The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Banettons and assorted gear

loaflove's picture

Banettons and assorted gear

Hi everyone. Since I've started baking bread, i've really been trying to minimize the equipment I have to acquire in order to save space, money and the planet.  I've invested in a few things that i thought were a must  , like a pullman pan and some tea towels for proofing but other than that i've been making do with what i have.  The thing that i've been really thinking about alot is getting some banettons.  When i was only making boules it was easy enough to use a mixing bowl or colander to proof but now i'm getting in to batards and i've searched in my cupboards for an oval vessel of some sort and the best i could come up with were my loaf pans.  So i've been proofing in those but of course my loaves come out oblong,  looking kinda squared off at the ends and not really rounded like  a real oval.  Plus I'm so envious of those nice rings the banettons impart on the tops of the loaves. (I can live without them though) . Does anyone have any thoughts or hacks on how to proof a batard without getting an oval bannetton?  Thanks

idaveindy's picture

I'm glad that I switched to bannetons. They do better at allowing the moisture to "wick away" and create a good skin, which improves scoring and directs the oven spring to the bloom area between the two sides of the score.

One work-around for batards is to use a towel or two as a "couche" and use boxes or objects to prop up the sides.  But that may be difficult to do in the fridge.

Another option is to use cheap woven baskets from second-hand stores, lined with a  towel or two.

justkeepswimming's picture

My experience, in case any of it is useful.

Like you, I have been trying to not buy things I don't really need. I don't always do well in that arena, but I try.

My experiments using a tea towel and bowl or other container were just ok. Wetter doughs tended to stick to my tea towels, creating problems when I was trying to get the loaf out - even with liberal dusting of both the dough and towel..

I received a round banetton "free" as part of a sourdough class, and it really did make things easier overall. After using it a few times, I went ahead and bought this one for batards, and it has been helpful as well. Reviews seem to suggest they had some quality control issues in a batch late last year, but more recent reviews are positive. Mine seems quite good (no mold, good canes, no staples sticking out) and I have been happy with it. 

Good luck!!