Why Are Banneton Baskets So Useful For Baking?

There are plenty of tools out there for the home bread baker, from bread machines to dough scrapers, clay pots for baking, and French lames for scoring dough (which is the one bread-baking rule you should never break). All of these things can seem overwhelming for a beginning baker, until you realize that so many of these are designed to make bread baking easier, not more complicated.

Baking inside of a clay pot or a dutch oven, for instance, can help trap and retain moisture, leading to a perfectly crunchy crust. A professional lame for scoring dough is often razor sharp, whereas a duller kitchen knife can pull and tear the dough when it's scored, releasing much-needed air in the dough and leading to an unattractive loaf.

When it comes to shaping your loaves, there's a tool that both professional and home bakers have relied on for years and it's called a banneton. The good news is they are both affordable and easy to find, and once you start incorporating them into your bread-baking routine you'll never look back.

The benefits of using a banneton basket

They're called bannetons and they are essential in creating perfectly shaped loaves every time you bake. These pale-colored baskets usually come in round or oval shapes, either with a linen liner or without.

The concept behind their use is simple. Most doughs require a second rise after being shaped, and by allowing that second rise to happen inside of a banneton rather than just leaving a free-formed loaf out on a baking sheet you are much more likely to end up with a properly shaped loaf as your end product. The basket supports and shapes the loaf as it rises, and it can then be gently tipped or placed onto a sheet for baking. No more wonky ovals or misshapen circles of bread!

If you use the banneton with the liner the end product will be a smooth-textured exterior, however you can also let your loaf rise inside the ridged basket without a liner. This method will leave a series of rings and indentations on your loaf for a more rustic, old-school look.

Bannetons work with pretty much any yeast-risen bread recipe, like this rustic sourdough bread recipe or this homemade rye bread recipe. They're easily found online and also fairly affordable, with many basket and liner combinations coming in at under $20. Order yourself a banneton today and up your bread game, your loaves will thank you.