The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Maximum Hydration Level For Loaves Proofed In Unlined Brotforms??

baltochef's picture

Maximum Hydration Level For Loaves Proofed In Unlined Brotforms??

I currently have a biga retarding in my refrigerator that several days from now I intend to use in creating a dough that will form a rustic-style bread..I am curious as to other members experiences in proofing wetter doughs in an unlined brotform..If you can recall, what is the greatest level of hydration in a dough that you have successfully proofed in an unlined proofing basket??..

Thanks, Bruce

rainwater's picture

I would like to know this also......very interesting....I don't have any brotforms, but intend to order some soon....although I may purchase the plastic forms because they are probably less maintenance.

stevel's picture

i know the plastic brotforms do not work as well with hydrated dough as the coiled cane. extra flour is needed for it to release the proofed loaf without distorting ( and you need to make sure it is alittle underproofed than over for it to release cleanly). an exact hydration rate is hard to calculate with the variable of the flour. moisture content with flours, especially organic, can differ 1 or 2 % from bag to bag. i like to push the rate as high as i can while maintaining the perfect shape of the form and coiled flour decoration. 71% is the premix formula that i use for my rustic peasant loaf with organic type 70 flour. this is about the limit for me, and sometimes when i do the final shape and she feels alittle slack i might chill the form and all before i release, slash and bake.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Hydration is naturally higher with high % rye doughs, they can start around 100% hydration and go higher.


rainwater's picture

Does this mean that the natural cane brotforms will perform with more hydration compared to plastic forms.  Something to consider. 

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Bruce.

Hydration alone won't answer your literal question, as Mini implies. However, if your dough will be predominantly (80%) white flour, I'd say somewhere about 75-78% hydration should still work, if you rub a lot of an AP/Rice flour mix into the brotform.

Doughs that absorb a lot of water, like ryes or whole grain wheat, could go higher.

Cane brotformen absorb some moisture from the surface of the loaf, in addition to what the flour can absorb. Plastic doesn't do this.



rolls's picture

how about improvising with a colander/sieve. does it help that it's perforated?

stevel's picture

i guess i must not be calculating flour to water ratios correctly, cause 78% and above (or 100%) in my dough just wouldn't work, but as long as we all are getting the desired results, it probably is pretty close to the same rate.:)