A banneton or brotform is nothing more than a simple reed or wicker basket in the shape of a flattened bee hive. It is dusted heavily with flour (rice flour, according to some) and used as a mold to rise bread dough in. This set of pictures will show the few steps necessary for you to use a brotform and make good bread with it. You can get roughly the same effect with a small plastic bread basket and some parchment paper for a lot less money. It won’t have the nice circular pattern, but it will have some sort of design, even if it’s just the parchment paper.
The bread is a 60% hydration French bread, made with a two-day old biga to a total weight of 60 ounces / 1.7 KG. There were 2 teaspoons / 10 ml yeast. There were 4 fermentations of 20 minutes each and a 1 hour rise. I used half the dough for the brotform and half for the series on shaping a boule. This is the same dough as in the folding series.
So far, I’ve posted only the larger pictures for this series.
Here we go:
Here are the well-floured brotform basket and the floured, shaped dough.
The dough is flipped over so the smooth, floured side is down and the rough side is up.
I dusted the exposed portion of the loaf and covered it with plastic to rise.
Here is the fully-risen dough. This dough didn’t fill the brotform.
Place parchment paper on top of the dough.
Place my trusty peel over the parchment paper.
Grasp the sides of the peel and the brotform, hold them together tightly and flip quickly.
Lift the brotform off the dough and there it is.
Slashed the dough.
Into the oven.
More. Because this dough was so active, it partially obliterated the brotform design.