A brotform (plural brotformen) is a basket made from coiled cane, used to contain shaped dough while it proves. Because the material absorbs moisture the possibility of dough sticking to it is reduced, although the basket should also be dusted with flour before use. Bread that has proved in a brotform often has a characteristic spiral pattern on it where flour from between the ridges of coiled cane has stuck to the dough.

Of German origin, the brotform supports the dough and prevents it from spreading out, particularly during the long proving times associated with the natural leavens that were used before the availability of baker's yeast. Brotformen come in different sizes and shapes to accommodate different shapes and weights of loaf. Cheaper versions of the traditional brotform are also available, made from compressed wood pulp or perforated plastic.

Want to find out more? Look at the chapter on rising, proving and fermentation in the book flour and water.

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