Plastic Proofing Baskets

LeadDog's picture
I bought a couple of plastic proofing baskets and I have problems with the dough sticking to the basket.  I have tried flour, rye flour, and rye flour with olive oil.  The dough still sticks.  I was wondering if anyone has a good idea that will work?  I was also wondering if the dough is sticking because the flour I use is fresh ground whole wheat?
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celia's picture
celia 2008 November 19

Duane, I'm assuming you mean the plastic bannetons?  I use plastic serving baskets, and don't have a problem with them sticking - I just spray with oil first.  I don't even bother to dust them with flour anymore.  And my doughs are quite wet - often 75 - 80%.  Here is a photo of mine.

sues 2008 November 19

I use both plastic and cain baskets with a linan liner, it obsorbs any exta moisture. You can find old linan shirts  in secand hand clothing shops or opp shops as we call them. You can get 2 or 3 peices out of  large shirt.
best of luck
lamp's picture
lamp 2008 November 22
G'day Duane, I have a few plastic bannetons (they were the first I purchased) and I have been baking with them for some time. They always stick! I have tried a liberal brushing with oil, wheat flour, rye flour, fine semolina and a combination of oil with a dusting....even a thick coat of all the above and nothing works.

You can work the dough out of the bannetons with patience, it does distort the dough but it soon settles down to the correct shape. The one thing you cannot do is get impatient, try to force the dough out and tear it. Just upend the banneton over your peel and gently rock it from side to side until it falls out, it may take some time and you want to do it just above the peel so as it starts to come loose the peel starts to take some of the weight of the dough. I think that while the cane absorbs some of the moisture and therefore lets the dough form a slight "skin", the dough "sweats" against the plastic and this causes it to stick. I considered using a cloth liner too but I like the lines you get on the loaves from bannetons and you would lose that if you use a liner.

By brother and Wet decided to start using bannetons, so we all banded together and put in an order for some cane ones of various shapes. The guy tried to sell us plastic ones but because of my experience with them I specifically wanted cane....and so did the others. After a long wait they finally arrived at my brothers place yesterday. I am just about to get a sponge or two going and I hope to use them tonight. :-)
LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2008 November 22
Lamp that is how I get the dough out of the baskets now.  I like the lines that the basket gives so I didn't want to do a liner but think I will.  The other option is to build my own baskets since I have Willow trees growing on my property.
Millciti's picture
Millciti 2008 November 22
Duane,  You are so creative... I only have wild grape... which might work, or poison ivy... I think I'll skip that...oak... too hard, or maple... maybe?

So do you have some kind of do it yourself info...?  If you try it can you please document the process?  There is a place here in Ohio that makes really cool baskets from maple, check out the size of this basket.

Of course it's not a banneton but it is kinda cool. I visited the factory a few years ago the process is pretty interesting.

lamp's picture
lamp 2008 November 23
TP, Bills baskets are a real work of art but I don't think I would have the patience to make them.

Duane, just to let you know, I had my first bake using real cane bannetons today and it confirmed my thoughts on plastic. Having only used plastic until now, I wondered if it was my technique or if I was doing something wrong but after using cane and having something to compare the plastic ones against I can report that the plastic ones cause trouble and the cane bannetons are a joy to use. I just upended the cane bannetons over the peel and the dough came out, no fuss, no sticking, no problem and no distortion of the dough!

The flour lines from the coils are there in the bread (the loaves look excellent) and there is less disturbance to the dough because you are not trying to work the dough free. My plan now is to line the plastic ones so I can use them with really wet dough mixes....they will be great for that, but my standard SD loaves will all be formed in cane from now on!
LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2008 December 15
I baked bread today in my pastic basket lined with an oiled tea towel.  The bread poped right out and I could even see the pattern but when I baked it most of the patterns were lost.  I heard or read somewhere that high hydration doughs don't need to be slashed so this one wasn't slashed.  It really has a nice brown look to it but it is kind of plain.  Maybe I'll make a basket or two as a winter project.  Maybe I'll use some the canes off of my grapes vines to make a basket, that should be different.

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2008 December 15
Funny you say that because I was thinking of making a stencil for this bread.  Now I just need to come up with a design.  I have an idea and I think you will be surprised.
Millciti's picture
Millciti 2008 December 16
LD & TP,

Did you see this interesting Blog about stenciling bread ?

I just found corn flour at my local Amish baking supply store... Lots of great flours there!8)  I want to try making this bread with sourdough only... I am thinking of using some durum to beef up the gluten lacking in the corn. 

LD let me know if the grapevine works out... I might be able to use the wild grape in my back yard. 

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2008 December 21
Ok I'm now crawling in the area of stenciling.  Maybe one of these days I'll advance to the next stage.


I lost some flour somewhere along the way so it is try, try, try again.  Maybe TP can figure it out.  I already have new ideas.
TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2008 December 21
That is indeed a surprise, LD! Very nicely stencilled....the 'you' (3rd pinyin sound), which means 'friend' for those of you who don't know. Never dreamed that you'll make a chinese stencil. What a great idea, since single chinese characters can communicate a lot of ideas. What did you make the stencil out of? Thin plastic film?


LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2008 December 22

I was thinking of chinese characters when I said I had an idea.  I like them for the reasons you said.  You aslo get to explain the character to the people who see it.  They can have very interesting stories behind them.  I got the graphics for the stencil here.  Now it helps if you know chinese because if you search for friend you get this.friendI stumbled upon kind of a backdoor at their site that makes it easier.  In the following URL just replace friend with whatever word you are curious about.
I downloaded the above figure and worked on it in Photoshop Elements a little bit.  Then I printed it out and cut the figure out with an exacto knife.  Now the instructions that I read for doing stencils on bread said to spray the dough with water then place your stencil down.  I did that and being normal paper it soaked up the water so I'm working on a different plan.  When I dusted with flour it looked good.  The lower right leg was just a little faint when I pulled the stencil off.  When I opened my cooker more had disappeared.  I think I'm off to a good start.  Another way to do the stencil is leave the black and have the flour make the outline.  I might do that too.  I have a new stencil made from some heavier waxy cardboard.
trentmaier 2008 December 23
Gday allSanta delivered me my cane bannetons yesterday (ordered them from this site), so I was very excited to use them. I made up a 73% hydration sourdough, and sprinkled rye flour all through the bannetons, and though I didnt go crazy with it, there was a fair bit of flour on every level. When it came time to popping out the loaves, they wouldnt budge. They took alot of coaxing, and tore when it finally came out, so the loaves "deflated". I have had this problem before with liberally floured cloths, so bought the bannetons thinking I shouldnt have that problem. DO I need to really lay on the flour super thick in these things? I will go out and buy some rice flour tomorrow, but I thought that rye flour was just about as good. If there is any tips on getting the loaf not to stick, I would love to hear it. Despite going flat on me, they taste great at least.All the bestTrent
TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2008 December 23
For brand new bannetons <insert heart>, I rub in, not just sprinkle, lots of rice flour, up and over the rim. Once they get seasoned, ie. I don't wash them every round...just sun them, rye works, or lighter flouring is fine.

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2008 December 23
Before I forget, I must thank Terri, for that breadcetera bit on the stencilling. Very nice, Steve. I was thinking instead of stencilling the middle stem, you can slash?

LD, again, thanks! My breads shall be adopting a more chinese slant henceforth. Why don't you use polyester film to cut your stencils? More lasting. You can find it easily there. I go nuts at Michael's!

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2008 December 24
I'm using a heavy plastic that some of our food comes in.  The last one worked out just fine.  I gave the bread away so no picture.  Yes I have even more ideas of putting chinese art on my loaves now.  This is going to be fun.  I might have to start a stencil blog when I get it figured out.
trentmaier 2008 December 24
TPI will rub some rice flour in good and proper, and see if that helps my problem. I am also wondering if my amateur shaping techniques arent part of the problem? Maybe I should go back to some dryer doughs until I get it down pat....All the bestTrent
lamp's picture
lamp 2008 December 24
Trent, if your loaves do stick in your bannetons, hold them on one side until your dough frees itself a bit (this may take a few minutes) then repeat on the other side. When it is fairly free on the sides, upend your banneton just over the peel and let gravity slowly free your dough from the base. If your dough has enough elasticity it will not tear and will recover quickly to the right shape.

If using really high hydration doughs, line your banneton with a cloth and really rub the flour into the fabric then give the cloth another good sprinkle of flour before placing you dough in it to prove.

I use coarse rye flour in my bannetons but let us know how you go with the rice flour.....

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2008 December 27
Ok in the book "Local Breads" he says to mist the dough before you do and stencil and dust with flour.  That was my problem.  This time I did no misting and now I feel I'm just starting to walk in the area stenciling.  The loaf that I just did uses Oak leaves for the stencil.  I live in an area called Oak Flat so I figured that would be a good design for this loaf.  This opens up a whole new area of things to use to make stencils.  Anyway here is "Oak Flat Sourdough".Oak Flat Sourdough
LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2008 December 30
I also have an elonggated plastic basket that I have to use an oiled tea towel to keep the dough from sticking.  This time I made Walnut Cranberry Whole Wheat Sourdough so I got some walnut leaves off of our tree and used them as a stencil.  This is fun and it opens up lots of new areas for stenciling.

Walnut Cranberry Whole Wheat Sourdough
LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2008 December 31
Yea I was getting a kick out of using leaves for a stencil.  I was going to do some Chinese Bambo style artwork on one but next year.  :)  Or maybe Orchids.  Anyway back to the design of the first one.  It turned out just right this time.  The bread is Whole Wheat Sourdough Cheese Bread.  That is the first time I have put cheese in bread.  It is a pain having to wait for it to cool down to see how it tastes.Whole Wheat Sourdough Cheese Bread

I went and checked our grapevines out and they are good and dormant now.  I think I'll have to soak the canes in water to make the bends in the baskets but I'm not sure.
TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2008 December 31
Now, that's another new one...orchids. Not real life orchids, though? Too unflat to stencil. Flowers...what a beautiful thought.

celia's picture
celia 2008 December 31

Duane, your stencils are really impressive!  I tried it once, and gave up, as it doesn't suit the bread I make, which tends to burst in the oven - I can't even make slashes keep their shape!  Great job!
Trent 2009 January 6
Gday everyoneSorry this is such a late post to this topic again, but xmas is a chaotic period! Anyway, jut wanted to let you know that I took TeckPoh's advice on the rice flour, and rubbed it into my cane bannetons very well, and the dough pretty much fell out, so it was a great success for me! While it was a success, it also showed me that it is probably my shaping technique that is allowing my batons to fall flat, cause flat in the oven it went. :-(I will do a search on shaping tips, but just wanted to pass on that the rice flour trick worked really, really well. Thanks TP.All the bestTrent
Wet's picture
Wet 2009 January 9
Good news Trent, I'm still having sticking problems with my well floured bannetons. 
TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2009 January 9
Just a note. While rice flour works the best (for me), it lacks flavour. Sometimes, I add some rye just to boost da flavour.

davo 2009 January 9

Trent as a novice's guess, I reckon if your loaf is going flat in the oven it's more likely overproved than poorly shaped. This might also be true for any loaf that's tearing if you upend it - the dough should (in my breif experience) have enough resilience so that it doesn't tear, even if it is sticking for a while in the basket...


Also, one thing I find helps loaves come out of banettons is to not only flour the banetton, also rub a bit of flour on the shaped loaf before you upend it into the banetton.

trentmaier 2009 January 9
Gday TPI am sure that the rice flour isnt the best tasting, but I just figured I would use it for a few batches until the banneton is "seasoned" enough to allow me to use alot more rye flour. Thanks again for the tip, it really helped ease my frustration, except for the loaves falling flat....
DavoThanks for the tip. I make my 73% hydration dough about 9pm at night, and leave it to bulk ferment a little in the fridge overnight. I pull it out about 8am, stretch and fold it, leave it an hour, then shape. I usually allow 4 hours or so to proof, before putting into the oven. It just so happens that I have 2 loaves that are about 3 hours into its shaped proofing now, so I have got the oven on and will put it in within 15 mins to see if that helps. It hasnt quite yet doubled in size, but it is very possible, as a complete novice, that I have been overproving.Will let you know how it goes.All the bestTrent
davo 2009 January 9

OK, try this: Make your dough a little earlier, say 7.30 or 8 pm, then bulk ferment it with stretch and folds over say 2-3 hours or so (less if warm, more if cold), then shape and immediately put the loaves to bed in the fridge in the banettons at say 10.30 that night. Then pull them out whenever you like the next day and let them warm to room temp while you heat the oven up (bring out one at a time if you can only fit one in the oven). After a while I can judge if they need more than an hour to warm up, just from their size in the banetton and "springyness". If they are overproved, they will not spring back when you push a finger into them (I wet my finger so I can judge spring as opposed to stickiness!), they will flatten when placed onto a peel, and they will deflate noticeably when slashed - also I find overproved loaves are dense in the base when cut open - maybe because those air cells collapse badly??? If just right they will spring a little when poked, stay full height on the peel, not collapse when slashed, and the slashes will open out just so when baked. If underproved, they will burst beyond the slashes and tear a bit, and won't have bubbles as big as they could be - so while it will spring mightily, if won't be so airy inside. For me, I usually find that a single hour out of the fridge before baking is about right (= over warm-up time) - I've heard of people baking straight out of the fridge, but I gather the dough is better at or close to room temp as it goes in the oven... If I give it more than an hour out of the fridge, it's usually overproved, but it depends on a heap of variable to do with your ratios of levain to bread dough, flour type, kitchen characteristics, fridge etc - so figure what works for you and tune from there.

Also, you want temps around 20 degrees - maybe up to 22 or so but not much more when fermenting the dough - I did one batch one night at around 28 celcius and while they exploded greatly - including in the oven, they were brittle in the crumb - I am guessing the yeasts got stuck into the food so much they ate away the gluten structure! I've been advised to cycle bulk fermenting dough in and out of fridge, if it's that warm in the kitchen.

At least, these are the mistakes that I make!

trentmaier 2009 January 9
DavoI put the bread in the oven at 3 hours after shaping, and slashed fairly shallow to stop it spreading like it has in the past. The bread actually sprang quite alot on the oven, which I was very happy about, but tore along the centre slash really badly, so I guess that means it was underproved.Wow, it is a fairly tricky line to tell if it is underproved or overprooved, huh? I will try the wet finger method next time, but may end up doing as you do, and shaping before I put it into the fridge at night. Thanks for taking hte time to detail your schedule.Its currently about 25C up here, so maybe that is why it is overprooved at 4 hours...All the bestTrent
LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2009 December 30

 I finally got my plastic proofing basket to work.  I just made a bread that was 67% hydration, oiled and rice floured the basket.  The dough fell out of the basket and cooked up great with the design on the bread.  I think I was trying to use a dough that was to high in hydration when I was having problems before.  I'll do another test in a couple of days.

Snr Pedro 2016 February 11

G'day Guys,

Long time baker - first time caller... :)

I stumbled upon this thread by accident when searching for some proving baskets.  I may of missed this in the comments, but if you haven't tried this tip/trick, give it a go.

When you mold/shape your loaf (prior to placing in the basket) make sure you dip it (with some pressure to) into your dry flour/semolina (polenta is even tastier!) as well as dusting the basket.  After dipping the dough, place it on a tray for maybe 15 minutes before placing into your basket.

The reason being, with the dough being so wet the dipping allows the flour to cling to the dough and form a skin, which inevitably helps form a lovely crust when baking.  That is why most artisan breads you see have semolina or polenta (or even durina) on top - its because they are hydroscopic.  The flour on the basket then becomes a sort of precautionary barrier.  It's the "failsafe" to make sure the dough doesn't stick when placing on your peel.

If you're baking on a baker's stone or tray, try this tip.  When you place your dough in the baskets, bake sure the baskets are on a tray.  Once you have reached the desired prove height, have your stone/tray placed on top of the baskets and then simply flip.  Creates less handling and therefore, errors.  Remove the (then) bottom tray, and baskets; whella!

Jenna's picture
Jenna 2016 February 18

Thank you for those tips.  Didn't know the science behind semolina/polenta/durina - hydroscopic, like that.  

Always, Jenna


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