The Fresh Loaf

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Liner material for proofing baskets

thisIsDrew's picture

Liner material for proofing baskets

What can be used as a liner for proofing baskets? I currently use tea towels but am looking for something with more of a snug fit and preferably some elastic to keep it on.

The liners you can buy online seem to be pretty expensive. Except for breadtopia, but they are out of stock.

I was thinking of using disposable shower caps, but I don't know if the material will hold flour to avoid sticking to the dough.


naturaleigh's picture

Hi Drew!  I'm not clear on your last question.  Did you mean you are considering using them on the inside, under the dough?  I wouldn't recommend that as dough loves to stick to plastic.

I don't use a liner as I think they are too cumbersome, they can cause odd 'dents' in the loaves and are generally messy.  Instead, I use a 50/50 blend of white rice flour and AP flour that I sprinkle on liberally before placing the dough in the banneton.  I've used both wood pulp and reed bannetons with the method without any problems.  The more you use them, the more 'non-stick' they become.   They do need to be 'seasoned' before the first use--just spritz them with a light coating of water, then the rice flour/flour mixture, and let sit for a good 24 hours or until the completely dry out.  Some folks swear by linen liners, but you have to flour those as well, so I just skip it.  I keep a brush handy for removing excess flour from the loaves before baking. 

However, I do employ the plastic 'shower cap' coverings over the top, which do have a bit of elastic in them to keep them on.  You can easily tent them to keep them off the dough.  I'm not a huge fan of plastic and wish there was something more organic out there to use, but they are incredibly cheap and mine last a very long time if used gently (I've only had to throw one away due to a tear).  I've actually started using them to cover the outside bottom of the reed bannetons during cold proofs, as they are not as air-tight as the wood pulp ones, but I prefer the shape of the reed ones.  So, they are definitely versatile.  I'm not sure if you are in the US or not, but I got mine here:

Benito's picture

I’m unsure if you’re using cane bannetons or some other material that doens’t absorb moisture like a bowl.  If you are using a cane banneton there isn’t any reason to use a liner.  I don’t have liners for mine and I’ve never used a liner.  By using rice flour I’ve never had difficulty releasing the dough from the banneton the next day after a cold retard in the fridge.

If you are using a proofing basket that doesn’t wick away moisture then you will need a liner.


idaveindy's picture

I agree with Leigh and Benito about not absolutely needing a liner with a standard cane/reed bannetons. 

That said, personally I don't like the idea of putting away "dirty" bannetons, so I always use a liner. I use the cheapy linen liner that came with my cheapy Amazon bannetons.

If I make another loaf before I do laundry (I wash the liners between uses)  then I use a tight-weave (not shaggy or piled) tea towel (i think it was called a "flour sack towel" on the package) well floured. 

As Benny says, if your proofing basket/bowl is not porous, you need a liner.  And I would go one step further, using another thick towel or fabric between the liner and the basket/bowl to help absorb and wick-away moisture to dry out the dough's gluten skin.

Hope this helps. 

thisIsDrew's picture

Thank you for the responses.

I've actually 3d printed a couple oval bannetons and would like to avoid having the dough directly touch them.

I'm hoping to find a homemade (or cheap / in stock) solution kind of like this:

albacore's picture

I recommend a light cotton jersey material. And I agree with idaveindy; I don't think it's hygienic to have uncleanable heavily flour coated bannetons knocking around - they invite pest infestation.

I used to have elasticated cotton liners, but they tend to ride up, so what I have now is ovals of white cotton jersey hemmed with an overlocker/serger. A white 100% cotton T shirt can be a good source of fabric. You can make covers with the same material too.

Nice idea to print your own bannetons, but is the plastic food grade? Did you put any vent slots in, like the commercial ones?


Colin2's picture

Cotton canvas, or "duck cloth," costs a few dollars a yard.  I might try, say, a light 10oz. cotton canvas, cut pieces to fit, and improvise something to hold it in place.  Or you could live large and get some linen, which would be maybe $10 a yard.

Timothy Wilson's picture
Timothy Wilson

I used to do it with a tea towel too, but now I've found out a more comfortable thing to use. It's a canvas for cross-stitch. It is firm enough and elastic, it's a bit strange advice, but try, you can like it.

bigcrusty's picture

Dar this isDrew,


I purchased undid white linen and my wife cut and sewed them with elastic.  I purchase some cheap wicker baskets at Michael for $.89 and have been using them for at least 5 years now.  I bake Polish Country, Sour Rye, Wheat and Spelt sourdough breads and shape my loaves and drop them into the bannetons.  I usually bake 4 loaves at a time.  The bannetons work well and I throw them in the wash after 3-4 uses to wash out some of the flour I dust them with to get better release when I drop them out onto my baking peel.  Watch for a sale at JoAnn Fabrics and you might be able to get a 50% of coupon like I did.  As I recall  the linen cost me under $8 for a yard and I still have about half a yard left.

All in all if you don't want to spend a fortune these work if you can cut and sew.  Fortunately, my wife is a good seamstress so I didn't have to figure it out and take an inordinate amount of time doing it.  Plastic will stick so I'd avoid it.


Big Crusty


jeh's picture

I like to use large linen napkins. Specifically these. I have about 20 or so napkins and do wash whenever I run low. A little flour rubbed into the weave helps to prevent sticking.