Banneton baskets are essential for creating delicious, perfectly-formed bread. Proper care and storage is vital for keeping bannetons hygienic and serviceable. Here's how to care for and store your banneton baskets so they last for years of bread-making.
Start by Conditioning Your Bannetons
Before using your bannetons for the first time, you'll need to condition them. It's a simple process that involves creating a thin layer of flour and moisture over the course of about three uses. The layer helps balance moisture levels while providing a perfectly smooth surface on which to prove your dough. Before each use, sprinkle your banneton with flour to prevent your dough from sticking.
For more detailed instructions regarding how to conditioning your bannetons, please refer to our other blog "How to Prepare A New Banneton"
How - and How Often - Should You Clean Your Bannetons?
If cared for correctly, a hobby baker's bread proofing basket may never need to be washed. It's important to do so only if absolutely necessary; if mould has formed, for instance, or the conditioning flour layer has become thick and crusty.
To clean your bannetons, soak them in cool tap water for five minutes and gently scrub them with a bristle brush. Never use soap and don't scrub rattan bannetons too hard as you'll distress the natural fibres and cause the basket to unravel. After washing, leave your bannetons to dry naturally in direct sunlight, perhaps on your windowsill. On less sunny days, a warm, dry place will suffice.
Some bakers use banneton liners for convenience. These should be coated with flour before dough-making then rinsed clean and left to dry before the next use.
Where and How to Store Your Bannetons
Preventing mould growth in your bannetons is crucial as mould ruins the taste of your bread and can also harm your health. After each use, air your bannetons for several hours to prevent the humid conditions that cause mould to grow.
Between uses, store your bannetons in a dry, well-ventilated place. However, do not stack your bannetons on top of one another as stacking generates humidity and therefore mould. Allowing air to circulate between each banneton will keep them all perfectly dry and prolong their lifespan.
Professional bakers often store their bannetons over the oven. At home, you can keep your bannetons on top of your fridge or on a kitchen shelf.
What to do if Mould Occurs
Placing your bread proofing baskets in the oven for 45 minutes at 130˚C will effectively destroy any mould that has formed. Mould and flour residue will be easier to brush out so you'll be left with a clean, dry banneton once more.
With a Little Care, Your Bannetons Could Last a Lifetime!
Just think of all the tasty bread you'll be able to bake in your beautiful bannetons! Imagine all those crisp, tempting crusts that crackle when you break into them; all the soft, fluffy bread inside, fresh from the oven. Now you know how to care for and store your banneton baskets, you'll get the most from them and become a true star baker!