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How should I care for a rattan (cane) banneton? It would seem that washing it in water would eventually warp or ruin the basket since the wood can easily absorb moisture. I've seen people suggest that a quick washing is OK, but it still feels like the wrong thing to do if I want to prolong the life of the basket.

I usually just tap out any loose flour and store it. Some people are concerned about bacteria, but if used regularly, I don't see it as too much of a concern.

If one makes too wet a dough, it's possible that it could stick to the banneton and make a good mess.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

A stiff brush and a set out in bright sun is about all I've felt the need to do with mine.

  • Normally I'll just tap out any extra flour.
  • If I've got a dough that sticks (like last night when I didn't flour enough), then I just take a stiff brush and get all the bits off.
  • If they do get a bit wet, dry them with a towel and then in a warm oven.
  • If I think there's been enough moisture to be concerned about something growing, I'll set it in bright sun (or my UV exposure box). Strong UV is a good inhibitor for much of that.
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if nylon-bristle brush still leaves a bit in the cracks, try a thin plastic dough scraper (old CC in a pinch). –  Pat Sommer Mar 13 '12 at 4:40
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I keep mine in the freezer when not in use. This would eliminate the concern about bacteria and keeps it dry and handy for use. When you take it out, give it a tap over the sink and most old flour bits fall off as they have been frozen.

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This answer is so short and has no explanation, it got a "not an answer" flag. Would you care to explain why do you do it, and how it addresses the issues the OP mentions? –  rumtscho Mar 26 '12 at 19:39
    
Now that this answer was edited, it's an interesting approach. Assuming that people have room in their freezers. Thanks for the suggestions. –  MarkS Mar 28 '12 at 1:43
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