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BrianShaw 12-09-2007 04:49 PM

Cleaning bannetons?
I recently started using cloth-covered bannetons for dough rising. 'm using the ones from SFBI that have the cloth sewn into the basket. With this technique I am a real novice, and found out today just how novice I really am!

The dough wouldn't rise due to the cold temp, I suspect, so I used a time-honoured technique of mine and set the dough on an electric heating pad. This is the first time I've done this... usually I rise on a board and put the board on the heating pad.

I must not have sufficiently floured the banneton because it stuck like glue. the heat from the electric heating pad "crusted" the dough into the linen cloth. After scraping and prying, soaking and more scraping, I began to wonder - Does a linen-covered banneton need to be cleaned periodically... or is it okay to just "bang out" the flour and store it in a dry location until the next use?

CanuckJim 12-09-2007 05:47 PM

Re: Cleaning bannetons?

Commonly, I use the vacuum to clean banneton:eek: . Having said this, however, mine are not cloth lined. I suggest you use a fine mieshed seive to flour them with, using stone ground brown rice flour. Suspect your problem has to do with humidity, rather than flour amount.

Dump the heating pad; it will make the rising dough gluey. Longer, at room temp is better. The entire basket should be covered in plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Easier to show than describe.


BrianShaw 12-10-2007 07:10 AM

Re: Cleaning bannetons?
Thanks Jim. The vacuum makes sense, maybe even for cloth lined.

Now that the banneton is dried it doesn't appear to have been harmed in any way by washing in water... but I sure won't be doing that again if I can help it.

As for humidity, that is a possibility since it is more humid than normal right now. I didn't think of that as a consideration. I'll have to give rice flour a try instead of wheat flour.

I can imagine quite well what you mean by enclosing in plastic wrap. I've been covering with a cloth in the past. I'll try your method.

As for the heating pad... I might best reassign that piece of equipment to my aching shoulder!

CanuckJim 12-10-2007 09:02 AM

Re: Cleaning bannetons?

Try to find a source for industrial width plastic wrap. Here, from a wholesaler, I can get it either 18" or 24" wide. Makes wrapping the baskets much easier, because you only use a single piece.


DrakeRemoray 12-10-2007 09:56 AM

Re: Cleaning bannetons?
I second Jim on getting big/wide plastic wrap. I bought this:
Easy Glide™ Food Service Film - 18'', Food Wraps at Instawares


Wiley 03-08-2009 09:56 AM

Re: Cleaning bannetons?
Excuse me for dusting off an old thread.... But I just received a willow wood banneton for my birthday and it came with a fitted cloth couche (not sure that is the proper name for the cloth but we'll try it and see who will come forth with the proper name).

Anyway, past experience has shown that in using a plastic collander with a cloth couche for a banneton the pattern of holes and slots in the collander shows thru on the finished loaf, right thru the cloth. From reading this thread it appears that at least one is using their willow banneton without the couche. So those of you have who have willow spiral wound bannetons does one use the couche or not? I am desireous of having the spiral pattern on the loaf like in the books and like James produces as shown in photos of his bread.

Thanks so much!


egalecki 03-08-2009 11:03 AM

Re: Cleaning bannetons?
I don't have a liner for my banneton. I use whatever flour I am using in my dough in the basket to get a good release and haven't had trouble yet.

james 03-08-2009 01:21 PM

Re: Cleaning bannetons?
I've got 'em all. :-)

To get the spiral pattern, you a use the Coiled Wicker Banneton. It is not linen lined, and you put a lot of flour in it to keep the loaves from sticking. You can see the coil pattern as soon as you unload your loaves. I really like it and I have a round and an oval. They come in different sizes.

The linen lined bannetons are made with woven wicker, and they do a nice job of maintaining the loaf's surface texture and they don't leave a pattern. But, they are a bear to clean up. I let them dry (the flour gets damp from the loaf and sticks) and use a dry dish brush to scrap the sticky part off.

Does anyone have a better way of cleaning the linen?

Wiley 03-08-2009 02:02 PM

Re: Cleaning bannetons?
2 Attachment(s)
Thank You Elizbeth and James, I have a loaf proofing in the banneton sans cloth/liner/couche as I write this. If it turns out well I'll post a photo.

Here are two photos of an effect that caused my question. I've only recently started using these colander/strainers as bannetons. I came across a deal at a Goodwill and picked up a baker's dozen of them for about $12 and for liners/cloths I picked up a nice heavy tablecloth to cut up. I wanted a worn linen one but settled for a newish washed but not worn Williams Sonoma cotton one for $6.00. Cheaper than buying fabric and washing the sizing out etc. Anyway, apparently I didn't rub enough flour into the cloth because the dough stuck in the center. And although there wasn't any apparent design when it went into the oven, there was when it came out. The second photo shows the radiating stripes around the edge of the loaf. The center pattern was messed up when freeing the dough from the cloth.

I find it interesting that the flour/cloth/banneton acted this way and if this is something other than a odd, one time only phenomenon. Anyone else seen or had this happen?

AnnieMacD 03-08-2009 03:13 PM

Re: Cleaning bannetons?
4 Attachment(s)
The two kinds of baskets are brotformen (willow spirals) and bannetons (linen lined). I'm pretty sure neither of them gets washed - they are supposed to build up a patina of flour and all you do is shake them out. Same for a couche. I have used these for 4 - 6 years and never washed them. However, I never put highly flavoured bread such as onion OR very high fat content breads in them as that may make them smell / go rancid.

You can put them individually into large plastic bags and tie the ends so they will not dry out. The bags can be used over and over unlike plastic wrap. Professional bakers have racks on which they put them and then cover the whole rack with a plastic cover.


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