The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Transferring bread from banneton to Romertopf - loaf deflates but springs back in oven

tugboat's picture

Transferring bread from banneton to Romertopf - loaf deflates but springs back in oven

I have a couple questions that have been bugging me for a while but I've just been dealing with it and now decided to get off my lazy butt and try to fix it. Whatever bread I bake (white, multigrain, or rye, all sourdough if that matters), first my bread slightly sticks to the banneton. I use roughly 50/50 mix of rice flour/AP flour to four the banneton (no liners), and when I go to put the bread in my Romertopf (my preferred baking vessel) I tip the banneton over the Romertop, it sticks to the basket slightly, and flops in the Romertopf crooked. The bread also deflates when it lands. After I drop in the loaf it's too crooked and deflates too much to score it, however the oven spring always puffs it back up to a beautifuly full, albeit awkwardly shaped, loaf. So a couple questions to help me troubleshoot:


1. Why is the bread deflating so much? Is dropping/flopping it in too violent or am I over proofing the bread? My knee jerk reaction is that dropping it in is too violent but please correct me if I'm wrong. Has oven spring been saving overproofed dough this entire time?


2. How do I get the loaf in straight without burning my hands? I'm tempted to place parchment paper over top of the bread, tip the banneton over, lift off the banneton, and lower the parchment paper into the romertopf. Is there anything else that might work?

TomK's picture

As to the deflating, I think that means the dough is over proofed. I still find it difficult to judge but a ltitle under proofed is much better than over, or even fully proofed. It helps if at least the last bit of theprooofing is done in the fridge, it stiffens the dough up a lot and seems to make it more resistant to deflating.

For transferring the dough, a sling of parchment works great. Credit to Drogon, I think I saw it in one of his posts. I put parchment over the banneton, a dinner plate over that, invert , and lift off the banneton. Then score and lift it up and lower into the Dutch oven. BTW I use two so I can bake two loaves at once, one is the ubiquitous Lodge Combo Cooker which, because you put the dough in the shallow part, is relatively easy to load , I just put the hot shallow part on top of the banneton and invert them together. It's shallow enough that scoring isn't too hard then. The other one is an oval "French oven" that can't really be inverted, that's where I use the parchment sling. I really prefer this one to the combo cooker because I consistently get better spring . Maybe because it's enameled inside? Same results (better spring) in a Le Creuset d.o. but I've been banned from using it due to staining.

For the sticking to the banneton, try 100% brown rice flour. The bran is what really does it. Or, I know some bakers use a 50/50 blend of AP flour and wheat bran, the bran is the key to it but I think the brown rice works better. Brown rice flour goes rancid quickly due to the high oil content, I grind just a handful on bake day so it's fresh. I still have some sticking issues if I proof overnight in the fridge, I try to chill it for just a few hours.



tugboat's picture

Thanks for the help! I'm thinking I need to refine my final proofing procedures. My typical routine is:

Friday evening: take starter out of fridge and feed it

Saturday morning: make dough, put in fridge once done

Saturday evening: take dough out of fridge for bulk rise

Sunday morning: take out dough, form into loaf, put in banneton, put back in fridge. Bake whenever I feel like it.


Good to know that I'm likely overproofing my dough, and that I can still salvage good bread when life gets in the way of optimal bread. Sometimes I just want to do something else besides wait for the bread (go to the beach, go for a day in town, hang out with family, etc...). I think I'll try resting the dough when I remove it for 15 minutes or so before loafing it and putting it in the banneton. Then pay closer attention when the dough is rising.