28 Aug2008


I rarely have buyer’s remorse. That sinking feeling that comes after you have purchased something, usually something a bit unusual and relatively pricey, and you suddenly wish you hadn’t… Sometimes, the regret turns into mild irritation, the kind that you hit yourself on the forehead with a fairly strong whack every single time you see the item in question. In this case, the items that continue to vex me are two authentic banettons for proofing baguettes, or the long loaves of French bread. The banettons are made of woven wicker and are lined with a natural thick linen, almost like burlap… My understanding is that these baskets help the bread rise better, while drying out the surface of the dough, to help crisp up the crust when it bakes.

The shop was Dehillerin, in Paris, that temple of all things devoted cooks wish for and that they had millions in disposable income to blow at the cash register. It isn’t a glitzy store, but with nearly a 200, yes that is a 200 year history, they have an incredible selection of the finest cookware and kitchen doodads. I LOVE DEHILLERIN. I had already spent an hour going down every single aisle and had a mini-mountain of goodies piled up on one of the counters… and just as the kind salesman started to ring up my purchases, I spied several banettons on a shelf behind the counter and without thinking, told him to throw in two banettons thinking I would be making all this brilliant French bread and I would definitely NEED these baskets. As a last minute impulse purchase, and because everything else I picked up seemed well priced, I didn’t even bother to ask the price of the baskets. Let’s just say, the total bill was significantly higher that I had mentally calculated, but I was too embarrassed to check the bill at the store, and I decided to just pay and review my purchases back at the hotel.


It turns out these darned baskets were some 50 Euro EACH, and that was over 5 years ago! What a royal rip-off! And worse, I have NEVER used them for the purpose of proofing dough, instead they have lamely served as a bread basket for sliced French bread instead. So every time I see them when I go to the beach (where I had exiled them in hopes of forgetting about the incident), I have serious buyer’s remorse. But I promise that the next time I see them, I will indeed use them. I figure I will have to proof at least 800 baguettes in each banetton to justify the cost of this item. They better be pretty darned fantastic baguettes! ☺



  1. sister says:

    We all have buyers regret about something but those banettons are pretty pricey considering it’s just woven reed and coarse linen. If there was such a demand that making them in China would be worthwhile they would cost 5 euro at most. But help is on the way- yesterday I just bought you 50 lbs. of bread flour that is going into the next BB box. You can make a few loaves with that. Sprinkle the linen on the banettons heavily with flour to prep them and never wash them after that, a nice coating of flour helps the crust along.

    Aug 28, 2008 | 7:21 pm


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  3. millet says:

    wow, sister to the rescue kaagad! galing! (MM, pressure, pressure….now you have to report to sister how the bread came out!) :-)

    Aug 28, 2008 | 7:33 pm

  4. Avic says:

    I just wish that I can have a taste of your baguettes when you make them, MM. heheheh . . . :)

    Aug 28, 2008 | 7:37 pm

  5. Doddie from Korea says:

    I love reading the interaction between you and your sister MM. I only wish my sisters would interact on my blog like yours. LOL

    BTW, nice tip on the bannetons. I’ll remember that when I do get ones for my own.

    Aug 28, 2008 | 7:38 pm

  6. Apicio says:

    Your best post title in the four years less a few days in the great wide web. Bannetons of remorse… baskets of regret, so romantic, ha ha.

    I was loose for hours in that shop in ‘88 and ended checking out a needle that you thread with butchers twine for sewing up stuffed fowl which I did only once and which would probably have a more useful existence for closing abdominal cavities of your experimental pigs for roasting.

    Aug 28, 2008 | 7:53 pm

  7. sister says:

    On a trip to Paris in 2006 I spent an entire afternoon at Dehillirin, always poking into every aisle and the basement as well, slowly accumulating a pile of stuff. While checking out I was asked by the manager if there was anything else I would like. “Yes, I replied, I would like to be buried in the basement when the time comes”. The Frenchman was speechless for once.

    Aug 28, 2008 | 8:22 pm

  8. mikel says:

    ahh i know this store, just down the street from au pied de cochon. i recall that the merchandise seemed pricey. maybe because i don’t really buy kitchen stuff except when i break the peeler in 2? 50€ for a breadbasket? yikes!

    Aug 28, 2008 | 9:32 pm

  9. Glecy says:

    MM, just proof 100 baguettes, that would cost you 1 euro each.
    That’s what they say when a woman buys an expensive shoe.You need to divide the cost of the shoe with how many times you wear it. Then it’s worth the price. Sorry! I just want to make you feel good about your purchase. Good day

    Aug 28, 2008 | 10:55 pm

  10. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Hi Sister, Organic unbleached unbromated Hi-Gluten Flour (which has a higher gluten content than bread flour) is available in the U.S.A. You might want to gift this to your bunso instead, since this type is not readily available here.

    Aug 29, 2008 | 6:10 am

  11. millet says:

    haha..that’s cute, sister!

    Aug 29, 2008 | 7:47 am

  12. rocoi says:

    50 lbs.. enough to feed MM fans during a manila eb?? hehe sister, you’re so funny!

    Aug 29, 2008 | 8:12 am

  13. michelle says:

    hmm, buyers remorse. Here’s one: Three years ago, I bought an over priced but pretty serving platter. Thought it would be great for crepes or small Finnish pancakes.Somehow, it just never got used. Last year, I used it for the first time for International Day at my son’s school. Would you believe, it was stolen! Somebody actually moved my pancakes to a cheap, ugly, plastic dish.

    Aug 29, 2008 | 9:24 am

  14. michelle says:

    …I now have a collection of disposable dishes and containers for school events. So much for presentation as part of the package.

    Aug 29, 2008 | 9:25 am

  15. sister says:

    Artisan Chocolatier, Yes, I am aware of the availability and use high gluten, unbleached, organic flour from purveyors like King Arthur in the US. But at this point Marketman just needs Conagra’s bread flour to practice basic bread making skills. However, the most impressive selection I’ve seen was at Detou, in Paris, wholesale bakery suppliers that have a tiny retail shop near Dehillirin. They had different flours specifically formulated for each bread: baguette, brioche, whole wheat, sour dough, pizza, etc. I had to close my eyes least my luggage fill up with flour in addition to the Iranian pistachios, saffron, flavourings, and other ingredients a passionate baker wants in her pantry. If I wish to be buried at Dehillirin I would like a stop at Detou instead of a wake. Customs at JFK has seen it all.

    Aug 29, 2008 | 11:55 am

  16. Homebuddy says:

    MM, I guess it happens to everyone. I too am guilty of buying things and never using them. “Hehehe”.

    Aug 29, 2008 | 8:32 pm

  17. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Oh Yes, Sister!!…G. Detou…thats where I want to be buried if I happen to kick the bucket while in Paris. hehehe. Detou is truly a bakers paradise.

    Aug 29, 2008 | 8:52 pm

  18. alicia says:

    My own version of buyers remorse was also in Paris!. Same morning I went to E.Dehillerin and G. Detoufor the first time. ( So this entry and comments are really making me remember!). I went to a nearby store, Simon, and bought what at the time was ” the pan had to have”. Someone had convinced me that Kristel Pan for steaks was a necessity! Its not that its not a good pan but after using it once I realized what I already had in my kitchen at a quarter of the price was just as good! I believe I have never used it again! If it makes you feel better MM, those baguette banettons look fabulous! I wish I had a baguette basket that looked like that! I only was able to find the round bread baskets with the linen liners there and I wanted one for a baguettes. You would think that with all the baskets we export or import from China, we would be able to find them readily but I haven’t. So if anyone knows where we can get some, please let me know!

    Aug 30, 2008 | 7:11 pm

  19. ragamuffin girl says:

    There’s a place in Shenzen where I get my dinnerware, it’s 2 huge buildings with more than 3 floors each so they probably have that baguette basket. Apicio and sister, your comments made my day!

    Sep 2, 2008 | 9:22 am

  20. dragon says:

    Speaking of baguettes, it’s one of the best “acquisitions” I have from New Caledonia. Being a French territory way out in the other side of the world, it is sooooo French. Anyway, Scottish/Aussie hubby & I enjoyed the breads, especially the baguettes (from the boulangerie to the “cheap” (no such thing as cheap here…) epicerie. None of the sweet breads! Flavorful! The baguettes were light & crusty! It’s a current frustration here in Melbourne at the moment: the “French sticks” (as no one calls them baguettes) are floppy, thick and sweet (as most of their breads are)….

    Sep 11, 2008 | 10:47 am


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