The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Calibrated mixing bowl?

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Pablo's picture
Pablo

Calibrated mixing bowl?

I think that my ideal mixing bowl would be stoneware with calibrations marked on the inside so I could determine when a dough has doubled.  I love the feel and ambiance of stoneware but I have a real problem estimating doubling with the bowl shape that is gradually increasing as the sides flare out.  Currently I transfer my dough to a straight sided container that allows accurate observation of doubling.  I suppose that I could use a clear glass bowl and make marks on the outside, but it is not the aesthetic that I yearn for.  I have considered marking the inside of a stoneware bowl but I'm afraid that whatever I use will come off into the dough eventually and nobody wants that.  I'm hoping one of you clever, experienced people will have some idea for me or know of a product.  Thanks


:-Paul

hilo_kawika's picture
hilo_kawika

Hi Paul,


I seem to remember seeing a device some time back that measured the volume of ingredients in a bowl.  Basically there were two parts to the device:  a horizontal element wider than the bowl which rests on opposite sides, and a vertical element which is centered in the horizontal element.  To calibrate, you begin with the bowl empty and the bottom of the vertical element resting on the bottom of the bowl.  At that point you mark where the vertical element meets the underside edge of the horizontal element.  Next you add different amounts of water to the bowl and continue to calibrate the vertical element as the bowl fills up to the top.


In practice, you put the dough in the bowl, flatten the upper surface of the dough and make your first volume reading.  As the dough rises you can make more measurements and determine when the dough has reached double the original volume.


An alternative discussed in FL is to take a small subsample of the dough and put it in a small container.  Mark where the dough is initially and put a second mark at double that height.  When the subsample dough is doubled, you should be good to go with the rest of the dough.


  aloha,


Dave Hurd, Hilo, Hawaii

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz


An alternative discussed in FL is to take a small subsample of the dough and put it in a small container.  Mark where the dough is initially and put a second mark at double that height.  When the subsample dough is doubled, you should be good to go with the rest of the dough.



OK, I'm a math dweeb so bear with me, I'm not sure I can articulate this correctly, but it seems to me that a small sample would double itself faster in time than a large amount of dough because yeast cells reproduce exponentially.  I am WAAAAAYYYY too far from high school algrebra to do the math, and I may be totally wrong about this.


Maybe someone who is able to do the math can answer this question, since I'm curious about the answer.  There's a formula here (item 2, "Basic formula") Anybody care to put it to the test? 

SallyBR's picture
SallyBR

nope, they would double more or less at ths same pace, the amount of yeast is divided homogeneously throughout the dough and both "populations" would grow at a similar pace.  It is possible that the small piece of dough would grow slightly faster because the surface area is proportionally larger, giving it a little more oxygen, but I doubt the difference would be significant.


 


Still, just for the sake of not messing up another container and simplifying my life, I would go with the masking tape solution... :-)

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I use my old large bowl shaped tupperware and pyrex 2 quart marked bowls a lot.  For my large English set of mixing bowls or any other large bowls I wish to use and know the measurements.  Take a measure of water, like a quart jar which equals 4 cups, or easier for me..my 2 quart pyrex, fill it with water, pour into large bowl, mark the 'outside' where the water rises to, repeat, mark again 4qts, this way you can tell when it has doubled by first seeing where the dough reaches and then rises.  I have an antique collection of bowls...love my old bowls too, and I use them..even my dogs drink from a very old Bauer pottery bowl.  I'm going to message you a photo I think you will enjoy. 


Sylvia 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


2-quart measuring cup from Anchor-Hocking. Available on Amazon.com. I think they are currently on sale.


I have two of these. They are wonderful. You can quantify dough expansion, and, for no extra charge, get to see the lovely bubbles forming.


David

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

that's what mine is, not pyrex, mine is pretty old and the lid isn't as nice as your lid, and my old, old tupperware one looks almost identical..love these measure bowls.  Use them all the time.  I think I found my AH one in target and walmart may carry them. 


Sylvia

SallyBR's picture
SallyBR

If you absolutely need to use your stoneware bowl for fermentation of the dough, I suggest that you measure the doubled volume with water, see what the level is, and glue a piece of masking tape right on the level, perhaps a few milimiters above just to make sure your dough won't touch it (it would not harm it, but I can see some people would prefer to avoid it)


 


dump the water out, dry the bowl, leaving the masking tape there - put your dough in and wait until it rises to that level

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

but never use it for this reason (although I can eyeball it pretty well).


How about using water to determine where to mark volume measurements on a stick like a skinny bamboo skewer, and then sticking the skewer in the center of your dough?  That shouldn't affect your dough too much and can also act as a "tent pole" to keep your towel or plastic wrap from sticking to the dough if you leave the stick in. 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

That sounds fantastic(k) - I've got some bamboo skewers that should be perfect.  Way cool.


:-Paul

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

now that makes sense... 'lol' simple solution!  I also just eyeball and feel the dough when it doubles in my large bowls.


Sylvia

davidg618's picture
davidg618

that are marked in liters and quarts, with large red numbers I can see, even without my glasses.


However, I ignore them, or, at most, glance to get a rough estimate of the dough's expansion.


Like Sylvia, I've learned to trust how the dough "feels", especially since I do multiple, time-spaced S&F during bulk fermentation which, even with gentle handling, disrupts the volume expansion.


David G

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

or engraving it?  This could be done on the inside to mark stoneware, wood, or glass.  There exists a hard tipped vibrating tool used for labeling shop tools, glass etc.   The water could be added and marks made at the water levels, empty the bowl and engrave the markings further.  Could even be done as artwork winding up the inside of the bowl, a frosted surface that would clean easily.


If I had a wooden bowl, I might fancy some brass tacks or nails fine sanding the tops flush with the bowl's surface. 


When I used to just pour water into a flat plastic bowl to make my bread, I would tip the bowl about 45°on edge so that the liguid was more concentrated and easier to eyeball.  Using carrots or beet juice to stain the bowl, sets a ring in the bowl to use as a measure each time for consistancy.   It works well if you have limited ingredients and use a basic recipe often.   I would use this method of bread dough mixing for limited kitchen resources.  I don't always have all the kitchen goodies!

Pablo's picture
Pablo

This is going to work great, I think.  A bit crude 2-cup calibrations to start with, but I think that I can refine it.  I have lots of skewers to play with.  I know that a calibrated straight-sided and/or glass container would solve the science issue, but, irratationally, I crave the art of the stoneware bowl.  Anyway, this looks like success, thanks to everyone for their thoughts.


:-Paul