Ever wondered how some bakers get that beautiful spiral pattern on top of their loaf? Or what to use to support a loaf when your dough is wetter and liable to spread whilst rising? Well a banneton, or proofing basket, is your answer. Scroll down to find out more about using and storing bannetons when you bake bread at home.

The Epsom Bakehouse how to use and store banneton proofing baskets
A banneton made of compressed cardboard

How to use banneton proofing baskets in your bread baking

Watch the video below to learn more about

  • where to buy banneton proofing baskets, or how to make your own
  • how to prepare your banneton before using it
  • how and when to use it to rise your dough
  • how to clean and store your banneton.

Or read on to find out more.

What is a banneton proofing basket?

Bannetons are usually made from either cane or compressed cardboard. They are used to support a shaped piece of dough as it rises, prior to baking it in the oven.

Some bannetons have a pattern of ridges that then imprints onto your dough whilst it’s rising in the basket.

How to prepare a banneton proofing basket before you use it

To avoid your dough sticking to your banneton, you’ll need to prepare the basket before using it. Before the first use, dust the banneton heavily with flour and rub it into the cardboard, or into the gaps of the cane, then knock and brush off any excess flour.

Then, before putting your shaped dough into the basket, flour the banneton again. This time, leave the flour in the banneton. Roll your shaped dough, top side down, into the basket. The flour should coat the sides of the banneton so that the dough does not stick as it rises.

Which flour to use to dust your banneton proofing basket?

Try to avoid using wheat flour as, in contact with wet dough, it becomes very sticky and glue-like. Instead, you could use rye flour or rice flour to dust your banneton proofing basket with.

Can you bake the dough in the banneton proofing basket?

No – they’re not safe for oven use. The materials used to make banneton proofing baskets would burn or be damaged by the high heat used to bake bread.

Instead, once the dough has risen, gently turn the basket over onto a lined baking tray and allow the dough to slide out onto the tray.

The Epsom Bakehouse how to use and store banneton proofing baskets
The spiral pattern achieved from rising your dough in a banneton proofing basket

How to clean and store your banneton proofing basket

Once you’ve turned the dough out, leave your banneton to dry. This will prevent moulds or other bugs growing on the surface of the basket.

Once dry, brush out any remaining flour and dry dough. I use a dry nail brush (kept solely for this purpose!) to do this, and brush over the sink to capture the dry flour.

Try to store your banneton without anything stacked on top of it, to allow air to circulate and to keep the banneton dry. This again helps stop mould growths. If you have more than one banneton, stack them at an angle on top of each other, to allow air to circulate between them.

Every so often, you can sterilise and deep clean your bannetons in the oven. Heat the oven to a low temperature, around 100C. Put the bannetons in for 10 – 15 minutes, then cool and brush out any dried dough and flour.

Want to learn more about baking great bread at home?

If you’d like to learn more about baking great bread at home, do check out some of my other resources. There are plenty of bread making tips and recipes on my blog. You can also join my free live bakealongs on Facebook each Saturday morning at 10am.

Ready to get baking some new, delicious loaves? Join one of my online bread making classes. Learn step-by-step how to bake a range of breads from ciabatta to brioche, baguettes to cinnamon buns and more. You can find out more here: https://www.theepsombakehouse.co.uk/learn-to-bake-bread/