The Fresh Loaf

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Still baking - now with proof box

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Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Still baking - now with proof box

Hi,

As many others these days I mainly baked my tried and tested formulas, with not much new to blog about.

With exception of my proof box - the parts were on top of a cupboard since last summer, but now I am putting them to good use.

I think the quality of my ryes have greatly improved since.

The parts for the proof box

1. cheap picnic cooler

2. reptile thermostat

3. reptile heat mat

4. cooling rack

Here a photo:

Just a few photos from last weekend's bake, which was mainly for restocking the freezer:

1. Some ITJB Vienna Bread and Hamelman's Sunflower Seed Bread with pate fermentee

2. Some Challah (DiMuzio's sweet challah) for a school function:

3. Finally my weekly batch of 40% Rye with caraway seeds, and Russian Rye a la Andrew Whitley

Keeping myself busy ...

Juergen

Comments

lumos's picture
lumos

As many others these days I mainly baked my tried and tested formulas, with not much new to blog about.

Sounds just like me....:p   Good to see you back, too, but looks like you've been much busier on baking front than I've been.

So the proofing box you told me about is now up and running, then.  Interesting to hear the quality of your rye breads improved with the use of the proofing box. Can you elaborate how it improved?  Flavour?  Texture?    Do you use the proofing box for non-rye based loaves, too? 

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Lumos, Good to hear from you.

I am currently using the proof box to prepare my "production" sourdoughs, and that works very well.

The sourdoughs are "on the spot" when I need them, which shows im better flavor and texture.

The box is quite small, I can't get big loaves for the fermentation / proofing in there, but with the fairly short proofing times of my rye breads, using warm water for the mix compensates.

I didn't use it for wheat yet - my kitchen is warm enough for wheat sourdoughs, and I don't am a beginner when it comes to those simple white sourdoughs ....

Juergen

lumos's picture
lumos

Thanks for the reply, Juergen.   I don't have rye starter at the moment, but using reptile heating tools is a brilliant idea I think I can use to make a proofing box for dough in winter.  Thanks for sharing.  :)

bertie26's picture
bertie26

Hi Juergen 

well done. You have given me a great idea and concept I am going to try it too  bye albert

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Albert,

I saw you had a look at Janet's great setup.

This site is like cherry picking, isn't it?

Best Wishes,

Juergen

eliabel's picture
eliabel

Thanks for very interesting information about a home made proof box. And a compliment on the wonderful loaves!

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Juergen

varda's picture
varda

Juergen,  So no door on your proof box?   Do you rotate because of that?   Nice, big bake!  -Varda

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

is a boring piece of plastic.

I rotated the box because standing up the box is quite narrow.

Lying down I can ferment up to 3 Kg of dough in a big bowl.

Juergen

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Juergen,

I find the best results with my rye breads always come from a final paste risen in warm conditions using a really kicking starter.   Looks like your prover works a treat.

All those breads look great; such a good variety too

Best wishes

Andy

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

... and the constant, controlled heat really opens a lot of new paths ...

And thank you for your appreciation. It feels like I am in command of my oven now.

The Challah has gone - the kids at the school were quite ravenous. And the sunflower seed bread is a new favourite of my wive's.

Our discussion at the gathering about starch damage in rye and my actual encounter with starch-damaged rye in Germany also help to achieve conistency.

Best Wishes,

Juergen

EvaB's picture
EvaB

and really nice bread. The sunflower does look lovely and yummy, but I think your wife is singular, since wive's is plural and I don't think you have more than one. Although with that much bread baking you must have the old lady in a shoe's family! I don't think I would make it through that in a year!

 

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

with all her goodness. Thank you for spotting that mistake.

The Sunflower Seed Bread is really great. Since that bake I also made Hamelman's Sunflower Seed Bread With Rye Sourdough, and that one will be hard to top.

As I said elswhere we did't have to eat all of this bread. Some went into the freezer, some to a little shop, and the Challah to some ravenous kids and their parents.

The proofer performs well, I am really happy with it. I took it to its limits with 3.5Kg of Russian Rye, I will blog about this on the weekend.

Juergen

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Nice device, Juergen and fabulous breads!

I have yet to use my Folding Proofer for rye dough. Next weekend!

David

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Welcome, David. and Thank you.

Awaiting your report.

Juergen

sonia101's picture
sonia101

I just made the very same proofing box! I haven't used it yet but I'm glad to hear that it works well, I can't wait to try it out :) Your breads look fantastic!

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Sonia101,

I am sure you will enjoy working with this setup.

Do you bake a lot of rye? Rye seems to like it warmer than wheat or yeasted breads, for which I can always find a spot warm enough. But the box really boosts my rye breads.

Juergen

sonia101's picture
sonia101

Hi Juergen,

I'm not baking Rye yet but I love Rye bread and hope to start baking them soon, I also wanted to use the proofing box for Quark and Yogurt. I just used a polystyrene foam box that I had at home and added a window on the top lid, the reptile heating mat came complete with a digital controlled thermostat for $25.00 on Ebay ( -9 through to 38C)

Sonia

 

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Sonia,

How's the rye going? Your setup looks neat.

Juergen

Syd's picture
Syd

Nice baking Juergen and very creative with the proof box. With our very hot climate over here, I need a retarder more than I need a proof box.  Could you invent something equally cheap and convenient along those lines?:)

Syd

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Thank you, Syd.

I was thinkig about a proofer-retarder setup. Something should be possible.

There are commercial boxes that do this, mainly for medical transports (organs ...), I think.

But camping fridges are not that expensive, and a setup with 2 thermostats - one for the heat mat, and one for the fridge - might be easy enough to realise.

I am not an electronics freak ...

Juergen

lumos's picture
lumos

Look what a bread geek gets his hand on......

There are commercial boxes that do this, mainly for medical transports (organs ...), I think.

:p

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

There seems to have been a lot going on since I last researched

http://www.amazon.co.uk/12V-Portable-Cooler-Warmer-Box/dp/B0027I77JU

Not sure if this would keep your liver safe ...

lumos's picture
lumos

I've seen something similar to that in an online homeware shop a few years ago when I was looking for a compact fridge for drinks.  'Warmer' temperature sounds too warm for dough/starter......or your liver. :p

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Juergen,

Glad to see more of your breads and to see that you have discovered the use of reptile equipment too.

The link below contains several photos of the proofing box I made a couple of months ago using items found at a local reptile store.  It work great -not just for breads but for sour cream and buttermilk making too. Opens up a whole new level of fermenting :-)

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/27455/proofing-box

Thanks for the post!

Janet

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Janet,

Thanks for your reply.

I like your panorama design.

At our place I have some space restrictions, and it is very easy to put all the wires into the cooler box and hide it away somewhere ...

Juergen

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Juergen,
Four each of four very beautiful breads - quite a lovely display!
Glad you are happy with your proofing set up - your breads certainly seem happy! :^)
(I purchased something similar for the proof box I set up (a heat mat (designed to control bottom heat for starting seeds), with a digital thermostat; having this has been very helpful).
:^) breadsong

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

are a huge reward for this little initial effort, aren't they?

Thanks a lot, breadsong.

Juergen

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

variety of such fine breads!  You either have a very large family or a very big freezer :-)  Love your proofing box too.  Do you have a clear top to peek in? No big deal but if not - opportunity awaits.  You can always install a cheap web camera inside and use your laptop to watch your breads and levain do their thing.  I don't know who would do such a thing though.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Thank you for your kind words.

Actually, only the Vienna Breads and the Sunflower Seed Breads went into the freezer. The Challahs have quickly been annihilated by a crowd of hungry school kids and their parents. And the ryes went to a little cafe in Lewes...

As for the webcam setup: the first webcam was created by Cambridge students who couldn't bother leaving their computer screens to check the coffeee maker

http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/coffee/coffee.html

Being in the 21st century I would like to add some sensors: pH, internal temperature, dough volume...

And of course a live stream on TFL - a new dimension of "watching the dough".

Juergen

 

 

Cedarglen's picture
Cedarglen

Brilliant!  Truly brilliant.  You've got me on an experimental and design kick again and thanks.

Even from the late 60s (dates me a bit) I cannot forget those very warm, very moist chambers used to 'proof' all of the yeast doughs.  They were +/- quick and did an even job.  After all these years, I can measure, mix, shape and bake with enough skill for my purposes.  Sadly, and as much as I love my home, it does not have a comfortale spot for proofing doughs - so I just have to wait.  Heck yes!  I'm finally going to build something that will achieve and maintain a good temperature and let me have at least some control over the humidity.  While semi-warm 'room temp' is OK for the first rise of many doughs, a sauna-like environment is much better for the final poof, before hitting the hot oven.   One way of another it will:

    Hold half-sheet pans

    Allow temperature control - ~ambient to 90F

    Some method for hunmidity control

    Tall enough to accommodate two bulk (first rise) containers - and

    probably breakdown for easy storage.

Off and running.  We'll see.  Frankly, I'm surprised that no home-scaled unit of high quality has ever hit the market.  And no, no matter what I come up with, I'm not about to make a business out of it.  (I want to bake a little better, not run another business!)  Great, stimulating post.  Thanks.  CG

 

 

 

 

 

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

to have inspired you.

What I found with my setup -  and with the breads I usually bake - is that having the controlled environment during the bulk fermentation makes a huge difference.

On Sunday a week ago I tried out how far I can push it, and I made 8.5 Kg bread in less than 7 hours.Bulk proofed in the box, and finished on the counter. Russian Rye, Caraway with rye sour and yeast, Caraway with rye sour and wheat sour, and Frank Sally's Sourdough (very nice formula, see dmsnyder's post)

Here a picture:

I look forward to hearing about the realisation of your ideas,

Juergen

Cedarglen's picture
Cedarglen

Hi Juergen,

I love that picture and yes, 8.5 Kg is a LOT of beautiful bread.  Distracted with other projects, but back to my own project, a box that will serve both bulk and formed doughs (on or in pans) and with some humidity control.  I fuss to t his degree only because the seasonal environmental conditions in my area and home vary so widely.  Most of the bod is built, but no pix yet.  I'm still scrounging around for misc. parts that will provide enough heat to warm a pan of water yet without 'steam cooking' my breads.  In the end, it will 'boil' (no pun intended) down to a  temperature regulator similar to yours , but under a container of water.  Parts now and then finish the build when the weather goes off in the fall.  BTW, the pix is wonderful!  The appearance of your breads is simply world-class.  Thanks you and Happy Baking - C.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Cedarglen, It sounds great what you are doing. With a lot more possibilities than my camping cooler can provide.

Have you thought of using an aquarium heater inside the pan with the water? I might try that next.

I have also looked at microcontroller kits, e.g. Ardunio - If I had the ressources and space, those would be ideal to create a fully computer controlled heater/cooler from a fridge...

Juergen