The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Brotformen or - dough rising basket

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mbass7mile's picture
mbass7mile

Brotformen or - dough rising basket

Every time I use the brotform to raise bread, it sticks.  I don't care how much flour I put in it, it sticks!  What am I doing wrong?


If the dough tears when removing it, does it matter much? Will it rise again?  I am hung up on not "degassing" the dough when I get ready to form and bake.


Thank you

BazF's picture
BazF

Hi there...


Are you using wheat flour to line your brotform? If so that is probably the answer - try using rye flour or rice flour. That should sort it!


Good luck


Barry

mbass7mile's picture
mbass7mile

No I just use AP flour


Thanks I willl try the rye or rice.


Diana

ehanner's picture
ehanner

You didn't say what kind of rising basket you are using. I use three kinds of baskets and don't have a serious sticking issue with any if I follow some basic procedures.


With all of these baskets, it helps if you make a point of tightening the outer gluten sheath in your final shaping. Then just before transferring the dough to the basket, dust lightly with regular flour or as has been suggested, rye flour. The higher the dough hydration, the more effort to flour the dough first.


The best anti-stick blend of flour in my experience is a 50/50 mix of white rice flour and AP or what ever your bench flour is. I use a 2 cup sifter/shaker filled with this blend and dust the dough and then the basket. Works every time.


The very best non stick baskets I have are the linen lined baskets from SFBI or TMB baking supply. They are inexpensive, high quality and once you have rubbed flour into the fabric a few times, even high hydration dough will pop right out perfect every time. The coiled and plastic also work well but you just can't beat the linen lined ones in my opinion.


Eric

mbass7mile's picture
mbass7mile

Well I have a basket -made of coiled willow reeds from King Arthur Flour. Also a bakers couche of flax fibers.  Haven't used it at all.  I have been concentrating on the mixing and baking of the bread and not so much other baskets or couche.  I have that down pretty good so I thought I would give the basket a try again.  Do you prefer the basket or the couche?  I also struggle with the tightening of the outer gluten sheath when I form the dough


Thanks for your help.


Diana

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Diana,


I have a coiled basket from KA Flour also. I bought it because I like the pattern it leaves on the dough. I have read where a clean basket will benefit from a spritz of oil followed by a dusting of the flour blend. This light application of oil helps hold the flour in place. I've tried this procedure a few times but I don't like the smell of rancid oil. After a few weeks the oil starts to smell off and needs to be scrubbed under water and dried.


Obviously the choice between Brotformen or Couche cloth is driven by the bread type (boule or batard/baguette). If you haven't used the cloth yet, pick a side to flour and rub your bench flour into the surface. I roll it up between uses or fold it gently into quarters and keep it in a clean plastic bag. Be sure to hang it on the oven door after use to dry it out well before storing.


The linen liner and couche cloth are great proofing tools. Both seem to provide some amount of drying to the skin on the dough which helps in scoring. I would suggest baking a few loaves with a 65% dough hydration so you get the feel for the process with a more easily manageable dough.


Eric

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Eric,


I use just rice flour--brown, but I don't think that matters--on lined and unlined brotforms, and my couche. I've read you and others praising a 50/50 mix, and I want to try it, but haven't yet. Using straight brown rice flour I've only one thing I would like to see behave differently. Brown rice flour doesn't "stick" as well as AP flour. It falls out of the valleys in the wicker coils, and the couche weave leaving more than enough in the bottom, and not enough (rarely) in the sides; or "puddles" of flour on the couche. I always have to even out the flour's distribution just before I place the loaves for proofing.


When I used just AP flour, it clung to the wood or linen better, but it absorbed more moisture, and I got a lot more loaves sticking than I do now. Can you comment; does the mix behave better in this regard?


David G


 

caraway's picture
caraway

I had a sticking problem, also, in spite of using rice flour/ap flour conditioning.  But when I started retarding overnight I slipped basket and all into a large plastic bag instead of just covering the shaped boule with plastic.  Voila! no more sticking.  Doesn't make logical sense, I know. 


Also much prefer the linen liner as Eric does.  It makes a smoother finish on the crust which I like.


Good luck!  Sue

mbass7mile's picture
mbass7mile

Thank you for your help. I will try this.  I also have a linen liner and just have never used it.  Do you place the basket and dough in the plastic bag in the refrigerator? 


Diana

ehanner's picture
ehanner

David,


I read early on in my learning how to use a proofing basket, that white rice flour works best. Also that it could be mixed 50/50 with AP. I used to worry about ruining my proofed dough when it stuck. Now, I can't remember the last time I had a dough become stuck to the basket.


I have to believe my experience is mostly due to learning to dust the top of the loaf before it is inverted and placed in the basket/couche. Even with an 80% hydration boule that is refrigerated overnight, the combination of flouring the basket and also the dough seems to work in the linen lined baskets. The plastic ones are less tolerant to the overnight method simply due to the surface not absorbing the flour. Coiled wicker is somewhere in the middle.


When the dough is turned out on the peel/parchment, often I will brush the excess flour to even the surface where there are pockets of flour.


Here is a video of a baker at Poilane in Paris, The handling is especially interesting when he is taking the basket and thumping it down on the loading peel. Nothing gentle about it, just turned it over with a thud. Note the flour on the top of the dough. That caused me to rethink my approach to using baskets and my fear the dough would stick. That baker is  flouring the dough before placing it in the basket. Being certain you don't over proof is key to success with all of this. Also, note how well the dough is tightened before being placed in the basket. There is a lot to be learned from this video.


These days, I place 3 or 4 fingers of both hands on the dough and hold the basket with thumbs as I rotate the basket, hoping the dough will stay in place long enough to get it centered where I need it. Plastic gives me a second or two to drop out.

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Ive watched that video before, but not from that point of view. I only have stuck loaves on rare ocassions, but I'm still probably over-fussy by how flour-free I try to keep my board when I'm shaping, and then never dust the top before loading.


I'm baking tomorrow. I'll give the 50/50 mix a try, and dust the tops if I feel they need it. It's a 70% hydrated dough, so I doubt it will be necessary this time.


David G