Baking bread is something that people enjoy doing for multiple reasons. It’s fun to learn how to bake different types of bread just so that you can expand your baking knowledge.
Being able to bake tasty homemade bread that your family can enjoy will also be very nice. If you’re starting to make shaped loaves of bread, then you’re likely using a banneton.
Using a round proofing basket isn’t necessarily hard, but sometimes people have problems with the process. For example, you might have the dough stick to the banneton.
This can make the entire process a lot more difficult than it should be. Keep reading to learn what to do about dough that’s sticking to the banneton so that you can shape loaves of bread during proofing with ease.
There Are Multiple Reasons Why This Can Happen
Generally, there isn’t just one reason why the dough will start sticking like this. You might not be able to figure out what the problem is until you’ve gone over all of the possibilities.
Below, you’ll see all of the different things that can go wrong that will cause the dough to get stuck when you’re proofing it. Once you know more about what can go wrong, it should be easier to figure out what’s happening when you’re trying to shape bread loaves.
Your Proofing Basket Needs to Be Treated or Seasoned
One of the most common problems with proofing baskets has to do with them not being treated. If you’re using a new one, then you might discover that it hasn’t been treated or seasoned yet.
Is your basket made out of bamboo? This is a very common material that is used to make these products, and you’ll often see that dough will sometimes get stuck on the ridges of the basket.
Thankfully, you can make things easier by taking the time to treat the basket. Sometimes this process is referred to as conditioning the basket or seasoning the basket as well.
It’s recommended to mist the basket using tap water. You can put tap water in a simple spray bottle and then thoroughly mist the basket before moving on to the next step.
Next, you’re going to need to dust it with flour before tipping the proofing basket to get rid of the excess flour. There will be a layer of flour present now and it’ll be easier to do what you need to do.
Experts recommend doing this treatment process the day before you use the proofing basket for the first time. If you forgot to do this, then simply do it now and it should help you to break things in.
You might need to do this one more time to truly get the banneton broken in. After this, it’ll be ready to use and you should only have to dust it with flour instead of going through the whole treatment process.
Have You Been Forgetting to Dust the Proofing Basket?
Forgetting to dust the proofing basket is actually a common mistake that people make. You might be in a rush and you’re trying to get through proofing the dough as fast as possible.
In your haste, you might forget to dust the basket with flour as you’re supposed to. This leads to the dough sticking and it makes it tough to get the best results.
Try to slow things down a little bit so that you can follow the process correctly. It’s usually best to try not to go too fast when you’re baking or cooking because that’s the easiest way to start making mistakes.
If you can remember to dust everything well before you start proofing the dough, then you won’t need to worry so much about sticking. This might be the simple solution to the sticking problem that you’ve been hoping for.
Those who don’t know much about the dusting process need to know not to use too much flour, though. If you go overboard, then you can actually negatively impact things.
The entire basket does need to be covered, but you don’t need to have thick layers of flour. When you’re finished dusting, there should be a thin layer coating the entire basket.
You can make this easier by holding the basket up as you’re dusting it with flour. This allows you to avoid missing spots and it should be easy to see if you need more flour in certain places.
You Didn’t Allow the Dough to Rest Properly
Did you know that you need to allow the dough to rest after it has been proofing? Sometimes people who are new to baking shaped loaves of bread won’t know that this needs to be done.
The dough might be sticking simply because you aren’t resting it. You’re trying to remove the dough from the basket when it’s sticky, and you’re just making things more difficult for yourself.
If you allow the dough to rest in the basket for 10 to 15 minutes, then things will go better. Resting is going to allow the dough to slightly shrink and it will also become a bit drier.
The fact that the dough is very moist is part of the reason why it gets sticky. A bit of resting time is usually enough to turn that around.
Waiting long enough to rest the dough shouldn’t be that big of a deal. It’ll save you time in the long run since you won’t wind up having to fight with the dough when it’s time to remove it from the basket.
Try to exercise patience and wait ten or fifteen minutes to let things rest. You should have a much easier time removing things instead of feeling as if you need to fight with the dough.
Does the Type of Flour That You Use Play a Role?
You’ll find some people online talking about how using certain types of flour will be worse when you’re trying to avoid sticking issues. Does this mean that you should try to always use a specific type of flour for this job?
Truthfully, the type of flour that you use shouldn’t have a significant impact on the results. So long as you’re using flour and dusting the banneton as you’re supposed to, the dough shouldn’t stick.
Different types of flour will have slightly different properties. Some flour types might be better at absorbing moisture fast, but they all work to do the same thing no matter what.
Whether you’re using all-purpose flour, cake flour, or any other type of flour, it’s going to work to dust your proofing basket. If you’re having issues getting things to come off of the basket, then it’s likely that there’s another problem.
You shouldn’t have to worry about whether the type of flour that you have in the pantry is holding you back. Try to focus on the things that are truly known to cause issues with sticking so that you can have a better experience.
Can You Use Other Materials Besides Flour for Dusting?
Another topic that often comes up when people discuss sticking dough during the proofing process is using other materials for dusting. Technically, it should be possible to use other ingredients that can absorb moisture.
If you wanted to, you could try using cornmeal or rolled oats to dust a proofing basket. While this can work out, it isn’t necessarily better than using flour.
Other ingredients aren’t going to be able to work more efficiently than flour when it comes to this. Also, these other ingredients could impact the taste of the bread.
Sometimes it’ll be fine to use other ingredients if you want to have an impact on the flavor. However, it’s not always going to be predictable, and most recipes that people use don’t account for situations like this.
If you wish to get predictable results when baking bread, it’s going to be better to stick to using flour for dusting. The choice of what to do is yours at the end of the day, though.
Dry Your Basket Before Using it
Sometimes simple oversights can lead to problems during the proofing process. For example, you might have decided to start proofing dough and started using a wet proofing basket without realizing it.
When a proofing basket is too moist, it’s going to make it more likely that dough will stick to it. This is why it’s imperative to ensure that the basket is completely dry before you get things started.
Get in the habit of inspecting your basket before you decide to begin proofing the dough. This will allow you to determine if everything is just right so that you don’t have to deal with annoying issues such as sticking.
You should always try to leave ample time for the item to dry after you’ve washed it. Ideally, you should place it in your oven to let it dry out.
Some people also place proofing baskets outside for up to 24 hours so that they can dry. Don’t expect to be able to wash a basket and have it be dry in only a matter of minutes.
When you plan to wash a basket, it’s best to do so one day before you plan to actually use it. As long as you keep this in mind, you’re going to have a much better experience moving forward.
Are You Using a Good Banneton?
Finally, you might not actually be using a banneton at all. Some people try to use any old basket when they’re proofing bread.
This is a mistake because a random basket isn’t going to be able to do the same job as a proofing basket. The baskets that you buy for proofing purposes have been made to do this specific job.
If you grab a basket that is meant for another purpose, then it shouldn’t surprise you when the dough sticks to it. Using an old basket that you had in storage to try to proof dough is simply not a great idea.
This is because woven baskets will usually have large gaps, and the dough can get stuck in these gaps. You’ll be creating more problems for yourself if you try to use a basket that is ill-suited to this task.
Luckily, proofing baskets are actually very affordable. You’re going to be able to buy one at a low cost, and you can buy them at almost any department store in your area.
Understanding why the dough sticks to a banneton will make it simpler to figure out how to prevent this problem from occurring. You’ve now gone over the various things that cause people to have issues with sticking dough.
Sometimes solving the problem will be as simple as buying a real proofing basket. You can’t just use any random basket that you have in your home when you need to proof dough.
Other times, you’re going to need to treat a new basket so that things won’t stick to it. The process of treating a basket is not hard, but you have to remember to do it or you’ll keep running into issues with the dough.
It’s also possible that you might be forgetting to dust the basket before proofing the dough. Dusting is an important step that you cannot skip if you want things to go right.
Resting the dough after you’re done proofing is highly recommended, too. Sometimes just waiting 10 or 15 minutes for the dough to rest will make it so much easier to remove it from the basket.
If you’ve been having these issues when trying to proof the dough, then you shouldn’t be discouraged. You have the right knowledge to turn things around now.
Baking bread is something that should be very satisfying, and it can even be relaxing when you get used to doing it. You might have been annoyed by how things went with proofing the first few times, but now that you have a better idea of what went wrong, those frustrations will fall by the wayside.
Enjoy proofing dough and baking bread moving forward. So long as you don’t try to rush things, it’s unlikely that you’ll make more mistakes in the future.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.