The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

I just bought 2 bent-willow bannetons... any pearls of wisdom?

Jean-Paul's picture

I just bought 2 bent-willow bannetons... any pearls of wisdom?

I just bought 2 bannetons from Besides the instruction they will send me, are there any other Pearls of Wisdom others can pass on in in using the willow bannetons? Thanks! Jean-Paul

davidg618's picture

I don't know if its a pearl, or merely an interesting grain of sand; one of the problems I've encountered with my willow brotforms with relatively high hydration doughs (68% to 72%) is sticking to the wood, i.e. not releasing cleanly.

On the recommendation of another TFLer I swiitched from dusting the baskets with white bread flour to brown rice flour. I also sprinkle the exposed bottom--the shape is bottom up in the brotform--with a light coating of the rice flour. As the dough inflates its bottom's edges roll into previously uncovered wood. The rice flour coating the bottom prevents the expanding dough from sticking.

Since making this flour change, and the bottom sprinkling adjustment I've not had a single stuck shape.

I prepare a brotform by putting a generous amount of brown rice flour into the bottom of the basket, and while rotating it I rub the fllour into the interstices between the reeds. If there is only a little excess flour I let it drift back to the bottom of the brotform, rather than shake it out, and run the risk of dislodging the flour embedded in the grooves. I handle the baskets gently once the flour is in place.

When I use my metal peel to place the proofed shape in the oven I put a sheet of parchment paper onto the peel, and turn the proofed shape onto the paper; When I use my Super Peel I turn out the shaped and proofed dough directly onto the floured peel's linen.

If you search You Tube there are a number of good videos showing bakers turning out proofed shapes from bannetons; I learned a lot from them, unfortunately, I don't have a link to share. Perhaps another TFL reader can direct you to them.

David G

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss


I just recently ordered two willow bannetons from and I have had no trouble.  I too recommend rice flour to prevent sticking, which is what I use on my couches as well.  I use white rice flour because that is what is available to me, but I'm sure whichever you can get will be fine.  Someone suggested spraying the brotform with a non-stick spray, but I haven't found that to be necessary.

By the way, this company is great (  The prices were good and I got both deliveries 48 hours after ordering.


bassopotamus's picture

Definitely rice flour, and plenty. I haven't used my bannetons in a while because I only have 3 and when I bake lately, it is like 70 loaves in a day (32 of which are boules). When things settle down, I may go back to using them. I like the look.

NetherReine's picture

I mist mine with olive oil and then sprinkle liberally with corn meal.  Have never had a problem with any dough sticking and my husband and I enjoy the little bit of cornmeal!