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Sunday, 14 July 2013

I LOVE using a Brotform!


summary: thermometer bread revisited, Ken Forkish’s White Bread with Poolish and Saturday White Bread recipes in “Flour Water Salt Yeast” both proofed in a Brotform; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

It was with some trepidation that I used our new Brotform. Silly me. It was dead easy.

The first time that I used the brotform, I was amazed at how easy it was! I just had to plop the shaped bread into the well-floured (I used rice flour) form, cover it with a bowl and an hour or so later, it was ready to bake!

just shapedfully risen

I must admit that I was quite nervous. Would the brotform release the loaf? Had I let it over-rise? Eeeeeeeeeek!

I confess that I blanched at some of the instructions to plop the bread out directly onto the hot stone….

bread So, I covered our peel with parchment paper, took a deep breath and turned the brotform upside down. And Hey Presto! The loaf popped out easily onto the peel. Putting the shaped and risen loaf onto a parchment papered peel makes it really easy to put onto the hot bread stone.

As is our habit in the summer, we baked the bread (‘White Bread with Poolish’ on page 98 in Ken Forkish’s “Flour Water Salt Yeast”) in the barbecue. We were not anticipating that there would be so much oven spring! It was HUGE – alas, no photographic evidence….

bread And then, when turning the loaf around half way through baking, to account for uneven heat, the top of the loaf hit the upper shelf of the barbecue.

Pooof! All that beautiful oven spring disappeared.

No matter though. The finished bread was fabulous.

bread Here it is sliced. You might be thinking, “Hey! that doesn’t look like white bread!” Well, you’re right. Even though the recipe called for only unbleached all-purpose flour, I just couldn’t help myself from adding some whole wheat flour to the dough.

The next time I used the brotform was just as easy! This time, because there was a residue of rice flour still in the basket, I liberally floured it with all-purpose. Again, the proofed loaf just popped right out… almost. It only required the tiniest bit of nudging on the edge. (Next time, I’ll be sure to flour ALL of the brotform.)

bread Oops.

This particular loaf was made using the recipe for ‘Saturday White Bread’ “Flour Water Salt Yeast”. Once again, I substituted some of the all-purpose flour with 100% whole wheat. It just tastes better when there’s a little whole wheat flour.

We were a little sad that it didn’t rise quite as dramatically as the other, but this could be due to it deflating a tiny bit after being unstuck from the brotform. :stomp: :stomp:

Happily, the resulting bread was as brilliant as ever.


The fellow who sold the basket to me said to liberally flour it with rice flour to use it. But I wasn’t sure if I should wash the brotform first. And then I thought about the fact that I had no idea where it had been. So I wiped it with a cloth dipped in mild soapy water (I read later that apparently you’re NEVER supposed to use soap), rinsed it well and hung it for a couple of days to dry thoroughly.

To use it for the first time, once it was dry, I liberally sprinkled rice flour into it. (Heh. I didn’t notice that several websites suggest oiling it first.)

Here are some of the sites online with Brotform care tips :

I don’t wash my brotforms; rather, I clean the flour out with a stiff brush, then air-dry them completely before storing them. However, they can, if necessary, be washed in plain warm water and dried in a low oven. Keeping them bone-dry is essential so they don’t get moldy.

-Susan, Wild Yeast, Brotforms

A few times each year, when used on a regular basis, place in the oven at 250°F together with a bowl of water, for about 20 minutes.

   – Let baskets air-dry thoroughly before stacking or storing them.
   – Wash basket with a brush and hot water every six months or so.
   – After such washings, let it air-dry before storing

-Fante’s: Use and Care of Cane Brotform Baskets




  • Elle

    A great use of the brotform Elizabeth! Hope that things cool down for you soon. XO, Elle


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