The Fresh Loaf

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Losing Shape from Banneton to Baking Stone

Walden Pond's picture
Walden Pond

Losing Shape from Banneton to Baking Stone

I've learned so much from everyone in my journey to make perfect sourdough. But I have two unanswered problems:

1) If I keep my dough at a high hydration level (in order to perfect the crumb), it sticks to the sides of my banneton. It doens't matter if I use my wicker one or linen lined banneton, whether I flour the sides or grease the sides, the dough sticks and won't come out...

2) If I am able to get the dough out unscathed, it always seems to collapse and never rise enough again. The bread still tastes wonderful but I wonder if I am making my loaves too big, so the dough cannot hold it's shape. My loaves are typically ~12 inch round loaves.


How can I use my banneton to create a well risen loaf that holds it shape when turned out onto the baking stone?


Thaks for any suggestions!

AnnaInMD's picture

The dough on the top has to be very tightly stretched. When doing the last knead before putting the dough into a rice flour enhanced banneton (rice flour like teflon), one should NEVER turn the dough over, just keep kneading with the ball of your wrist, fold over, knead, fold and lastly form a ball, trying to tightly stretch the top of the  dough. Might work for you. Also is the dough a bit too wet ?

Good baking !


LindyD's picture

Hi Walden Pond,

Am guessing you are not using rice flour on your brotform and/or banneton, or a 50-50 mix of rice flour and AP.   Rice flour does work very well - I used it on my brotform this weekend for an 80% hydration dough and it released cleanly.

You mentioned "grease."  That rings alarm bells. What type of grease did you apply?  That in itself could create problems.

If you are using a brotform, make sure you rub the flour into the cracks between the cane and along the sides of the basket.  If using a banneton, sift or sprinkle a generous supply of the flour over the linen.

If your bread is collapsing, it could be overproofed. 

An easy and gentle way to move the loaf from the basket to the oven is to place a cut sheet of parchment over the top of the basket, then place your peel over that.  Flip the basket over, remove it, score the loaf, then move the parchment containing the bread on to your stone.

Hope this helps somewhat.

Nickisafoodie's picture

From an unkonw post awhile back on this site, learned that instead of using linen you can buy a finely woven polyester dinner napkins for about $2 each at Target, Walmart or such. They seem to stick less than natural fabric and have a slight wicking action drawing moisture away from the dough.  I recently cold ratarded a loaf overnight using a round basket lined with one of these (and floured) and there was zero stickage on a rather wet dough.  They run about 20" by 20".  Good Luck!

PS, thank you AnnaInMD for your input as I have sourdogh loaves that taste great but tend to flatten out on the bake. so I will try the tightening process you outline, and perhaps a lower hydration ratio...

AnnaInMD's picture

for you !  :)


mlucas's picture

Are you finding that your dough spreads out while you're doing the scoring? We all need to learn to score quickly (which I'm still working on), but until then, one trick I tried that works well on round loaves is this:

Cut a long strip of parchment paper about 2 inches wide and somewhat longer than the *circumference* of your loaf (so 38+ inches for a 12" diameter loaf, if I'm doing my math right). It doesn't matter if it's longer than needed, but you don't want it too short. If you don't have parchment, you can probably use construction paper or even regular paper. You can tape several pieces together to make it.

Keep a piece of tape handy. When you invert your dough onto the peel/pan, immediately grap the strip of paper and wrap it tight around your loaf, so the strip overlaps itself. You can even tighten it slightly to raise the dough up a bit. Now your loaf has some support, you can tape the strip to itself to keep in place, and take your time scoring or adding a stencil. Right before you put into the oven, peel off the tape

I used this to make the 'hope' stencil on the following miche, I needed a lot of time as it was my first stencil!

Hopefully these instructions make sense, it's not really necessary most of the time but could help a beginner or someone doing a complicated stencil/scoring pattern.

P.S. agreed with other posters, definitely get some rice flour to prevent sticking, if you don't have that try coarse semolina, rye, wheat germ/bran, or something similar. Otherwise, use a LOT of flour.


ehanner's picture

Waldon Pond,

I have found that if I roll the dough in flour just before plopping it into the prepared banneton, I get less sticking. The rice flour mix is quite effective.

However from your description of your troubles I suspect you are over proofing. With sourdough mixes, I find that a shorter proof time is advisable. I have been using 45 minutes regardless of how much it has grown in volume. If you proof until it shows a great increase, the dough can degrade and become weak from the acids in the sourdough culture. Try proofing 45 minutes once and slash. I think you will find it works well.


copyu's picture

Are you using a scale to weigh your ingredients? First suspect is over-hydration. ("A cup is NOT a cup..." if you are measuring water and flour.) [See Anna's post, above: the last sentence is a good question.]

Anna has also suggested proper "shaping" of the loaves. This shaping by hand will be totally impossible if your dough is excessively hydrated, but some shaping is usually necessary if you are using a proofing basket, with or without linen. This means stretching the dough through your hands to create a type of 'skin' with any creases or folds being towards the BOTTOM of the loaf, ie, at the top of the proofing basket. If you can't do this before putting the dough into the basket, you'll probably have trouble removing it, regardless of how much 'grease', rice flour or wheat bran you use in the basket or banetton.

With high-hydration doughs, sourdough or others, I usually do 3 stretch-and-folds (with a touch of extra flour each time, of course) at 20-30 minute intervals. I place the dough back into an oiled bowl between folds. By the third fold, the dough has developed as much gluten as it can and it starts to resemble 'regular' bread dough a lot more. Final proofing in the basket is from 1.5 to 2 hours. I spray my proofing baskets with cooking spray <GASP!> and use a mixture of rice flour and AP flour, or lots of sesame seeds, flax seeds, poppy seeds or bread spice. It works for me.

Lindy and Eric have also suggested you could be over-proofing. I used to do that, too, by following recipes too precisely, but I've learned to judge the timing a bit better. I'm going to try Eric's 45min (or maybe 60min) as I've had some really good oven spring from my slack, high-hydration doughs by reducing the final proofing times a little bit. Over-proofed dough always seems to collapse. Slightly under-proofed (80-85% or so...guesswork!) is always a pleasure to remove from the oven. I've used an extra-tall, 8" dutch oven for one-pound NKB loaves and couldn't work out how the seeds got stuck to the top of the pan...Amazing oven spring =Very happy baker!

Best wishes,



Walden Pond's picture
Walden Pond

 What great advice. I knew you would have answers to my questions. I am convinced I have kept my dough over hydrated, in the name of a better crumb, but will try to decrease the water slightly.

 I now understand I have been overproofing my dough, as the previous descriptions of what happens to my risen dough are perfect. My oven spring has been minimal, probably becasue I overproofed it.

 I'll make some changes and let you know how it works!

Carb Addict's picture
Carb Addict

Why is it that  the formed loaf is placed top side DOWN in the banaton. I realize it makes it easier to remove it and have the top side up during baking, but is there any other reason. It seems counter intuitive as all the tension is then on the bottom while proofing. And what would be the problem if placed into the banaton to proof, with top side up?