The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.


Cliff's picture




 I’ve been making SD for better than two decades. I used to use loaf pans years and years ago. Now I rarely do. I’ve been into free-form boules & batards rolls and buns the occasional croissant etc.

 Never used a Banneton.

 Eschewed them as fru fru trinkets, gimmicks, like that Mr. Sneezy Egg Separator that ended up storing the scrubbie until mold developed and finally got chucked. Real men don’t use bannetons~!!!

 Lately, I have been playing with very high hydration like 80%, 90%, and 106%. I’ve pulled it off a few times even a free-form pan de crystal. I could get nice spring, good ear yadda yadda.

 But I wasn’t getting sufficiently consistent results, so I decided to see if this banneton thing was anything more than a crutch. So I built a couple of wood bannetons from poplar; slope-sided open boxes.

 I’ve never seen a good description of what I found the result to be.

 1) the loaves wanted to retain their shape after a night in a 40 Degree F fridge. I have a little cube fridge I got for next to nothing for just this use.

 They wanted to retain their shape because;

 2) The wood boxes let oxygen at the skin and the O2 toughened the skin a fair bit and

 3) the cool dough was a tad stiffer.

 I didn’t wait to bake, I popped ‘em in the oven as soon as it was to temp.

 I am a convert. I like bannetons.

 I broke with tradition. I ordered some Satin cloth from amazon (9 bucks) and used that instead of cotton cloth. I used almost no flour and as I suspected, there was no sticking. The finer weave of the satin with the hydrophilic nature of the polymer resin didn’t encourage adhesion.