How to use a banneton proofing basket?
How to use a banneton proofing basket? A banneton proofing basket, also known as a brotform or proofing brotform, is a basket used in bread baking to support the dough during its final rise, also known as proofing. Here's how you can use a banneton proofing basket:
Preparing the Banneton:
  1. Flouring the Banneton:
    • Before placing the dough in the banneton, generously dust it with flour. This prevents the dough from sticking to the basket during the proofing process.
    • You can use all-purpose flour or a mixture of flour and rice flour to prevent sticking.
  2. Shaking Off Excess Flour:
    • After dusting the banneton, gently shake off any excess flour. You want a thin, even coating to prevent sticking without having too much loose flour.

Shaping and Placing the Dough:
  1. Shaping the Dough:
    • Shape your bread dough into a round or oval shape, depending on the shape of your banneton.
    • Make sure the surface of the dough is smooth.
  2. Placing the Dough in the Banneton:
    • Carefully place the shaped dough into the floured banneton, seam side down. The smooth side of the dough will become the top of your bread.
  3. Covering the Dough:
    • To prevent the dough from drying out during proofing, cover it with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap.

Proofing:
  1. Allowing the Dough to Rise:
    • Let the dough rise in the banneton for the recommended time in your recipe. The time may vary depending on the type of bread and the ambient temperature.
  2. Checking for Proofing:
    • To check if the dough is ready, gently press your finger into the surface. If the indentation springs back slowly, it's ready. If it springs back quickly, it needs more time.

Baking Preparation:
  1. Preheating the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven and any baking tools you're using (baking stone, Dutch oven, etc.) according to your recipe.
  2. Inverting the Dough:
    • Before baking, gently invert the banneton onto a parchment paper or a prepared baking surface. The floured side of the dough will now be facing up.
  3. Scoring the Dough:
    • If your recipe calls for it, score the top of the dough with a sharp knife or razor blade. This allows the bread to expand properly during baking.
  4. Baking:
    • Transfer the dough (on the parchment paper) to the preheated oven and bake according to your recipe.

Using a banneton helps the dough maintain its shape and structure during the final rise, resulting in a beautifully shaped loaf with a nice crust.