crazy on the flour.

GregS's picture

What an excellent group you are! Good advice from everyone. I'll soon be running rings around my loaves (terrible joke).

Thanks so much.