Theorem and proof

The Brød and Taylor folding proofer arrived yesterday. I confess to some disappointment – the proofer is optimised to work at ambient temperatures of 16°C and above. Now, if my kitchen were that warm, I’d not be needing the proofer, would I?

Under the heading “Tips and Tricks”, Brød and Taylor say this:

[quote style=”3″]The temperature control in your Folding Proofer is optimized for use in a 65F (18C) environment. If your kitchen is much colder, you may consider raising the temperature set point slightly for best results.

http://brodandtaylor.com/bread-more/tips-tricks/

[/quote]

That’s not much help. By how much?

So, I have entered a period of experimentation. I have equipment and notebook to hand.

Today I am making an ordinary white loaf, using the Marriage’s flour and a standard 500g flour/350ml water/7g dried yeast/5g salt recipe. I added a couple of tbsps of sunflower oil. The water was tap temperature and the ingredients at room temperature. I shall be using the baking dome to bake my dough.

The proofer is set on top of the freezer in the utility room as there is no room in the kitchen for it. There is no heating in the utility room and the wind from the North is blowing through the cracks in the door. The ambient temperature, read right by the proofer’s side,  is currently 14.5°C but I decided, for thoroughness, to begin at the recommended proofing temperature when using commercial yeast and I set the cabinet to 26°C. After one hour, the dough is coming along nicely but not yet “there”. I added 30 minutes to my timer.

wpid13610-BL_13_00001.jpg

Later

After 90 minutes proving time, the dough was very relaxed and soft. I am reasonably certain that the dough was springing back but as it was so sticky that it clung to my finger tips, who knows. It was doubled in size anyway, and that’s a good enough guide for me. I noted the ambient temperature had dropped to 13.8°C.

When shaping the dough into a ball, it felt cold to the touch – no noticeable warm spots.

I popped the dough into  a well floured banetton and placed it back into the prover, still at 26°C. I am expecting it to take up to an hour to double in size, but will be keeping an eye on it as I prepare lunch. I shall be needing to preheat the baking dome in good time.

I’m doing fish, chips and peas today – just commercially frozen bake-in-the-oven stuff (the peas are mine, from a  previous meal). Timings are such that there is going to be competition for the oven at the time that the bread needs to go in. I may deploy the second oven today! I should have organised fresh fish for deep frying, and left the oven free, but I am trying to avoid frying these days. My hips won’t take it.

Later still

An hour at this temperature seemed to be just right, the dough had reached the top of the basket.

wpid13612-BL_13_00002.jpg

There was a bit of a flow problem when the dough hit the baking dome. It was a very soft and relaxed dough indeed. I’m not holding out much hope of a good rise at this stage. The lid is still on, so I am on tenterhooks. I’m giving it 30 minutes with the lid on and most likely another 10 minutes once it comes off.

The Result

Sadly disappointing. It all went a bit flop bot.

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Less liquid next time, I think. Never mind, the crust is good and it smells great.

I liked the crumb, which was soft and with enough variation in holes to make it interesting.

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I ate a nice chunky crust with some Port Salut for my tea, washed down with a shared can of lager. Supplies in this household are very low indeed and thus I shall be missing from my post tomorrow. I shall be on the ferry. I do hope to come home with a trophy though, having just seen a tweet from Kirkness & Gorie, who have some real French saucisson in. Save one for me! It will go nicely with the remains of that loaf when I come home tired tomorrow.

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