This banneton size guide will help you choose the right size banneton for your dough weight when baking sourdough bread.
Choosing the right banneton size is super important because it can affect the end result of your bread.
While you can use alternatives to a banneton, you really will see an improvement in your sourdough bread when using a banneton for proofing.
This information will enable you to choose the correct size banneton for dough weight.
Why Use A Banneton For Sourdough?
A banneton makes sure your sourdough is supported during the cold fermentation or proofing stage. It gently guides and shapes your dough as it rests prior to baking.
A banneton also allows your dough to breathe.
Without a banneton basket, the dough will spread out too much during the final proofing stage. This will hinder your sourdough oven spring and give you a flat bread when you open the Dutch Oven.
Using a natural rattan proofing basket also helps to wick unnecessary moisture away from the dough, resulting in a better shape when it comes to baking time.
If you can't find a banneton or can't justify the cost right now, here are some proofing basket alternatives you can use from items around your home.
Choosing The Right Banneton Size
Choosing the right banneton basket for baking sourdough bread is fairly easy. This banneton size guide will walk you through each step, ensuring you get the right size for your needs.
First, you need to know what shape you want to bake? For example a boule will require a round banneton, a batard will require an oval.
Then you need to know the weight of the dough you are going to be shaping.
And lastly, you need to know that the banneton will fit inside the Dutch Oven you are baking the sourdough with.
This article will guide you in selecting the correct size banneton for your needs. You'll also find my best tips for preventing your dough from sticking to your banneton here.
Types of Banneton Shapes
There are a myriad of banneton shapes and sizes available for sourdough bakers.
The size and shape of banneton you select will have a profound effect on the outcome of your dough, so you want to ensure you make the right decision.
Here are a selection of the many types of banneton available:
Oval Banneton - Oval shaped banneton are perfect for shaping batards. You can choose the banneton depending on whether you want a longer, thinner batard or a fatter, shorter batard.
Round Banneton - Perhaps the most commonly used banneton, the round! This is used to shape sourdough boules. Choose a deeper, smaller size for a rounder, squatter loaf.
Triangle Banneton - A rather unusual shape, but definitely one to try - just make sure that it will fit in your Dutch Oven (there's tips on this further down). This triangle banneton comes in two sizes.
Square Banneton - another unusual shape, but again, one that might just fit your needs. Square bannetons could be used for many different flavors of sourdough.
Couronne Banneton - this one is a special shape, with roots in French cuisine. This round, flatter type of banneton has a mound in the middle which allows you to shape wreaths and "crowns" of dough. They were traditionally used at Christmas time and are very popular in Italian and French cuisine.
Long Banneton - these long baguette shaped banneton are the right size for making a sourdough French stick.
Heart Banneton - these are quite unusual, but will allow you to bake heart shaped sourdough bread with ease. This heart shaped banneton would be perfect for Valentine's Day or even a wedding celebration.
Mini Banneton - these mini banneton are perfect for making miniture boules or sourdough bread rolls. You can shape them exactly the same way you would a larger boule, even scoring them with an intricate design.
Banneton Size Chart
If you are wondering what size banneton should I choose?
Here's a table that shows which banneton size is required for specific dough weights. This is based on total dough weight including flour, water, starter and salt (and any inclusions you add).
Round Banneton Size by Dough Weight
Oval Banneton Size by Dough Weight
Please note that these charts are a guide only. The measurements are inner measurement.
Just like your sourdough starter, your dough is unique and may fall outside of these measurements for various reasons including fermentation accuracy, shaping tension and mis measurement.
How To Choose Correct Banneton Size For Dutch Oven
If you already have a Dutch Oven, you must make sure that the banneton you purchase will shape your dough in a way that it fits inside the Dutch Oven.
The easiest way to do this is to simply make sure that the banneton physically fits inside the Dutch Oven.
While you don't actually need to put the banneton inside the Dutch Oven for baking, this is a quick, easy way to ensure the shaped dough will fit.
It's not fun when you've gone to all the trouble of making sourdough, only to find out that the dough will not fit into your Dutch Oven at baking time!
If you are looking for a bread baking vessel that will fit any size banneton - from oval to round and everything in between, the Challenger Bread Pan might be just what you're looking for.
Banneton Sizes for Pantry Mama's Simple Sourdough Bread Recipe
If you are using my simple sourdough recipe, I recommend the following banneton baskets:
Oval for batard - this oval banneton is 11" and is the same size I use for all of my baking (it fits inside my 5 quart oval Dutch Oven (like this one).
Round for boule - this round banneton is the right size at 10". It will fit inside a 5 quart Dutch Oven which measures at least 11" in diametre (like this one).
What If You Choose The Wrong Size Banneton?
What happens if your banneton is too big or too small for your dough weight?
When you place shaped sourdough into a banneton, the gluten network is tight and the dough will be tensioned from shaping. As it relaxes (either in the fridge or on the counter) it will spread, filling out the banneton.
If the banneton is too big, the dough will be able to spread too much, losing its shape. This will mean that the dough will not be tensioned enough and you will lose oven spring when it's baked.
If the banneton is too small, the dough won't be able to spread at all, meaning that it may ooze over the top of the banneton - making a big old mess. In saying this - if you are cold proofing, your dough shouldn't rise too much (if at all) in the fridge.
It's really important to make sure you get the size right to ensure maximum oven spring.
Remember - you can use baker's math to scale your dough to suit the banneton. You can find a full explanation of how to do this here.
What Are Bannetons Made From?
Banneton baskets are most commonly made from rattan. They are a type of cane basket.
In more recent times, other materials have also come onto the market. You may see bannetons made from wood pulp.
Many people craft their own bannetons using crochet, knitting and sewing techniques (clever people I say!).
Rattan is the best material to use because it allows the dough to breathe and wicks away excess moisture.
In countries or situations where humidity can cause mold to form on the banneton, plastic bannetons may be preferred.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q - What size oval banneton for 500g of flour?
You need to look at total dough weight, rather than just flour weight. For 500g of flour you would use between 300 and 400g of water (depending on hydration) plus 50 to 100g of starter and 10g of salt. So total dough weight would be between 860g and 1010g so an oval banneton of 12" should suffice.
Q - My dough doesn't fill out the banneton once I've shaped it. What causes this?
When you place shaped dough into the banneton it will still be quite tight and the gluten network will be contracted. Once it's been in the banneton for a few hours, even if it's in the fridge, the gluten network will relax and the dough will spread a little. This is why it's so important to choose the right sized banneton because you don't want the dough to spread too much. The dough should fill out the banneton and be supported by its structure.
Q - My dough keeps getting stuck to the banneton. How can I prevent sticking?
Rice flour! It's your absolute best friend when it comes to bannetons. You can read more about why here.
Q - Should I measure banneton size by the weight of flour or total dough weight.
Always measure banneton size by total dough weight, since water and starter will increase the weight of the flour quite a bit. You can easily estimate the weight of your shaped dough by simply adding together the ingredient weights.
Q - How much dough do I need for a 9" banneton?
Depending on whether you have an oval or round banneton, you'll need approx. 600g of dough for an oval banneton and approx. 850g for a round banneton.
Q - Do you recommend baking sourdough in a Dutch Oven for the best results?
YES! A Dutch Oven will give you the most consistent results when it comes to sourdough baking. There's a full explanation on why here.
If you found this information useful, you might enjoy these articles:
- Learn how to care for your bannetons with this easy guide to prepping, using, maintaining and storing sourdough banneton.
- Want a cleaner sourdough baking process? You'll find 30 tips to help clean up the sourdough mess here.
- Looking for sourdough baking tools that will make your life easier? You'll find everything you need here.
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