This is a very common problem that my students often ask me about. It can be so frustrating to finally get to the point when you are ready to take your bread out of the proofing basket, turn it on to the baking tray and then you realise your sourdough bread is stuck to the banetton!
In this blog post I wanted to share with you my top tips on how to make sure your sourdough bread (or any bread for that matter) doesn’t get stuck in your banetton and what to do if it does.
What to do if your sourdough bread is already stuck in your banetton and you are trying to take it out
Be very careful, slow and gentle!
Turn your sourdough banetton upside down and let the weight of the bread slowly ‘peel’ off from the banetton.
You can gently try to peel the bread dough, but don’t force it
With a bit of luck your bread will come out although it might be mishappen
If the bread is slightly deflated, don’t score it and just put it straight to the oven on the highest temperature you have (the bread should bounce back and will ‘grow back’
What to do if your bread is stuck so much that by taking it out, you’ve torn the top layer of the bread off
If the rest of the bread looks still risen, bake it. It might not win the best look prize, but I’m sure it will be edible.
If the bread dough is beyond saving (e.g. deflated and most of the top sourdough is stuck to the basket), use the remaining dough as a form of starter and incorporate it to a new bread.
You can make any yeasted bread recipe from my favourite list and add the deflated bread dough to it. The sourdough bread dough will flavour the normal bread and you will still end up with an amazing bread to share with your family!
How to prevent the sourdough sticking to the banetton baskets next time
Use gluten-free or low gluten flour
What makes the dough to stick is gluten, so eliminating the gluten element is a good start for preventing your dough not to stick to the basket. Rice or potato flour is particularly good as it soaks up the moisture and sort of works as a barrier between your sourdough bread and the basket.
What type of flour is best to use
- Gluten free flour (Buckwheat, Lupin flour) or low gluten flour (spelt, rye)
- Rice flour (naturally gluten free flour)
- Wholemeal bread flour that’s more coarsely milled and will stick less
Use bread banneton cloth to line the basket
I prefer to have my sourdough bread with the traditional banneton swirly lines, so I don’t tend to use the fabric liners. But they do help with making the sourdough bread less sticky. You still need to add some flour to season them otherwise they would stick as well.
Make sure your sourdough bread is tightly shapen
I’ve also noticed, that my sourdough bread sticks less when I tighten the loaf more when shaping (just before I put it in the bread basket).
This is also good for keeping the height of the bread, stops the sourdough from spreading and it prevents is from deflating as you turn it on the baking tin.
Use more of the bread flour you have
If you don’t have rice or gluten free flours at hand, just use the flour you’ve made your sourdough with and use more of it. Thoroughly brush out the old flour from your banneton basket first with a thick brush and then add fresh flour.
Try a longer prooving time in the cold
The longer your sourdough bread ferments, the better the flavour and the more chances it has to develop. I often use fridge to keep my sourdough bread to deliberately slow down the proving time.
I’ve noticed that the sourdough develops a kind of thicker skin and it’s much firmer than if I leave it outside in the room temperature. If the bread sticks, it’s easier to tease out of the basket as it’s nice and firm and less likely to torn.
Look after your banneton baskets
Each time you use your banetton basket, the moisture from the bread soaks up into the basket. After you’ve finished your baking for the day, make sure that you leave the basket somewhere to dry naturally.
Leaving out on open shelf (where it’s nice and warm from the heat of the oven is perfect. It’s also a good idea to brush the basket to get rid of any stuck up pieces of bread or flour.