The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


staff of life's picture
staff of life


It's the best price for bannetons and other baskets I've seen--

I wish I needed some!

KNEADLESS's picture

If you have a World Market store in your area, look thru their baskets. 

They sell a round wound basket, maybe 8" at the top, 6" high for $12.99. 




kjknits's picture

Thanks for the heads up, staff of life!

Katie in SC 

SDbaker's picture

I've seen the bins of them at SFBI! Lots to go around.   The really inexpensive ones are lined.  The regular coiled ones are still a fantastic value at half the cost of the local vendor.  (I couldn't resist getting just one - a 1.5 lb - on a recent visit). 


SD Baker

MickiColl's picture

I live in Las Vegas and we have a World Market .. but what is SFBI ? strictly mail order or is it a store ?

Yumarama's picture

SFBI is the San Francisco Baking Institute, basically a baking school of very high repute; several members of the site have taken courses there. See

You will see in the post two or so below mention of which is the commercial side of the same institute. 

And no, it's not a walk-in store. You actually need to phone in your order and talk to a real human being. But they are 100% dependable and trustworthy, ship quickly, and have amazing prices.

leemid's picture

I bought 3 of them last month and love them. Of course, as soon as I used them twice I decided it was time to do baguettes...


zolablue's picture

Pizzette, that is essentially the same place, SFBI.  I can also vouch for their excellent products and service.  I ordered several bannetons, brotforms and some raw linen.  They actually send you the linen-lined bannetons with an invoice that you then pay upon receipt of the product because that money goes to their students.  They are very trusting and in turn give excellent service.  They were very nice and extremely helpful on the phone.

mountaindog's picture

Agree with ZB, I've ordered many things from them this past year and the service and value is excellent, the person taking my order was extremely pleasant to speak with and I get the sense it is a very informal operation. A note comes with the linen-lined bannetons indicating the funds for that go right toward the SFBI scholarship fund, to which you make your check out to upon receipt as ZB stated. I find these large linen bannetons indispensible for making large 4 lb boules, and the linen is very non-stick and needs very little flour. Great Resource!

zolablue's picture

Pizzette, I'm not really sure how it works but I found both sites when I was trying to find products and prices.  I was under the impression the prices were the same when I was searching but at any rate I noticed they have the same address and phone.  ???

BlueDevil0206's picture

How exactly do you use these bannetons.  After shaping, you put the loaf in the basket and let it proof?  My question is, how do you get it out and in the oven without messing it up?  Do you proof upside down and then just turn it over onto the stone?  Thanks.

susanfnp's picture

Hi BlueDevil,

Boules in bannetons

The baskets I use as bannetons are unlined so I just lay a piece of linen into each one, dust it with flour, and place the loaf in upside down for proofing. The ones from SFBI come already lined.

Once the loaves are proofed they are turned out onto a peel to be scored before going in the oven. I supoose you could turn it directly onto the stone if you didn't need to score it, but I think it would be hard to do without burning yourself and/or losing a lot of oven heat. The flour leaves a nice dusting on the loaf for that rustic look.



staff of life's picture
staff of life

They also have plastic proofing baskets advertised--does anyone know anything about them?

coffeetester's picture

I Have a fabric store not to far from me. Is there a specific type of linin or thread count I should look for that is best for this purpose.


Also I was at bed bath and beyond today and they had a fruit basket for 10$ that was about the right shape. Is there a reason why this wont work. I want to make some norwich sourdough this weekend and defiantly want to find a couple of proofing vessels.

proth5's picture

I'm supposed to be letting this go, but...

Most fabric stores will carry linen more suitable for clothing, tea towels, or embroidery than for using for proofing bread.

My couche cloth is slightly "coarser" than the coarsest linen I can find at a regular fabric store.  I'm not at home so I can't give you a thread count, but you will sometimes find natural (not bleached) linen that is a sturdy and somewhat thick weave.  I have some that I use to make aprons and tote bags that I would use as a couche in a pinch.

The coarse weaves in my experience hold the flour a little better and don't flop around when you are pulling up folds between baguettes - so I would go for that.

Some of the finer linens will propbably not fare so well, but a sturdy tea towel weight might be fine - although not optimal.

I will say that the linen I have seen in fabric stores costs much more per yard than what I purchased for baking at SFBI/TMB Baking.  I happened to be in the area, so I didn't have to pay shipping, but I'll speculate that even with shipping the stuff from TMB costs less than what I pay for the linen I use for sewing.

Long answer - hope it helps.

coffeetester's picture

So SFBI was out of the linen this morning. I dont specifically need it tell I finish my thanksgiving project (Norwich Sourdough Rounds to impress the mother in law). A friend suggested I could use pillow cases for the same thing. If this is true should I look for a white pillow case of a specific thread count.

The linen on my SFBI bowels was fairly rough so I'm assuming the less thread count the less the dough will stick to the material?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Read carefully.  I like natural fibers but some of the absorbent new mixed fibers work too!

What you want to do is avoid textile coloring or printed fabrics.  Some weaves can be lovely and imprint lovely textures on the surface of the bread.  You are also looking for a cloth that dries well between uses.  There is more info by running a search on linen or couch cloth including tips on care.   Zig zag cut edge and wash to remove any sizing in the fabric before use.  Then cut and zig zag the edges to fit.  Elastic sewn on the edges (like a shower cap) makes for a good fit on baskets.  I remember seeing patterns too somewhere which are not hard to make yourself, basically  the shape of the bottom (plus extra for the seems) and then a band of cloth that comfortably fits the sides and over the edge (plus seams).   Stretch fabric is also a good option.  I cut up a cotton knit t-shirt once and I wouldn't put it past me to use a clean jersey beanie. 

Baskets can be more difficult.  I never know what's in paint and varnish (I've seen some very bad examples) and prefer clean and unfinished surfaces.  Those baskets aproved for food service stand a better chance with me.  Fruit have peels so fruit baskets are maybe not the best.  You have to make your own decision.

Jmarten's picture

I have just purchased a selection of bannetons (on line) from the manufacture in Germany. There is a minimum order of 5 pieces but the prices are very reasonable, in fact, I was able to buy 5 bannetons for the price I would have paid for 3 here at home (UK). They do ship to the US. Once the order is in you may need to wait for about 5 days to get a reply for the full costing but once I got that the items were delivered within 2 days. Would highly recommend them.
Happy Baking!

Salilah's picture

Just had mine delivered from the German site  A bit confusing in that you send a request / order, then they will get back to you with the postage costs.  You then need to pay, and then they will ship.  As above, there is a delay between requesting and getting the costs (2 weeks for me, I sent a reminder) but then delivery was very quick.

They are wonderful!  After delivery costs, and Paypal charge, they worked out at under £10 each, which I reckon is pretty good.  I got covers as well, to see if that works...

Can't wait for my dough to get ready so I can try one of them out <grin>


richkaimd's picture

Nickisafoodie's picture

I found microfiber dinner napkins at walmart for about $2 each.  Matching table cloth is optional!  They work really well and seem to stick less than natural fabric/linen - dust with flour as you would linen.  Dinner napkin size is perfect for any size round.  They dry quickly too.  I do have linen but now prefer these.