The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Brotforms by the dozen - ordering direct from Germany? making them?

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tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

Brotforms by the dozen - ordering direct from Germany? making them?

I have spent a shameful amount of time this morning (much less all the other time I've spent on this project) trying to figure out the best way to buy or make about 6 dozen (or more) brotforms.

I've sent an inquiry to TMB on quantity pricing. At retail, 6 dozen from them is about 1200$ + shipping....so that's not gonna happen.

Anyone here ordered from brotform.de or herbert-birnbaum.de? Both have some super-neato designs! I sent an inquiry to the latter about a US distributor, but I'm not too hopeful. I haven't done any international buying, but I do know from a former job that shipped internationally, shipping, customs, taxes, etc can quickly double (or more) the price of goods.

Any feedback on experience with bulk brotform purchasing from any source would be great.

I was originally planning on making the baskets. I'm launching a kickstarter project soon to raise money for our oven build and thought handmade brotforms would be a great reward and that I could make mine, also. I've only found two examples of homemade brotforms on TFL and both posters seemed to enjoy making them and not recommend doing it. I thought I had found a local basketmaker who could teach me how, but she hasn't been able to find the time. Has anyone else tried to make them? I would think that I'd experience similar troubles to the other 2 who attempted this, but after a few it should get easier, right?

jaywillie's picture
jaywillie

You don't really explain why you want to buy internationally, but there are plenty of sources for perfectly good brotforms in the U.S. (Perhaps you are elsewhere.) As recommended by others here on TFL, I bought proofing baskets from luckyclovertrading.com (search for "proofing"). They are not fancy, are only the basic shapes and sizes, and they are not German, but they do the job very well. Most importantly, they are inexpensive, but not cheaply made. This particular company doesn't sell them with liners, but those are readily available as well. 

tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

The german companies have much better selection. I don't know if you looked at German web pages, but they have nicer baskets and huge selections. 

Why would someone buy a BMW touring bike instead of a chinese scooter? Or my bread instead of 'artisan' bread at the local Kroger? Different strokes for different folks.

gerhard's picture
gerhard

Would anyone expect to pay the price of a Chinese Scooter and receive a BMW touring bike though?  Generally you get what you pay for and lots of times there is confusion between value and low cost.

Gerhard

Why would someone buy a BMW touring bike instead of a chinese scooter? Or my bread instead of 'artisan' bread at the local Kroger? Different strokes for different folks.

suave's picture
suave

Where do you think "German" brotforms are made?

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

In Austria?

tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

but maybe the directions to their manufacturing facilities on the webpages are bs?

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

There are no baskets on that site that are food grade or food safe.

If tn gabe plans to produce loaves for others, and it sounds like he does, he'll quickly come face-to-face with state and federal food safety laws, health dept. regulations, etc. I doubt any of the baskets on that site would be allowed in food production.

As for China, I'd recommend extreme caution with bulk purchasing. (Actually, I'd recommend avoiding it altogther). The safeguards we take for granted in Western commerce, from quality assurance to inspection to returns, are not to be had with Eastern commerce, not wholly, not in part, not at all. If you buy 100 brotforms and they are not to your liking, you're stuck with them. 

ssg's picture
ssg

There are a few people selling brotform on eBay from China. I purchased a similar quantity from http://masterproofing.com/, who also sell on eBay. I asked for a quote and they a very reasonable price with shipping. If you use EMS (which is the China Post express service), the shipping cost isn't too bad and customs shouldn't be too bad (you want to avoid UPS for these kinds of shipments, as it is generally easier to import by post). YMMV, of course.

MANNA's picture
MANNA

I have ordered alot from brotform.com and have been pleased with the whole experience. Prices are good, shipping is fine, and products are very good quality. Contact them and get a quantity price to save some money if your ordering that much.

tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

Brotform.com is the best option i have going so far. I should see if they can get some baskets with the wooden engraved bottoms as the more I think about those , the more I want them. I wish I never would have found the herbert-birnbaum page. They are serious. Even sell machines that are like bench grinders with vacuums attached for brotform cleaning brushes for giant bakeries. Not that I need one, but lets you know the company is serious about some baskets!

MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

I have bought from both Brotform and Lucky Clover. The brotform.de brotforms are definitely better quality and have a nice, sturdy wooden bottom (if that's what you like). They are also twice as expensive as the Lucky Clover baskets. I had my sister bring the German baskets with her last summer, when she came to visit, so shipping wasn't a problem at that point.

The Lucky Clover baskets (the most recent versions they have on their website) are more flimsy, but will do a decent job, if you don't beat them up too much. As a sidenote, I had ordered some baskets from them over a year ago - at that time, the quality was better and the price lower... oh, well.

 

Stephan

vink's picture
vink

All this talk about brotforms had this newbie looking at them at brotform.com. The instructions say to dust the basket nicely with flour .. but they also sell liners. So, do you need a liner?  (I really like the  patterned look, I might spring for one .. )

 

MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

Some people like the look of the pattern, some don't. AFAIK, you can go either route (personally, I prefer my baskets "au naturel").

 

Stephan

gerhard's picture
gerhard

One thing that I found, with baskets that have no liner, is dusting with just flour can result in the bread sticking in the basket.  I have much better results using semolina flour, corn starch or corn meal.

Gerhard

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Liners are optional with brotforms.

In fact, I think loaves made with a lined brotform look odd. You see the pattern of the the brotform, but not the flour lines. People then ask, "Why's the crust wrinkled?" instead of "How'd you make that neat flour pattern on the crust?"

Liners are not optional (or, shall I say, seldom optional) with bannetons. Unlike brotforms, which are made of thick, wrapped cane, bannetons are made of thin material that's woven, almost like wicker. Loaves will happily (and irrevocably) stick to an unlined banneton.

Re: unlined brotforms sticking. New ones can stick, but the old ones almost never do. If you can find used ones, buy those.

Re: brotform.com. This is the only site I've ever encountered that sells liners for brotforms. I think it's just an upsell technique, trying to sell something that's not needed. (I've done business with them before and have been please, FWIW.)

MANNA's picture
MANNA

With my brotforms I floured them. Packed in the flour good and then give my loafs a dusting before they go in. I have not had any problems with sticking.

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

If your hydration is much above ~70%, you have to consider carefully how well to flour the brotfrom.

Wet dough, even if heavily floured, can stick to either a banneton and brotform, and when it does, it's a nightmare to clean, especially if you don't clean them immediately. Once sticky dough dries on the brotform, you need to rent a jackhammer to remove it. It's like masonry or concrete after it dries.  

(I'll go out on a limb and say that neither brotforms nor bannetons are designed for doughs with hydration above ~70%).

varda's picture
varda

I'll get out on the limb with you.   If I have a high hydration boule, I'll proof it in a lightly oiled ceramic or pottery bowl.   -Varda

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

ran across some suggestions...

Other than the rice/wheat flour mixture (1 to 4)   A good dusting of rye flour  or  potato starch is suggested.  I use a shaker stainless steel sifting can (with lid) that cost me about €5.   Nice toy.  I also have one for cocoa, and cinnamon in another cupboard.   

tn gabe's picture
tn gabe
thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

It's like a toilet brush, a jet engine, and a lawnmower's grasscatcher bag all in one.

Must have one!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Check these guys out!   Under proofing baskets, check out the subdivisions...  fun fun fun!   

http://www.herbert-birnbaum.de/GB/brotformen.html

Susan's "bicycle seat forms" are there!    :)

tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

I sent them an email, but in English, so nothing so far.  A friend is fluent in German so maybe I can get him to send one for me. I really want some with the engraved wooden bottoms and they're not available here.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

you'll hear something.  It is 5pm here. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Link to an Austrian basket retailer, explore...  notice that we have not only cane but straw ones?  

(Got a barn full of straw?)

 

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

I laughed at the Schwingerl.

The first thought that came to mind was Ms. Piggy from the Muppets.

Is this a schwingerl?

MANNA's picture
MANNA

Just looked at the engraved baskets. Very cool! I wouldnt want a dedicated basket with that design though. I would make inserts to lay in the bottom of the basket with different designs on them. You could make more inserts for the cost of one engraved banneton. Cut a blank to fit into the bottom of the basket. Transfer a design onto the board and then use a tool to etch the design. Dremel with router attachment or old school wood engraving tools available at most craft supply stores.

martin's picture
martin

I live in Malaysia and I ordered a batch of these and received them today. They were sent by mail with a few hours of me making a bank transfer for payment. Once they left his place he sent me the DHL shipping information and tracking site.

regards

 

Martin Prior 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Goodwill for 34 cents each.  It took a couple of months to wait till they were on sale for half price (or a dollar on Thursdays), new, the right size and some other baker didn't beat me to them.  Missed out on one of the huge Romanoff? clay bakers yesterday for $2.  Second one I have missed in 3 months.  They work perfect and no sticking with flour and rice flour 50 -50

Salilah's picture
Salilah

I've used these guys:

http://www.brotformen.de/

(note this is not brotform.de - not sure if this was a typo or a different company?)

Bit strange in that I had to order, then they had to email me, then I could pay - think this was shipping cost (Germany to UK)

Nice quality, very fast delivery once I'd paid (but needed an email to chase after the order)

MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

There's a brotformen.de - they're in Germany. There's NO brotform.de. There's a brotform.COM - they seem to be headquartered in MN.

 

Stephan