These coiled cane proofing baskets turn ordinary loaves into affairs of crusty gorgeousness. You can read more about their use and care here.
I’ve discovered that Brotform.com is a wonderful source for brotforms. Not only do their prices beat all others I’ve found by quite a bit, but my order arrived in record time and I did not feel gouged on the shipping charges. They offer a variety of sizes in round, oval, and oblong shapes.
All of this is, of course, meant to console and inform you in case you are not the lucky winner of the two brotforms — 9″ round and 8.5″ oval — that the very nice people at Brotform.com will send to a randomly-drawn commenter on this post, provided said commenter has a US shipping address.
So go on and comment it up before 11:59 PM PST on Thursday, July 9. Please make it interesting (but hey, no pressure!).
I would like to wish happy weighing to Joey D of San Diego, winner of the My Weigh i5000 scale, and Nicole Dula of Dula Notes, winner of the KD-8000.
Next time I’m going to have to ask My Weigh for 247 scales, so everyone can win one. I’m not sure if they’ll go for this, though, so it might be a good idea to just get one. Here are a couple of online sources:
I know I’ve said this before (and before and before and before), but I need to weigh in on this again:
If you’re not weighing your ingredients, you should be!
If you don’t know why, go scoot and read my small rant on weighing. (Summary: It’s accurate. It’s fast. It’s neat. Everyone who’s anyone is doing it.) Then come back, because I have something you might want.
For two years my trusty scale has been a My Weigh i5000. I love it because:
it is spot-on accurate
it can weigh in either grams (to 1-gram precision) or pounds and ounces (to 0.5-ounce precision)
it has a capacity of 5 kg
it is slim and lightweight and fits easily in a kitchen drawer (although I leave mine out because I use it daily)
I love my scale so much I thought I’d ask the people at My Weigh if they would give me one that I could give to one of you, and they were nice enough to say yes.
(Public Service Announcement: Even if you know all about baking stones, you may find it worthwhile to read this post through to the end.)
You can spend a fortune on bread-baking tools and gadgets if you want to (and I admit I’ve done my part to stimulate that little piece of the economy). But when you get right down to it, the most glorious loaf can be produced using only a minimum of tools: your hands, a surface or container for mixing the dough, an oven of some kind, and something to hold the bread in the oven.
If you’re after crusty artisan (or artisanal, if you’re so inclined) hearth-style breads, that thing that holds your bread in the oven should be a baking stone.
When you put a loaf into any hot oven, the bread bakes by radiation (heat coming at the loaf directly from the element and oven walls) and by convection (hot air circulating in the oven chamber).
When you put a loaf onto a hot stone within a hot oven, the bread bakes by conduction as well; heat is transferred to the dough via direct contact with the hot stone. Conduction allows heat to be quickly and efficiently transferred through the entire mass of dough, which allows the interior to rise in the oven, and water to be evaporated away, before the outer crust has a chance to set and limit its expansion. The end result is that these loaves generally have greater “oven spring” and a crisper crust than pan-baked breads.
Another advantage of a stone is that it helps to maintain the oven at a constant temperature. The stone increases the thermal mass (heat-storing capacity) of the oven, so once the oven and stone are hot, the oven has to work less hard to stay hot, and the temperature recovers more quickly after opening the oven door than it does in a stoneless oven.
A baking stone can be as simple as unglazed terra cotta tiles available inexpensively from any building supply store, and of course there are several products specifically sold as baking stones.
For the past three years this Fibrament stone has been my stone of choice (you can tell because well-stained means well-used). It is thick and heavy, and while I can honestly say that other stones I’ve used have gotten the job done, there are a number of things that make the Fibrament my favorite: