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Back to Basics With Your Banneton


There is a distinct feeling of autumn in the air and many are rolling up their sleeves to get bread baking again. So what better time to dust off your bannetons and have a sieve through our helpful recap and advice in this week's newsletter? We get fairly regular calls from bakers struggling with their bannetons as I know Vanessa does too and, having messed things up myself more times than I’ll admit, I know how demoralising it can be to have a deflated loaf after all the effort put in to making what should be something to behold. Happily for me my loaves don’t suffer this indignity any longer as I now get it right each time.

Don't forget to book your place at the second Crop to Crust conference (see below). Having been to the first one some years ago, I know it will be a very interesting day.

One of the things I am often asked is what a banneton is for and how is should be used. It's simply a support for your loaf while it is rising. As well as providing support, if using a cane one it creates a beautiful pattern and produces a consistently perfectly shaped loaf.

Bannetons made from natural materials create a slightly humid microclimate between the dough and banneton during proofing. The natural materials draw away moisture from the dough, while it rises, creating a skin on the dough. This is what makes a superb traditional crust on artisan bread.

A banneton is like a good wine, it gets better with age. A brand new one is effectively ‘green’ and needs conditioning before it is ready to use. They work best with a thin build up of moisture and flour which needs to be worked in to all its nooks and crannies. The idea is to put a permanent layer of flour onto the banneton so that it adheres to the fibres. On first use, lightly mist the new banneton with water, then dust with flour and tip out the excess the day before first use. This is the beginning of your flour and moisture build up. After three regular uses of the banneton you can expect it to have perfect moisture levels to retain a dusting of flour and this facilitates easy release of your dough. Continue to liberally apply flour to the banneton every time you use it. I prefer to use rice flour, but Patrick swears by rye flour. Any flour is suitable as long as the dough comes out of the banneton nice and easily.

Banneton maintenance is key to keeping and building a coating. You should never wash the banneton or get it wet. Traditionally a baker would put it in the warmth of the sun to dry assuming that the sun makes itself available. In its absence simply put the banneton in a warm and dry place. Once dry, knock the banneton on the side of a table to release any loose flour and then use a proving basket cleaning brush to remove excess flour. Bannetons should be stored in a dry place away from odours. A well-conditioned and maintained banneton will serve you well for many years.
We have a huge range of bannetons to choose from at BakeryBits and these are my favourites:

500g / 1.1lb Round Cane Banneton From: £11.66

500g / 1.1lb cane round banneton or proving basket for bread bakers

500g Round Seagrass Proving Basket £9.24

Round seagrass banneton or proving basket designed to support 500g of bread dough while it proves.

500g Heavy-Duty Round Lined Banneton £22.32

Heavy-Duty lined banneton, 500g capacity and 21cm diameter. Strong wicker basket and heavy-duty linen, stitched in place suitable for commercial use. They are both attractive and robust, being made from strong materials, assembled to withstand a busy bakery or kitchen.

500g Oval Seagrass Proving Basket £9.24

Oval seagrass banneton or proving basket designed to support 500g of bread dough while it proves.

1kg / 2.2lb Oval Cane Banneton £13.80

1kg oval cane banneton or proving basket for bread bakers

1kg Heavy-Duty Round Lined Banneton £22.80

Heavy-Duty lined banneton, 1kg capacity and 23cm diameter. Strong wicker basket and heavy-duty linen, stitched in place suitable for commercial use. They are both attractive and robust, being made from strong materials, assembled to withstand a busy bakery or kitchen.

Vanessa Kimbell runs the Sourdough School, Northampton

 

WHAT'S NEW

Following requests we now stock the Bioreal Dried Organic Gluten-Free Yeast which comes in a handy pack of 5 sachets for £2.50. It can be used in any bread baking – gluten-free or not.

20% OFF GLUTEN FREE YEAST THIS WEEKEND ONLY!

TO LAUNCH OUR NEW GLUTEN-FREE DRIED YEAST WE ARE OFFERING A 20% DISCOUNT THIS WEEKEND ONLY. SIMPLY ADD A YEAST TO YOUR BASKET AND USE THE COUPON CODE BIOREALGF

WHAT'S ON

Crop to Crust | Saturday 8th October 2016

Redbournbury Mill

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) Mills Section in partnership with the Real Bread Campaign and the Traditional Cornmillers Guild is hosting the second Crop to Crust event, at Sacrewell Watermill, Thornaugh, near Peterborough.

Whether you are a farmer interested in growing wheat for traditional mills, someone involved in traditional milling, or a baker - domestic, artisan or commercial - Crop to Crust II is the event for you!

Links to online booking and more information are found here.

Do you have a sourdough question for Vanessa? Send it to us and the best ones will appear in our next postbag edition and receive a dough whisk.

Suggestion Box

Are we missing something? An usual flour, a particular tin, or a special piece of equipment you’d like to see on our shelves? Let us know and if we decide to stock it, you will receive the very first one of the item you suggest.

Don’t forget to take a look at our sale lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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