The Fresh Loaf

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Brotform vs Linen Basket - Scoring/Bloom

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Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Brotform vs Linen Basket - Scoring/Bloom

Does anyone have any comments or experience with this?

Last weekend I baked two loaves...one proofed in a bamboo brotform and the other in a linen lined basket.  Both were from the same formula.  Both retarded in fridge over night.

The loaf that proofed in the brotform had a perfect ear and bloom.  The scoring even felt right when slashing.

The loaf that proofed in the linen lined basket produced a flat scoring.  The scoring did not lift almost at all but just made a flat slit.  See below photos.

Does proofing in a brotform provide extra breathing for the dough during the proofing stage that develops a bit of a skin to the dough?  I have seen many loaves that were proofed in a linen lined basket that produced great ears and bloom.

Also, if this happened to me once or twice, I would not worry about it, but this is now the 3rd or 4th time that I have noticed this happen to my linen lined loaves.  Also, have noticed it happen more with higher hydration doughs.  Also, if lined with seeds in a linen basket, it does not happen.  Perhaps the seeds give the extra breathing to the dough?

Any advice?

John

 

Loaf proofed in brotform

 

Loaf proofed in linen basket in top right in background

 

Another a few months ago proofed in linen lined basket.  This this one had other issues as well, but same outcome with flat slash and no bloom.

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Nice looking loaves. I'll venture that the brotform allows the crust to dry more than the linen lined basket. The drier and thickened skin then shrinks and curls outward during the bake forming the ear.

The precious source of this information is in the book "The Bread Builders" by Daniel Wing and Alan Scott. I recommend this book to any sourdough baker interested in moving their craft to the next level.

Wild-Yeast

This is our pain quotidien regular:

                         

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

That's a great looking loaf too WildYeast.  I tend to use higher whole grain % formulas in my levain breads, so lift isn't always a strong point.

I just wondered because I used the exact same dough but just proofed in two different vessels.  One turned out great and one turned out not so great.  These of course are merely aesthetics but I try to improve on all points.

I still question how many bakers use linen lined baskets and have the same or better results as my brotform proofed loaves.  Could it be the type of linen?  The level of hydration?  Maybe some loaves are just not meant to proof in linen? 

Thanks for the feedback!

John

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

I'd like to add that I do take care to slash both loaves in the same way.  30% angle, equal in depth.

John

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Hi John,

The baskets we proof in are lined with rice floured cotton table napkins - bought at a defunct restaurant bankruptcy sale. I used to rush to get the formed dough into the proofing baskets and then into plastic bags to prevent them from drying out. Now they're allowed to sit out till they've formed a dry skin - the time depends on atmospheric humidity, temperature and the amount of airflow around the rising loaves. Usually around 20 to 30 minutes. Some other baker friends just pop it in the basket with a linen cloth folded over the top and then into the fridge for the retard (sans plastic). I haven't done this yet because I come from the school of good enough is best left alone.

My slashing technique has improved since I made my own lame - didn't think it would make that much difference - it did. Slash cut is approximately a 30 degree angle made in a lazy "S" shape twice and smaller straight cuts around the ends for an improved top rise. I've been monitoring PiP's slashing artwork and feel an irresistible urge to try it myself...,

Wild-Yeast

Daniel Rennal's picture
Daniel Rennal

I've been having the same issues regarding oven spring and bloom, and trying to get both loaves to look similar.   I've been retarding both loaves overnight in the fridge, one in a brotform covered with a damp towel, and the other in a linen lined colander with just the cloth draped over the loaf.   Almost always the loaf in the colander comes out looking much more beautiful....after reading this post I'm starting to think it's better to let it breathe more in the fridge and maybe I should ditch the damp towel for something else....

tchism's picture
tchism

Allowing loaves to develop a skin as others have indicated makes a difference. I do a rough first round form and then let the loaf set for 30 min. Then I flip the loaf over and reform to the final shape stretching the skin. I have not used cloth liners much but I could see where it could add to the issue. The bannetons do allow some breathing that the liners could impair. I also allow the loaves to sit for 30 min. Before placing the loaves in the fridge for the night.

Lastly, the amount of steam in the oven can make a difference. I just finished a cob oven build. My first loaves came out much like your liner loaves. During the next bake I introduced more steam in the oven which gave me much better results.

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Thanks for the feedback guys.  Odd that over the last year and bit of reading 100's of articles on baking bread, I have not once come across any suggestions for developing a 'skin' for better scoring bloom.  I have however read many many formulas and techniques suggestion to seal the loaf in plastic bags etc. for over night proofing.  I guess you should still do that but then when proofing before or after the fridge/retarding, the loaf should stay uncovered to get that bit of 'skin,'

I will try that next time with my linen lined basket loaves.

John