Home Bread-Bakers v102.n003.6

Bannetons, again

"Mike Avery" <mavery@mail.otherwhen.com>
Mon, 14 Jan 2002 11:13:54 -0700
Frank Yuhasz (also known as Carolyn) wrote:

 > With all due respect, the recent posts about banneton include too much
 > whining about the relative cost of these special dough-rising baskets.
 > Surely some of the 5000+ folks that subscribe to this list care about
 > good bread and feel the same as I do.  Though in some instances it
 > might be admirable to "make a silk purse out of a sow's ear" but to
 > make an imitation is NOT the same as the genuine article.  Yes, you
 > COULD proof a rustic loaf in a cheap China-made basket lined with
 > unwashable fabric of unknown origin, or line an ordinary bowl with a
 > linen dish towel, but it won't be the same.  The characteristic
 > imprint made by the beautiful craftsmanship of an Austrian-made
 > brotformen cannot be duplicated by these cut-rate means.  You get what
 > you pay for!  Using good tools and caring for them properly add joy to
 > the creative process of building extraordinary bread.  In the big
 > picture, a $25,000 car or a $250,000 home is expensive. A $25 banneton
 > is not.

Sadly, in today's market a $25,000 car is not considered expensive.  It's 
middle of the road.  And the same is becoming true in many markets for 
houses... $250,000 is rapidly becoming a "starter home" in the Denver area.

But, to bread.  There is a real difference between a brotform and a 
banneton.  A brotform isn't lined.  It's a basket of reed, and it is 
supposed to impart its pattern to the bread.  A banneton is lined.  And it 
isn't supposed to impart a pattern on the bread.  Personally, I see no 
reason to pay $25.00, or more, for one.

Is the costplus basket lined with fabric of unknown origin?  Yes.  But how 
much do you know about the origin of any fabric you use?  Not much.  Where 
did the fabric come from?  Was the the field where the flax or cotton was 
grown organic?  Was the fabric exposed to toxic materials?  Who knows?  Who 
can find out?  Was the fabric in the Austrian product really made in 
Austria, or was it sub-contracted to someone in Taiwan?  You just don't know.

If you are baking reasonable sized loaves of bread, you'll need 4 or so 
baskets.  You can find them unlined at $0.39 at a restaurant supply house, 
lined for $4.99 at cost plus, or in a nicer version at a baking supply 
house for $25.00.  I have no reason to believe the bread cares.  I do know 
it doesn't seem to care when I use a plain basket with a floured tea-towel 
in it instead of the cost-plus basket.  I can spend the $80.00 difference 
on something that matters to me, whether that is several brotformen, or 
several sacks of flour.

Mike Avery
ICQ: 16241692            AOL IM: MAvery81230

* Spam is for lusers who can't get business any other way *

Recently Seen On A Bumper Sticker Near Your Home:
Give me ambiguity or give me something else.