Does the smell of fresh bread make you stop in your tracks to see where it is coming from? I love fresh bread in any format – plain, with butter, in a sandwich, used to dip in olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese, and on and on. I am a novice, though, at bread making. I shared with you in a previous post, the method I have been using with a no knead bread recipe, baking the bread in a Le Creuset Dutch Oven. (http://inspiringkitchen.com/homemade-bread-le-creuset/) Well, I was recently offered an opportunity to use a Brotform basket to make homemade bread and decided to give it a try.
Have you heard of these bowls before? They are the traditional European bread rising (called proofing) baskets. If you have wondered how the breads you see in bakeries have a beautiful ribbed look across the top, this is how they do it. The baskets come in different shapes to allow you to make a variety of Artisan breads. They are made of natural cane that helps to give the bread a delicious crunchy crust.
Using them is really easy. You make your favorite bread recipe (I made a country loaf) letting it rise the first time in a bowl brushed with oil. Then when you are ready for the second rise, you form the dough into a ball with the smooth side down and place it in the thoroughly floured Brotform basket. As the bread rises, the imprint of the coils from the basket will appear as you can see in the picture below.
When you are ready to put it in your oven per your recipe, you gently un-mold it onto your preferred pan (cookie sheet, baking stone, pan). My suggestion is to use cornmeal on the stone as it is easier to move the dough onto the pan and gives the loaf a bit of a subtle crunch when you cut into the bread.
Once you have taken the dough out of the basket, all you need to do is to tap the excess flour out of the bowl into the sink. I gave it a quick run through with water to get any flour remnants out of the coils and then let it dry before putting it away. This bowl would be really nice to serve the sliced bread as well or use for other purposes both indoors and outdoors.
As I mentioned, there are a variety of basket sizes to choose from. The price point is very reasonable averaging around $30. They can be found at many of your local retailers like Williams-Sonoma, Bed Bath & Beyond and Amazon. (Frieling 8-inch Round Brotform)
Do you make home made bread? What is your favorite recipe? And style of baking? Please share it with us here, or on Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram.
Thanks for stopping by!
Disclaimer: I was given this product to review. The thoughts and opinions are exclusively my own.
- 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1/2 cup pumpernickel flour or King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
- 2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Seeds (sesame, flax, caraway or poppy)
- Pour the water in to a mixing bowl. Add the yeast and pumpernickel or white whole wheat flour, and let sit for several minutes until the mixture begins to bubble. Stir in the salt and one cup of all purpose flour and mix well. Gradually add the second cup of all purpose flour until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 4 to 5 minutes. Let the dough rest while you clean out and grease your bowl. Then, knead the dough a few more minutes. The dough should be on the slack side and a little tacky, but should not be sticky. When the dough is well-kneaded, place it into the prepared bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- When your dough has risen once, flour your Brotform basket heavily and sprinkle some seeds in the bottom. Pick up your dough and work it around in your hands a bit, expelling the air. Make the dough into a ball and place it, nice side down, into the basket. Drape the dough with a lightly greased plastic wrap and set it aside to rise for 45 minutes or until it's crowned nicely over the rim of the basket.
- Have a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet ready. Very gently, roll the dough from the basket onto the baking sheet. It should slip out gracefully without deflating. If it deflates totally, a small settling is ok, simply form it into a smooth ball and put it back in the basket and let it rise again.
- Bake the bread in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. For a crunchy, crisp loaf, spray water into the oven with a spray bottle three times during the first ten minutes of baking. When the bread is done, remove it from the baking sheet and set it on the rack of the oven, turn the oven off and crack the door open a couple of inches. Let the bread cool completely in the oven. If you want a soft loaf, remove the bread from the oven and from the pan and let it cool completely at room temperature on a wire rack.