What can I use instead of a banneton? Our top substitutes for a banneton include a wicker basket, colander, and couche – heavy linen cloth. However, you can use a bowl, wok, bread pan, plastic container, or ricotta basket when in a pinch. Ensure to line each with a floured cloth to avoid sticking.
A banneton or proofing basket is a rattan basket explicitly designed for proofing artisan bread like sourdough. The banneton supports the shape of the dough and allows it to breathe during proofing and its final rest. Fortunately, numerous kitchen alternatives work well for proofing if you aren’t an avid baker and prefer not to buy a banneton.
The Best Banneton Substitutes
Wicker baskets are lightweight and breathable, making them an excellent replacement for a banneton.
Most of us have at least one of these woven baskets sitting somewhere at home. If not, they are highly affordable and available at most kitchen and homeware stores.
If you’re using an old wicker basket, ensure you clean it thoroughly and then line it with a towel or cloth. However, you can use a new wicker basket as is for a beautiful pattern.
Use a wicker bowl approximately double the size of your artisan bread dough to allow sufficient room to rise. In addition, ensure the wicker basket is made from organic or food-safe materials.
You can use a metal or plastic colander to proof dough if you do not own a banneton. However, most households have a colander in the kitchen cabinet, which is a lot cheaper and more versatile than a banneton.
A colander has little holes that promote proper airflow to the dough’s exterior, offering a delicious crispy crust when baked. Ensure to line the colander with a cloth dusted with flour to prevent the dough from sticking.
Smaller is better when using a colander to substitute a banneton. A small colander will support the dough and prevent it from spreading outward.
Bowl: Ceramic, Wood, Plastic, Glass, or Stainless Steel
A bowl is the most straightforward item to use if you don’t have banneton for proofing dough.
You can use a ceramic, wood, plastic, glass, or stainless-steel bowl to ensure a beautiful round-shaped dough.
While you can dust the inside of the bowl with flour or lightly oil it to prevent the dough from sticking, we recommend lining the bowl with a light and clean cotton tea towel and dusting it with flour before adding the dough.
In addition, use a thicker towel when using a stainless-steel bowl, as the coldness may interfere with the dough’s fermentation process.
Use a bowl around double the size of the dough to allow sufficient room to rise. Alternatively, play around and make mini sourdough boules using small bowls.
Couche (Heavy Linen Cloth)
A couche is traditionally heavy linen or a piece of thick canvas to support artisan sourdough baguettes, boules, and batards while proving.
You can use a couche as a free-form banneton alternative to support the dough while rising. The fabric will absorb some of the moisture, creating a crispy crust.
Sprinkle a generous amount of flour on the dough and fabric before transferring the dough onto the heavy material. Then, create folds and peg them to keep them in place.
Ensure you use a heavy cloth to ensure the dough maintains its shape while proofing. Alternatively, purchase an already-stitched couche.
Place the couche on a baking tray to ensure easy transfer into the refrigerator for cold retard.
A wok is an unexpected yet effective substitute for a banneton. The primary criterion we’re looking for is a vessel that supports and gives the dough a desirable shape while proofing.
The wok’s domed bottom will cradle your ball of dough, giving it sufficient support while rising.
Line your wok with a floured linen cloth or towel before placing the dough into it. A cloth is essential to prevent sourdough from reacting with the metal.
Use a small wok with tall sides to encourage sufficient rising and to avoid a flat loaf.
A traditional bread pan is another excellent banneton substitute. And as a bonus, you can bake a loaf-shaped artisan sourdough – perfect for school lunches.
Shape the dough into a batard (a short, oval loaf) and place it into a floured or oiled bread pan. Cold retard the dough per usual and bake in the oven.
Ensure the bread pan has relatively high sides to encourage rising and prevent spillage.
If you are adamant about achieving the beautiful oval-shaped sourdough loaf, this option isn’t for you.
However, if you are more interested in taste than shape, a plastic container is a suitable substitute for a banneton.
Drizzle oil in the plastic container before adding the dough to prevent it from sticking. Alternatively, line the container with a floured cloth and dust the dough with flour.
We recommend using a container approximately double the size of the dough to prevent spillage.
A ricotta basket is a cheese basket used to drain ricotta cheese or other fresh, soft cheeses.
While not everyone has a ricotta basket lying around at home, it’s an effective substitute for a banneton for those who do.
Line the ricotta basket with a thin cloth and dust the dough with flour to prevent it from sticking. The dough will take on the unique bumpy pattern of the ricotta basket, presenting a beautiful crust once baked.
We recommend using an individual serving ricotta basket to prevent the dough from spreading too much.