The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Brotforms

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qahtan's picture
qahtan

Brotforms

Has any one used a Brotform, and did you have much luck with getting the pattern of the form to stay with the loaf when baked.
Any help would be good, thanks. qahtan

luc's picture
luc

I am surprised that no one has responded to this topic.

First off let me start off by saying what a sham the prices on brotforms are! Most that I've seen on the internet are outrageously priced around $30 bucks or higher!

For a friggin' bowl made out of rattan that has no more than 25 cents worth of material and craftsmanship if that! Cane or rattan costs practically nothing! Talk about highway robbery!!!!

ok - end rant.

I bought a series of rattan bread baskets that the local kitchen supply shop had. They cost me about $3 bucks a piece. All I had to do was flour them heavily and then set my dough in them to proof. When proof I then just turned it over and it dropped the dough my peel and into the oven it went. The pattern was lovely - the dough was fine... a $3 dollar sucess.

Since then I have been playing with many different things as 'brotform' but I've found that the wicker or rattan or cane baskets work best.

I am curious what others experience with 'brotform' is and how much their brotform cost?

Anyone?

qahtan's picture
qahtan

Hi, I did eventually find a place here in Canada, it was Harvest Corporation, Mississauga.
But I still ended up paying $35.64 total inc P/P.

But thems the breaks I guess. ;-))) qahtan

qahtan's picture
qahtan

I feel this loaf was too round...;-((( qahtan

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Pedro Pan's picture
Pedro Pan

Yes, foolishly I bought a Brotform-- 26.95-- at Sur La Table. That place is a rip-off, but thats another topic. I have yet to use the brotform because I like using my colanders so much. Line it with a kitchen towel, floured lightly and it works perfectly. I was thinking of doing pretty much what you did, buying a bunch of inexpensive different sized wicker, reed, rattan, whatever baskets and using them.

I did find some reasonably priced bannetons at the San Fransisco Baking Inst. http://www.sfbi.com/ $8 to $12 (plus shipping) depending on size. Proceeds go to scholarships.

I also bought a metal non-stick baguette form which works fine but has little holes on the bottom that leave an ugly commercial looking pattern on the bottom of the baguettes.

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

The prices look extremely reasonable and I like that the
proceeds go to something worthwhile. Has anyone purchased
from SFBI? Is so..was the quality comparable to the price?
They look of good quality.

Trishinomaha's picture
Trishinomaha

My hubby ordered some of these for me last week and they are on the way. They didn't even require payment up front! They said they would just send an invoice with the baskets...that doesn't happen often anyonre! I will report back on quality when they arrive.

Trish

gradygrains's picture
gradygrains

Generally called a brotform, brotformen or banneton, these bread molds are used for the rising of the dough (also called proofing). The basket coils and flour dusting provide a beautiful shape and decor for a traditional hearth loaf.

All natural cane bread rising baskets.
Hand woven cane (about 3/8" diameter coils).

To use, flour the brotform and place the kneaded dough in the basket to rise. Once it has sufficiently risen, unmold the loaf and transfer it onto a baking sheet for the oven.

Tips:

You can knead the dough by hand, or using a bread machine or mixer.
Weigh flour 8-12 oz to yield about a Lb; 16-20 oz for 2 Lbs; 28-32 for 3-4 Lb.
(Remember that the weather, quality of the yeast, type of flour and percentage of whole grains used greatly affect the size and rise.)

For better texture and crust, many bakers let the dough rise in a greased bowl first, and then transfer it into the Brotform for the second and final rise.

As you experiment with your recipe, remember that the day's weather, quality of the yeast, type of flour, and quantity of whole grains used can greatly influence the final rise of your bread.

Do not use the Brotform basket for baking the loaf. Use it only for the rising.

To clean the Brotform, remove excess flour by shaking it loose. Occasionally, you may want to hand wash it with warm water only, and let air dry thoroughly before reusing it. Store in a dry location.

The site which I recommend for the best brotforms is http://fantes.com/brotforms.htm

John W Cooper

dasein668's picture
dasein668

I've got a round ratan proofing bowl. I don't know the price as it was a gift. Like luc above, I just flour the bowl well, proof the bread and turn it out onto the peel. The pattern shows nicely in the finished bread.

Nathan Sanborn
dasein668.com

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

Hi. I've just bought some at very good prices - linen lined - at Carrefour, Cité Europe, Calais, France. €5,30 each which is amazingly cheap. So any bakers in UK / France there are bargains to be had!

manxman's picture
manxman

I use a shallow wicker bread basket which works very well.
I agree that the site of Fantes is well worth looking at not only for brotform but for the fine range of bread tins they have.
A site for german friends is www.brotformen.de interesting they recomend wood pulp as against their cane ones for the home baker.They also post to USA.

Kitchen Witch's picture
Kitchen Witch

Here's another site in Canada but they are pretty high, I know that they don't charge shipping on their larger items but I'm not sure about small items. The baskets are at the bottom of the page.
http://www.biosupply.com/accessor.htm

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

I used to be able to access this site too, but it seems to be unavailable now. Anyone else finding the same?

www.brotformen.de

I do like the patterns made by these brotforms, but I wouldn't be able to slash through such a pretty design.

Nancy's picture
Nancy

I think this is offer is still good--I haven't bought one from them, but the San Francisco Baking Institute is offering these proofing baskets as part of a fundraiser for student scholarships. $8, $10, and $12 for 8, 10 and 12" baskets, respectively. They're rattan instead of wicker, but lined with baker's linen; look like they'd work fine.

http://www.sfbi.com/baking_supplies.html

Nancy

Brokenspoke's picture
Brokenspoke

Offer is still good and can be done right over the phone without any hassles or delay.  Good folks to deal with and they ship UPS Ground.

 Anxiously awaiting my baskets.....

Bob

Lee Geyer's picture
Lee Geyer

Here are my first attempts at using a brotform ordered from cooking.com.

I 1) liberally rubbed flour into every inch of the brotform, 2) gently lay the 9 grain laced whole wheat sourdough into the form 3) lay parchment and a pizza pan on the top when the final proofing was complete, 4) quickly but gently turned it over and placed it on the counter, lifted the brotform and then exhaled in relief that it didn't crash. In the following image you can see that the form had a lot of flour still in the grooves when released....as I said, I rubbed flour into every groove.

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Here is the final product.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And my first attempt at using the Brotform looked like this:

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I like the Brotform and look forward to using it again.

By the way, cooking.com was great for Canadian orders....I chose the cheapest shipping option and I got an email letting me know when it cleared customs less than a week later, then a link to track the shipment with Canada post....it arrived in a week...really good service.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I've seen breadforms also made of finger thick bundled straw, rope, nylon rope, and pine needles. When I bake at my mother's I swipe her pine needle basket from a South Carolina Flea market. (I have a hand made pine needle clock, but everytime I look at it, I wished it was a breadform.) I brush off the flour after baking. Another trick is to use those shower caps from hotels to line a basket, then a cloth. I don't cut the tops, I let them rip around and mushroom, just like the baker does. On another subject, tip: try a mesh nylon sack like the one the garlic comes in, to brush egg mixture, wash & dry.

Chinese Breakfast smells a little of alcohol but not tipsy. Removed half and added orange juice and more Chinese oat flour. The other half went into my poolish for next loaf. Waste not want not. I noticed a recipe on my Austrian Bread Spice for Typical Farmer's bread. Anyone interested? 500ml water and 16gm sourdough plus 4 tablespoons of spice, Rye. I put the recipe in my Blog.
My Hubby is making me a 5mm thick stainless steel "stone" to fit into my oven. This ought to prove interesting... Happy baking! :) Mini Oven

SteveB's picture
SteveB

I think you may find that creating an oven 'stone' from stainless steel will defeat the whole purpose of using a stone or hearth. Oven stones or hearths have relatively high specific heats and therefore release their heat relatively slowly (of course, they also take longer to heat up), producing a nice even bake. Stainless steel, on the other hand, has a relatively low specific heat and therefore releases its heat relatively quickly. You'll probably start to see more burnt bottoms with stainless steel.

wendyshum's picture
wendyshum

I wish to proof my bread in brotform but I can't find it in Hong Kong. Can you provide me my site they ship to Asia.

Wendy

deepa's picture
deepa

Hi

Your bread looks great. I tried to use a round brotform for the first time y'day. Here are some of the questions I have:(they may be too basic for all of you, but I want to be clear).

1. After rounding the dough which side do we put down in the basket?

2. Once proofed, I jsu have to invert it, right. Not slide it sideways.

3. I used a 2lb brotform and I guess the amount of dough I had was little for it. So the contact area was small and after I baked it, I did not get ant pattern on the bread at all.

Am I doing it right?

 

Deepa. 

Srishti's picture
Srishti

Hi Deepa,

I don't have any experience with these, actually waiting for mine in the mail.

But I'll try to answer your question... that way if I have any concepts wrong, some brotform expert can point me (too) in the right direction...

When you shape the dough, usually there is a top smooth nice side and and a bottom side which has the seem. We want the smmoth side to get the pattern on. That would be the top of the bread. So, put the seem side up in the basket. The smooth and nice side goes in the bottom of the basket.

When done proofing just invert it on the peel (if you are using) or on the baking stone/sheet. This way, now, you get the smooth side with the pattern on top.

Your 3rd question, you didn't get any pattern? Did you rub in a lot of flour inside the basket before putting the dough in?

Take cAre

Srishti

rmk129's picture
rmk129

MiniOven...If I remember correctly, you mentioned that there was a potter near where you live...here is a comment I found when I was searching this site for information about oven stones that might be a better option for you!

Submitted by andrew_l on March 11, 2006 - 1:14am.
If you have a potter's supplies near you, there are ceramic sheets to go into kilns on which pottery is fired . These are ceramic and made to withstand high heat and come in a variety of sizes.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I have baked rolls on it, on the lower shelf, preheating the oven for 15 minutes, sliding them onto it using baking paper and a cardboard peel. And must say, that after 12 minutes, I had the most puffy but pale buns yet. The very bottoms touching the plate were golden brown about a one inch (3cm) spot, not burnt. Remembering that rmk129 normally does her baguettes on the bottom first and then raises them to the top to brown, I tried that. The plate was too heavy to move safely.

I didn't think of it at the time but another option would have been to move the buns onto the oven rack and move up to brown. Or move the plate up to the middle just before I put the rolls onto it. Rolls did rise nicely and heat was dispersed more evenly (the coils are 4cm below the plate.) Rolls burn on the bottom shelf if they stay there in a baking pan so with a baking pan I use the middle shelf.

One time I forgot and stuck the pan on the bottom shelf for first 5 min. then moved them up. They were as round as croquette balls. The next time, I put my baking pan on the bottom shelf but upside down thus raising the lower surface by almost 3 cm. Too low for browned buns. When I raise the temp above 200°c, then everything burns and doesn't bake. I would like to avoid opening the oven during baking time but looks like this can't be avoided. The plate stayed hot even after the oven had cooled. It is 4.5mm thick. The walls thin in comparison.

This afternoon, I plan on baking a round barley loaf and will do it on the bottom shelf, on the stainlesstone. What do you predict will happen? Go ahead and guess. I'm just as curious.

Mini Oven :)

qahtan's picture
qahtan

 I was lucky that I finally found some in Toronto Canada, which suites me better as then I don't have to pay exchange on the dollar, plus P& P is cheaper..... qahtan

Squid's picture
Squid

Qahtan, could you tell me where you found your Brotforms in Toronto?

dulke's picture
dulke

I bought the bannetons from SFBI. Very nice quality, shipped promptly. I also liked the idea that it supported students there.

tomsbread's picture
tomsbread

I made some brotforms since they were not available in Singapore and shipping them in was too expensive for me. The cost of the raw materials cost me less than US$7.00. Total time to nail the cane together took a few hours.

 http://www.angelfire.com/planet/tomsbread/index.htm

Tomsbread

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

Wow those are lovely!  Nice job!  Hmmm, I wonder if a crafts store would have that type of cane....

tomsbread's picture
tomsbread

Hi Breadnerd,

I did a search on the net and found this site. Hope it helps.

 http://www.franksupply.com/rattan_poles.html#weavingrattan

It was fun doing the project but I did not have proper tools and work area. I did not even have a work bench to do the nailing. In the end, I gave up after making two and mail-ordered some from Germany. 

BTW, you have a beautiful mud oven. It will not be easy to build one here in Singapore unless you have land and since the country is slightly over 600 square miles for over 4 million people, land is at a premium. Any property with enough land to build such an oven will likely exceed a million bucks. So it's still a dream for me.

Tomsbread

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

Cool--thanks so much!  It sounds like a challenge but I might give it a try. 

 

And thanks for the oven compliments.  It's been a lot of fun and hard work too.  And I do appreciate my little plot of land when put into that perspective!  

beanfromex's picture
beanfromex

Hi there,

 

I went to your site, beautiful pics!!

Could you please elaborate of the making of a brotform. I live in southern mexico and they are not available here either.

I understand the design, but the process eludes me.  I originally thoughtof glueing the strands of rope/twine, but realize that is ot going to be too pretty the first time you use it.

Thank you

Regards from southern mexico 

tomsbread's picture
tomsbread

Hi,

I talked a little more about making homemade brotforms in this link here

http://www.angelfire.com/planet/tomsbread/Brotforms.htm

The process starts with softening the cane sufficiently by soaking them. They stay in shape after they have been heated. I did this by bending them over a stove in the kitchen and nailed them together with stainless steel nails although a stapler gun might have worked better. For the round brotforms, you'd have to taper the end of the cane significantly to initiate the coiling. Its an iterative process of bending, heating and nailing.

Tomsbread

Jerry's picture
Jerry

I have a couple of coiled proofing baskets which I use when I make the No-Knead Bread. They cane from

www.breadtopia.com/

and cost $19.00 each including shipping. There are some good videos to look at there, also, including sourdough starters, NKB and NKB variations. The videos show one way of using the proofing baskets.

 Jerry in Seattle

balabusta's picture
balabusta

I bought two (pricey) oval brotforms only because I cannot fit two round ones side by side in my oven. Each oval makes 2 lb loaves.  I love the shape.

I find rice flour works really well - even with sticky rye dough. After I invert the dough from the brotform, I dust off the excess rice flour lightly with a brush.

I buy rice flour fairly inexpensively at TADCO.

Diane

Val's picture
Val

I've used the rice flour as well. It works very well - my loaves pop out easily with little flour adhereing to the dough.

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

I was very lucky to win 3 brotforms on E-Bay, an oval, round and baguette shape. I had 2 sourdough loaves in the fridge retarding when they arrived. A run to the store for rice flour..this morning at 6AM, rubbing the flour in..this afternoon beautiful loaves! Our digital camera died..wish I could take some pics. They are the very best I've ever made. Anyway, back to my question, do I have to get all the flour out after using? I've rapped the back of them to get some of the flour out, used a pastry brush..but there is still quite a bit of flour in the grooves. I'm a little worried about attracting buggies! Thanks

Val's picture
Val

Here's a link to a website that has "cleaning and caring for your brotform" info:

http://www.fantes.com/brotforms.htm

hebith's picture
hebith

I know where to get some very good rattan and plastic brotforms. This is a german manufacury, the oldest in Europe. I have some of the baskets and they work perfect. The newest basket they make ist made of plastic. You can wash it anytime you like and you use it the same way as rattan basket. Even the pattern stays on the bread.  

www.herbert-birnbaum.de

Maja

cleancarpetman's picture
cleancarpetman

I have baked for 20 years and am breaking ground in April for a brick oven.  While the ground is cold and weather wet I am lurking and finding gold here online.  Suggestion:  Google: baskets,  not banneton, brotform or brotformen and watch the prices drop.


 


Example:  http://www.luckyclovertrading.com/trays-c-1_5.html?osCsid=qtksa7ofqninnjble6o9hk5uc7


 


der Hinterhof Ofen

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, cleancarpetman.


Have you ordered from those folks? Do you know where their brotforms are made? The price difference is indeed dramatic.


David

cleancarpetman's picture
cleancarpetman

David,


   I admit I have not ordered from them.  I only stumbled on them today but their reviews are good praising their fast ship times and good customer service and the basket quality.  I, too, was shocked at the prices.  One reviewer complains about shipping costs but how much do baskets weigh?  Higher priced brotforms have shipping charges, too.  I expect if the reviews are to be believed thses folks might notice a surge in business.  I checked on the liners for the round willow baskets.  They are cotton but add a mere .50 to the already low $3.00 tag.


der Hinterhof

SteveB's picture
SteveB

As David is too much of a gentleman to be as blunt as I, since Lucky Clover is a trading company located in California, I would guess that in all probability these brotformen come from China where the quality control (melamine, lead) and labor practices are suspect.


SteveB


http://www.breadcetera.com


 

Wisecarver's picture
Wisecarver (not verified)

...I'm not prejudiced but that sort of thing bugs me more and more lately.

cleancarpetman's picture
cleancarpetman

Will you ask where your high priced "german" brotformen are made?  Or find out later that you paid top dollar to a savvy European/New York/Californian importer who buys his baskets in the east.  I am currently contacting Lucky Clover to find out the origin of their baskets.  I apologize for rushing to press without ALL the details, I merely thought it was a good price.  Have you ever thought about putting sugar in your tea?  Its sweeter you know! I am new to the forum and want to know why bluntness trumps a gentleman's inquiry.


Hinterhof

mcs's picture
mcs

I use baskets from Lucky Clover for my gift baskets, and they are made in China.  They do have the lowest prices around, and as you may have noticed or posted above (I haven't read this enitre thread), they have a $150 (I think) minimum order. 


-Mark

cleancarpetman's picture
cleancarpetman

Website says $50.00 minimum which allows for a few brotforms instead of two.

mcs's picture
mcs

You are correct.  It must've been the time period that I bought them.  Shipping took about a week and everything came in OK condition.


-Mark

Wisecarver's picture
Wisecarver (not verified)

...It's the media for the most part. ;-)

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, cleancarpetman.


Welcome to TFL! (Belatedly)


SteveB is perfectly capable of defending himself, but I don't think he was attacking you personally. I believe we have both shopped for baking paraphernalia extensively and find when a price is "too good to be true," there is usually a reason the product is so low-priced.


Generally, I have been willing to pay a bit more to get something from a known, reliable vendor who knows the application for which I will be using the product and will back it up.


David

cleancarpetman's picture
cleancarpetman

How much rattan are they growing now in Dusseldorf?


H.

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Hinterhof, sugar can also tend to mask the true, subtle flavors of a tea.  I know where my "german" brotformen were made because I bought them from the German company that manufactures them back when they sold to retail customers.  Bluntness is always appropriate when one's health and safety are possibly at risk.


SteveB


http://www.breadcetera.com


 

cleancarpetman's picture
cleancarpetman

Dear SteveB,


    I agree that health and safety are important.  You just haven't convinced me on the blunt part.  All the pussy cats I know have claws.  If you meant what I think you meant please show me your purr before you pounce. 


    Back to the real message.  I am new here and I AM glad to meet experienced bakers who know the way around their tools.  I am sure I will learn a great deal here and glad to join all of you.

Hinterhof


 


 


 

bassopotamus's picture
bassopotamus

I just got a round one from Fantes.com and it is great. Ordered a second round and a rectangular. I got the slovakian ones, and the price is right, results are good

johnster's picture
johnster

Now this is a good conversation you've got going on here.  (And, as a HUGE fan of the Bravo Channel, I also love a little drama!)  ;)


 


What sized round brotforms do all of you recommend that I get for a one and a half pound loaf and for a 4.85 pound (2.2 kg) loaf?  


 


Right now, I just raise these on a couche, but I'd like to see them better shaped and with that interesting pattern from a brotform.


 


Johnster

bassopotamus's picture
bassopotamus

7 3/4 inch round for a loaf with about 3 cups of flour, whatever that translates into