A Banneton is a reed or wicker basket used to raise dough. The woven or spiral design in the sides and bottom of the banneton gives a pleasing design to the finished loaf.
Bannetons are available in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, from small ones, suitable for a small sandwich loaf to very large, suitable for 8 to 10 pound loaves, and from round boules to oblong. Any shape the reed worker can think of, he can produce. However, if you just want to rise bread in a bowl, you can line the bowl with a towel, flour the towel heavily, and place the dough into the bowl. It works.
To use a banneton, you have to coat the interior liberally with flour (some say rice flour) so the moisture in the dough won’t bleed through the flour and make the dough stick to the banneton. You can also use parchment paper or a floured kitchen towel, but if you use these, you’ll lose most of the interesting design in the finished bread.
The next step is the trickiest. You have to invert the banneton onto a peel to transfer the bread to the oven or invert the banneton so the dough falls directly onto the oven surface or a baking sheet. I usually place a sheet of parchment paper over the banneton, place my peel on top of the parchment paper, cross my fingers and gently invert the banneton and peel together, hoping that when I lift the banneton from the dough it will come away clean.
If you’re unclear about what’s going on, here’s a link that may help you
Here’s a picture of my banneton.
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