Banneton bread sourdough first use

Using a banneton to bake bread

In my previous post on How to bake your own wholewheat bread, I have not told you the whole story of my my bread experiments. The goal was to get the loaf done right, and the only way to figure out where I was going wrong with sourdough was to go back to the basics and use easier instant yeast. Once the output confirmed that my techniques and timings were right, I went back to my struggle with sourdough.

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My multigrain flour loaf failed miserably. Look at the holes in the deflated dough, only the top layer seems to have risen, besides the composition of multigrain flour would vary from vendor to vendor which introduced too much guesswork to the adjustments I’d have to make…

I encountered some major disasters with organic multigrain flour and decided never to buy it again and use what was left to feed my sourdough starter, or to make rotis or chappaties. When my sourdough bread didn’t work as expected, I ended up buying what I thought were the necessities shown on TV shows, namely the BBC series ‘Paul Hollywood’s Bread’. First I got myself a Kilner clip top jar just like the one owned by Paul Hollywood to grow and store my sourdough starter in. Then I ordered a banneton as that was advised for sourdough. This one cost me a pretty penny as it had to be imported from the UK.

So, in spite of me preferring my Lodge L4LP3 ridiculously expensive cast iron loaf pan -thanks again to International shipping and customs duties, I decided to try out using a banetton.

My banneton arrived from Etsy, and it was very well made from Rattan. Before using it, it was important to prepare it for use. After spending a while on Google and finding some videos and web pages, I was ready to start!

How to prepare a banneton for use:

Tools required : A water mister and a little flour.

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Fill clean water in the mister and spray the inside of the banneton with it

 

Add a tablespoon or so of flour to the center of the banneton
Add a tablespoon or so of flour to the center of the banneton

Now tip the banneton slowly towards you while rotating the banneton as you do so
Now tip the banneton slowly towards you while rotating the banneton as you do so

 

Continue doing so until the inside of the whole banneton is coated with flour. The banneton is now ready for use
Continue doing so until the inside of the whole banneton is coated with flour and the excess flour spills out. The banneton is now ready for use

This process is only for first use. When you next use the banneton, you can add more flour and repeat this exercise (No water needs to be sprayed)

However, if you have left your banneton idle for several months, you might need to scrape out the flour with a brush and repeat the whole process.

Once your banneton has been seasoned this way, all you need to do is put in your sourdough for the second rise. Remember the seam will be on the bottom, as the banneton will be inverted onto your baking sheet/tray.
Once your banneton has been seasoned this way, all you need to do is put in your sourdough for the second rise. Remember the seam will be on the top (visible), as the banneton will be inverted onto your baking sheet/tray making the bottom the top of the loaf. Cover with cling film to prevent the dough from going dry.

 

Here is how it looks after the second rise
Here is how my experimental whole wheat sourdough looked after the second rise
sprinkle a little four on your baking tray/sheet and invert the banneton onto the sheet/tray. Sourdough being more watery than regular dough will spread out a bit after being released from the banetton
sprinkle a little four on your baking tray/sheet and invert the banneton onto the sheet/tray. Sourdough being less stiff than regular dough will spread out a bit after being released from the banetton. Note my dough has deflated a bit as it had stuck to the banneton in a couple of places and had to be carefully released. Once the banneton goes through a few loaves, this shouldn’t be a problem.

 

 

In my initial attempts I forgot to score the bread...
In my initial attempts I forgot to score the bread… Note the nice rings imparted by the banneton

 

I didn't like this bread much, although it looks very nice and medieval. I'm so used to sandwich bread...
I didn’t like this bread much, although it looks very nice and medieval. I’m so used to sandwich bread…

 

 

However, if you don't mind open sandwiches, then you can enjoy great round loaves :-)
However, if you don’t mind open sandwiches, then you can enjoy great round loaves 🙂

 

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