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Temperature accuracy with Brod & Taylor folding proofer?

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poorlittlefish's picture
poorlittlefish

Temperature accuracy with Brod & Taylor folding proofer?

I have been using a plant propagator for my proofing which goes up to 28C fairly accurately, but I decided to buy a Brod & Taylor folding proofer after reading so many good reviews about it.  The trouble is, I just can't get the temperature inside the box to match what I've set on the display.  Today I decided to check the accuracy by putting a household LCD thermometer and a calibrated Thermapen in there (the household thermometer gets within 1/2 degree of the Thermapen, so is itself fairly accurate).

When I set the proofer to 30C I was only getting a maximum of 25.7C and when I bumped it up to 35C I only got 29.3C - both readings were taken after a good hour of setting the temperature and the lid wasn't removed.  I thought the whole point of setting a temperature was that the inside of the box would attain and maintain that temperature, so I'm pretty disappointed that this isn't happening for me, especially as the proofer cost three times as much as the propagator.

Has anyone else tested whether their Brod & Taylor proofer is reaching the set temperatures or are there any tips as to what might be causing the temperature to be a good 5 degrees under what it should be?

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

A good way to measure the average temperature in the proofer is to put a sealed  jug of water inside (1/2 gal is good enough), set the temperature, and walk away for 12 hrs.  Then measure the temperature of the water with the Thermapen.

Do this at three temperatures:

1. room temp +2°F

2. max setting on the proofer

3. half way in between

Now put some towels over/around the proofer and repeat the max setting test.

This should tell you whether the thermostat is off and assess the ability of the heater to hold the box temperature up against the cooling effect of the room.

Report the results here so others can learn from your data.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Since I received my B&T in 2011, I've always placed a small room thermometer inside the unit when using it.  The interior temperature has always been the same as the programmed temperature and more importantly, if I put a container of 76F bread dough inside the proofer, that dough temperature is maintained.

From what I've read, customer service at B&T is excellent, so you should contact them to report the problem.  Am sure it will be taken care of to your satisfaction.   http://brodandtaylor.com/

pepperhead212's picture
pepperhead212

I use one of those outside the oven Polder meat thermometers to check the temp of the dough in my proofer, and found out early on that it gets much warmer than the listed temp at the bottom of the bowl, since that is where the heat is coming from.  So I use a buffer, placing a small, 1/2" thick plastic chopping board on the bottom - not too large, just so that the bowl will not be directly over the metal of the bottom - and  it helps even out the temp. from top to bottom, though it will still be a little cooler on top. I still put the probe in the dough, when not proofing the final loaf, just to be sure, and it seems to keep the temp. close to the listed temp.  I set it to alarm at 3º over the set temp., but have not had it go off yet.

Dave 

poorlittlefish's picture
poorlittlefish

I did do a few tests using a jug of water, as suggested above.  What I didn't do, though, is repeat the tests with towels over the proofer because I don't think it's right that a £150 device should need such measures (the £50 propagator didn't need towels) and I wouldn't want to keep it if it did.  

Set at 49C (proofer maximum) the water temperature reached 43.2C.
Set at 35C the water temperature reached 33.5C.
Set at 25C the water reached 21.3C 

I've just sent Brod & Taylor an e-mail so before I ask for a replacement/refund, I'll see what they say.  

Many thanks.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

It should do much better than that.

Sounds like a bad controller or sensor.

poorlittlefish's picture
poorlittlefish

Brod & Taylor got back to me very quickly and suggested I measure by pouring 100ml room temperature water into a small metal cup (all I had was a mini loaf pan), setting the proofer to 35C and testing the temperature of the water with the Thermapen after 45 mins.  I did this, allowing slightly longer time, and the temperature was still only 30.9C.  Considering the depth of the water was only about 1cm I'd have expected it to heat up faster than a jug of water and reach the 35C the proofer had been set to, were it functioning properly.  I'm going to request a replacement.

SCChris's picture
SCChris

I had a B&T unit go bad and the unit was replaced quickly and efficently.  Because of the experience I also use a insant read analog thermometer.  I drilled a small hole in a corner of the lid, out of the way of where the brotforms might sit and the probe end of the small taylor thermometer is inserted through this small hole.  It gives me a quick confirmation of what the temp is everytime I check the proofing progress. 

 

Chris

 

poorlittlefish's picture
poorlittlefish

Chris - glad it's not just me. The company answered a couple of initial emails  but they didn't follow up so, as I'm in the UK, I asked Lakeland to replace it. They had suggested I'd get more accurate readings if I covered the container, but a metal bowl covered tightly with clingfilm still didn't reach temperature after 12 hours, so that's why I gave up. I'll try this new one out over the weekend, but I'm curious to know if you now get accurate temperatures that match what's set (or close enough) with your replacement - many thanks.

SCChris's picture
SCChris

I get close enough and tune to the temp I really am looking for.  I knew that I would find some difference in the set point and the thermometer and I don't sweat it much..  I always add water to the provided tray, I think it buffers the heater from the enclosure, and the new unit is within a degree or 3 of what the thermometer says.  I have felt for some time that the independant thermometer is the way to go, I just feel better knowing that I have a check.

 

Chris

 

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

Interesting, If I bought a vacuum cleaner and it did not clean the floor, I would not expect the manufacture to have me test the vacuum first with flour, then sand, then pebbles to  determine if I may get a replacement.  That just ain’t right.

SCChris's picture
SCChris

Because the heating element and thermostat seem to be located in the base rather than in the proofing area, I'm happy with the accuracy.  It's far better than the competition, there doesn't seem to be any at this price point without crafting your own.  It does leave me wanting for a larger proofer.  I can proof 2 9" inch brotforms at a time, so although the bulk proofing allow enough space for my 3KG batches it doesn't provide enough room for 4 boules proofing in brotforms.  At the moment this isn't really hurting me but when I increase the batchs to 8 to 10Kg I'm going to need to find a solution for 10 to 12 brotforms..  I'm very satisfied with the ability to hold a temp for proofing even if I feel the need to tweak it up or down.

 

Chris

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

This is what I use so space is not an issue and the temperature is spot on.

http://www.zesco.com/Metro-C539-CFC-U-Full-Height-Holding-and-Proofing-Cabinet-pz482D152.htm

SCChris's picture
SCChris

Thanks Faith!  That would definately handle my brotforms!!  And then some..  ;-)

 

Chris

grandmamac's picture
grandmamac

I've been thinking about buying this proofer but I have a very expensive propagator (Vitapod) with a base heater controlled by thermostat so I think I'd be better using that!

Thanks