The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My $5 brotform

salvy's picture

My $5 brotform

I discovered this forum when searching the web for a reasonably-priced brotform basket.

Finding none, I read some of the earlier brotform posts and realized that this baking item seems to be universally overpriced.

Decided to take matters into my own hands. It worked!

Grabbed a roll of 7/16" OD x 20' vinyl tubing at Home Depot, $5.55 with tax. I am confident this stuff is food-safe - I have used it for years for brewing beer and it's what moves air and water in millions of fishtanks around the world.

Washed it, then stuck it in a 200 degree oven for about 10 minutes. This made it pliable and easy to coil. Carefully wrapped it around the outside of a medium sized mixing bowl to form the shape. Then spent half a DVD movie wiring the coils together with coated florist's/craft wire. The finished form is around 8" wide and 3" deep.

Took some time but saved me $25.

Used it to proof my standard house recipe - found here.

The loaf is quite beautiful but next time I think I will use more flour in the basket to make a better color contrast.

I plan to make another but will instead use stainless wire since in hindsight, I am not so sure how the green craft wire is going to hold up.



SourdoLady's picture

That is just too cool! I love the fact that it is non-porous and washable to eliminate the possibilities of bugs and rancidity. I have never used basket type brotforms just for those reasons. Good job!

SteveB's picture

The porosity of a cane-based brotform is considered one of it's benefits.  The cane wicks away moisture from the surface of the dough, helping to produce a crisp crust when the dough is baked.

staff of life's picture
staff of life

I have many willow bannetons and just one plastic one.  I bought the plastic one (from SFBI's site) to see how it performed.  The proofed loaves are ever so much more difficult to turn out of the plastic one than the cane.  I don't know if that's because it's one solid piece as opposed to the willow's little bits of space between each coil, or the fact that it's plastic, or both.  But if your $5 one works fine--go for it!


salvy's picture

Yes, it rinsed clean very easily but version 2.0 will be better, with the stainless wiring.


Floydm's picture

Very slick.

TableBread's picture

Wow!  Introducing the MacGyver Baker :)  That is amazing!  I wonder if you could use a smaller size tube to get more distinctive rings?  I think I may have to give this a swing!

edh's picture

Very cool! I've been thinking about turning a bowl on the lathe, but with interior grooves to mimic both the pattern and airflow of a brotform, but this is way cooler. It's like art that you can use!

Very nice!


salvy's picture

I love the idea of turning one out of wood. You could do some cool sharp angles with that approach, instead of all round surfaces.

Thanks for the compliments, everybody. It was fun making it in front of my wife and daughter, who were clueless about what I was up to. Every now and then I'd stick it on my head and say it was designed to keep aliens from reading my thoughts. For a brief moment, I had them worried.


buns of steel's picture
buns of steel

I made a nice one I'm quite happy with. 


(Now for the typical round brotforms, I have the spendy willow ones from Germany).


But I also made myself some small rectangular ones.  I took two old wooden whisky bottle boxes, you know the ones with the sliding piece of wood for the "lid" on one of the large sides.


Then I took some dowels I had laying around (from a Roman Shade that had faded), of approximate diameter to the willow in the typical brotforms, and I cut them into many pieces the same length as the box (I used Felco pruners to do it easily, you could use whatever).  I filled the bottom of the box wall to wall with lengthwise dowels. 


So they have the same wooden texture as the willow brotforms.  I can make nice small rectangular loaves in it, and slide the lid on too for a moister proofing environment.  I made two nice small loaves of a chocolate-sour cherry bread, sort of like Nancy Silverton's, they were perfect for them.


LOL I learned as I went, as the first time I didn't glue down the dowels (I thought I could just wedge them in), but when I went to turn out the loaves, it was dowels all over the kitchen.  Back to the drawing board and some non-toxic edible children's glue, and I'm happy with them!


Now I just have to find some more similar boxes, and some larger ones. 




salvy's picture

Would love to see a photo of that. The Lincoln Logs Brotform. Nice work.

hungrymind's picture

the best price found so far is $14+ at Not as slick as yours but will do the job, they got oblong one too.

dolcebaker's picture

I love this idea of making a banneton!  I really like the washable part.  The price is certainly an incentive...  

Technical Question.. when you heated the plastic, and wrapped it, did it cool quikly and maintain it's shape (on the bowl I expect?) while you put the wires on?