In terms of shape and size, wood pulp bannetons and rattan bannetons are very similar. Both are typically round with a diameter of about 8-10 inches. However, there are some key differences between these two types of bannetons that affect how they perform.
A wood pulp banneton is typically made out of, well, wood pulp! This makes it a lot more absorbent than a rattan banneton, which is made out of a type of grass.
This means that if your dough is too wet, a wood pulp banneton will absorb some of the excess moisture and help to dry it out a bit. Conversely, a rattan banneton will not absorb much moisture at all, so if your dough is too dry it might not rise as well in one of these.
#2: Effect on the bread's crust
Another difference between wood pulp and rattan bannetons is in how they affect the crust of your bread. Because a wood pulp banneton is more absorbent, it can help to create a crispier crust on your bread. Additionally, the wood grain of spruce bannetons can give the bread a unique flavor and crust. Rattan bannetons, on the other hand, tend to produce a softer crust.
#3: Banneton Care
Rattan bannetons tend to get mouldy more easily than wood pulp bannetons. This is because the natural oils in rattan make it more difficult for water to evaporate from it, which can lead to mould growth.
Rattan bannetons are also more expensive than wood pulp bannetons. This is because they are more difficult to manufacture and source.
Which should I use then? Rattan or Wood Pulp Bannetons?
Rattan bannetons are typically used for rolls, brioche, and other small breads. while spruce bannetons are better for larger loaves like sourdough or ciabatta. Each material has its own unique benefits that can result in a slightly different final product.
So, which is better?
It really depends on what you are looking for in a banneton. We prefer a crusty bread, and have brought in our favourite Wood Pulp Bannetons! But if you prefer a softer crust, choose a rattan banneton.
And if you are unsure, why not try both and see which you prefer!