Blackbird Bread Guest Post – Banneton Proving Baskets

May 15, 2013Sew White

Banneton Proving Baskets look complicated to use but with this step by step blog post you will master it.


Hello from Blackbird Bread ! We’re a micro-bakery based in Twickenham, baking homemade goodness for neighbours, friends, markets and local shops. We bake from home, using a domestic oven and we love being able to provide people with bespoke bread!

The rather fabulous Sew White has asked us to test out the latest addition to her baking range, a banneton for making 500g loaves. The banneton is a nice bit of baking kit. It gives shape to the dough and is great for slow proving dough, such as a sourdough.

This banneton is lined, which gives you the option of using the liner or removing it. This gives two different styles of loaf – if you use the liner, you get a softer crust, but if you like the ‘artisan’ look, then simply remove the liner and heavily flour the banneton so the dough doesn’t stick to it.

Sew White Oval Banneton 1 Sew White Oval Banneton 2

I have used wholemeal flour to test drive the Banneton Proving Baskets. Wholemeal is a lovely flour. It gives tang and bite to a loaf, particularly when toasted. You need to add a little more salt than when baking with white flour but it’s worth it!

Before we start, a quick note on the photos. I have used pics using different types of flour that I’ve taken for various posts, but it’s the technique that’s important here!

This post is adapted from a guest post on Modern Mummy

A wholemeal loaf recipe using the Banneton Proving Basket

Makes one medium-sized round loaf – enough for two people to share for a couple of days


Strong wholemeal bread flour – 500g (plus more for dusting)
Dry active yeast – 7g or one of the pre-packed yeast sachets
Salt – 10g (approx 1 and a half teaspoons)
Water – 200-250ml (tepid – too hot it will kill the yeast, too cold it won’t make it work)


Banneton Proving Basket – 500g

Measuring jug
Large mixing bowl
Wooden spoon
Scales (digital is best for baking but whatever you have)
Roasting tray
Chopping board (to knead and prove on or worktop)
Wire rack

Sharp knife
Tea towel


How to make the wholemeal loaf using the Banneton Proving Baskets

Place all the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl. Using the wooden spoon, mix together, then gradually add the water, stirring. This will get easier as the mixture turns to dough. There is no set amount of water, so you may not need all of it. Add the water until the dough is sticky but not sloppy. (Note: if you have added too much water, add more bread flour a handful at a time). Stir it until you have a soft dough and form into a round.

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Turn out onto a lightly floured chopping board. Don’t use too much flour or you’ll be sweeping up for the remainder of your day – it can also make the finished bread dry. Knead for ten minutes. No skimping now. It needs it! You can’t do this for less, as the gluten in the flour needs to develop and stretch. Use whatever kneading technique you know. As long as you keep stretching the dough, using one hand or two, then you’ll feel the change in the dough after several minutes. If it gets too sticky, add a bit more flour, some to your hands and some to the board.

After the knead, prod the dough with your fingers until almost flat.

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Now stretch the dough into a ball, as follows. While holding the dough with one hand, grab the tip of the dough with your other hand and gently stretch it, try not to break it, then fold it back into the centre of the dough.

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Repeat this in a clockwise fashion, each time folding the dough into itself until it looks like this …  (it won’t look exactly like this as these photos are using different flour).

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Flip the dough over and, using the upturned palms of your hands, shape the dough into a ball, carefully spinning the dough and sealing it underneath. You now have a bottom and a top to your loaf – the top is facing you and should be smooth and the base will look like origami!

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Wipe the mixing bowl clean, sprinkle with a little flour and place the dough inside it, bottom side down, sprinkle a little flour on the top of the dough then cover the bowl in clingfilm and leave for 45mins-1 hour. It doesn’t have to be in a warm place, the clingfilm will create its own warmth for the dough to prove.

After the first prove the dough should have doubled in size. (If it hasn’t, leave for an extra 30 minutes). Remove from the bowl onto a floured work surface, flip it over and knock it back. Don’t ever punch it or anything macho. Use your fingertips as described above, prod it all over, turn it the right side up, shape into a ball again and leave on the chopping board, covered in a tea towel for 15 minutes to rest.

Switch the oven on to 200C.

After this resting time, flour the work surface, flip the dough over and prod it all over again, this time gently pulling at the corners of the dough to make a square.


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Now, we shape the dough.. This bit looks fiddly, but I hope I’ve managed to make it as easy as possible! Pinch the four corners, stretch gently away from the dough one at a time, and fold them into the centre of the dough …

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until it looks like this …

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then fold the new four corners you have created in, one at a time …

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until it looks like this …

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then fold the top part of the dough over onto the bottom part of the dough.

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Flip it over and tuck the ends under the dough as neatly as possible. It should look like this.

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This is the shape for the banneton. Gently roll the dough a few times, sealing the seam on the base.

Now, depending on whether you’re using the liner for the banneton, or taking it out, you still need to flour the banneton. I use white flour as it leaves nice marks on the wholemeal loaf!

Flip the dough over so it’s seam side up and place in the Banneton Proving Baskets.

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Cover with a tea towel and leave for 45 mins-1 hour.

Flour a roasting tray.

When the dough has doubled in size, carefully upturn the Banneton Proving Baskets, placing one hand underneath it and place the dough onto the roasting tray. Remember to flip it the right way round!

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The lines will not be on loaf if you use the liner

 Using a sharp breadknife, slash the top of the loaf. I use three slashes.

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Spray the loaf with water (top and sides) and place the tray into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes at 200C, then reduce the temperature to 180C (you may want to turn the tray around to check it isn’t cooking on one side more than the other) and bake for a further 15-20 minutes. After this turn the loaf over and bake the base of the loaf for at least 5 minutes. Take out of the oven (carefully) if the loaf sounds hollow when tapped, then it’s done. If not, pop back in for a couple of minutes more.

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Artisan style without the liner.

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Softer crust with the liner.

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Twitter: @blackbirdbread

Thank you Blackbird Bread for testing out the Banneton Proving Baskets and producing such a wonderful post on how to use it!

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