A bread proofing basket, also known as a brotform or a banneton, is available in various shapes in the market.
Bannetons are made from natural materials such as cane and lined wicker. It is used to make a crust on the dough and bread, reducing moisture in your dough.
Some people line their proofing baskets with linen, which gives a good texture and pattern to bread. If they are left unlined, the basket pattern will get imprinted on your bread and dough.
The linen is best used to avoid any stickiness on your basket due to the dough. If you are a beginner, then it is recommended that you first practice with using liner and then only moving on to use it without a liner.
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Step-by-step Guide To Use a Bread Proofing Basket
A banneton is very useful in daily life with many different uses. If you are a first time owner of a banneton, here’s a step by step guide on how to use it.
1 – Decide whether to use the banneton with or without liner
It is up to you to decide if you want to use your banneton with or without a liner. A liner will make a visible difference of pattern on the surface of your dough. If you want a perfect look, you should go for the liner, whereas if a rustic appearance is what you’re looking for, then proof the bread without a liner.
2 – Condition your banneton
Your banneton may take at least 3 uses before it gets conditioned to the right moisture and flour levels. Conditioning will prevent your dough from sticking. It will also ensure that the skin of the dough is protected. You can condition your banneton by dusting the basket with a little flour just a day before proofing. With use, the banneton will begin to give the perfect dough at the right moisture level.
3 – Pre-shape your dough
Before placing the dough in the basket, it is important that you shape it beforehand. Once this is done, sprinkle some flour on the top. After covering it with a tower, let it rest for some time. Once again, take the dough and use it in the required shape you want before transferring the dough to the proofing basket. Next, transfer the banneton to the fridge. Proof it for around 3 hours, and your dough is ready to bake.
How to Use The Banneton With Linen?
If you decide to use the banneton with liner and are clueless about how then do not worry… you can easily do it with these simple steps:
- Simply place the linen over the banneton.
- Make sure that it’s properly coated with the flour to avoid sticking the dough in the banneton.
- In case the liner gets dirty or spill something on it, simply rinse it and let it dry completely before using it the next time.
How to Clean A Banneton?
It’s unnecessary to clean your banneton after every use since it’s not recommended to get them wet. But you can follow the cleaning process occasionally with these simple steps.
- Dust your banneton
Make sure to dust your banneton every day before and after use. Don’t use a large quantity of dough since it will destroy the banneton’s spiral effect. You can use rye flour in a banneton as it absorbs a lot of moisture from your dough and gives a proper crust.
- To remove excess buildup
Suppose there is excessive mold buildup, getting thicker and crustier, it’s high time to clean the banneton. Make sure that you don’t use soap while cleaning your banneton.
Using brushes and soap destroys the natural fibers and unweaves the basket.
In case any hardened dough is left, it can be removed with a thin knife or using the edge of a metal dough scraper. Follow the banneton’s grooves and run the semi-sharp object to remove anything stuck between the grooves.
- To avoid molds
If you see mold on your banneton, put it under the sun for some hours. You can even place it in the oven at a temperature of 250°F for around 45 minutes. The warmth will take away the moisture and hardens any remaining dough preventing the molds. You can then brush the mold off from the banneton.
- Let it dry properly
Proper drying and cleaning of your banneton will make it last longer.
How to Store A Banneton?
Follow these few things before storing a banneton
- If you want to store it, use a place with proper airflow.
- Put it upside down so that no bugs can get inside.
- Before putting it inside a cupboard, remove any debris and let it dry first.
Now you know how to use a banneton, how to clean and store it. Get started with your baking, and enjoy delicious homemade bread.
Just keep in mind that the temperature range should be 8°C to 18°C to prove your dough. Also, you should not place bannetons and proofing baskets on top of each other. It will encourage the humidity and formation of mold on the baskets.