The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Secrets to Brotform Success

scardanelli's picture

Secrets to Brotform Success

Hello all,


I purchased a brotform from the baker's catalogue and have used it several times, yet my finished loaf never seems to come out like those in the cookbooks or even here on TFL.  I usually get some spiral design, but it is not consistent over the entire loaf.  How much and how often do you flour the brotform?  I've heard that some use a 50/50 mix of white rice flour and bread flour.  Is this blend used on the brotform as well? 


Also, it seems that whenever I use the brotform to proof my bread, the bread tends to dehydrate on the outside and form a bit of a skin.  I haven't noticed any problem with volume or oven spring, so I don't think this is causing too much of a problem, I'm just wondering if anyone else has noticed this.  I usually proof the dough in a brotform and then stick that inside of one of these jumbo ziplock bags I found at the grocery store. Yesterday, I tried putting a cup of hot water in the bag with the brotform, but I don't think it made a difference.  When I went to score the dough, there was still a bit of skin to break through.


I'd appreciate any thoughts.  Thanks.

mountaindog's picture

Before I learned how well rice flour keeps the dough from sticking to the brotform, I had to use a lot more AP flour to dust the brotform each time it was used (and even then my dough would still stick if it was very wet or proofed a very long time for sourdough). When using a  lot of only AP flour to dust, you'll tend to get the pronounced design show up unless you brush off the excess flour just before baking. When you use white rice flour, you don't need to use as much and it doesn't show up as much, to some that is a good thing as many don't like excess flour on their finished bread. Using a mixture of both AP and white rice flour to dust the brotform may just give you the right balance of nonstick and visible design, plus I think the AP flour helps hold the rice flour onto the sides of the brotform better (if that makes sense).I dust with a mix each time the brotform is used but do not have a heavy hand as I don't like excess flour on my bread, ruins the taste of the crust to me. This pic is when I use a mix of both AP and rice flour in the brotform. 

In terms of skin, that is fairly normal on the bottom side of the loaf that sits in contact with either a brotform or banneton, and a little skin makes it somewhat easier to score the loaf without it dragging, so not always a bad thing as long as it is not too dry that it cracks during baking. As long as you cover your brotform with plastic or put in a plastic bag, that should keep the entire loaf from drying too much.

Hope that helps.