The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Proofing Box

gmabaking's picture
gmabaking

Proofing Box

Hope the dumb question department is open on this holiday weekend! I'm trying out the mini refrigerator as a proofing box set at 50 degrees (pretty much is staying there). Since I have no experience with proofing boxes, I now realize that I should have asked questions about process before jumping in and trying it out.

The recipe says to put baskets in refrigerator for 8-12 hours, then let them warm up until they reach 62 degrees, about three hours. If in a warmer temperature do they still retard the same amount of time? It seems to me that after removing them from the fridge, I would go by the bread and its temperature and not by the time lapse but I thought I had better check before I get into a baking disaster. Only one of those allowed per week and since I had two day before yesterday I figure I should be good for another week.

Thank you for any advice-

Barbra

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

two bakes went crazy proofed in a 38 F fridge after just a few hours instead of being able to make it overnight.  At 50 F they would have only made it one hour before being over proofed.  Hopefully your will work out better.

gmabaking's picture
gmabaking

Morning Update--Who gets up at 2:30 in the morning just to check proofing process? After 13 hours in mini refrigerator at 43-48 degrees, the dough looks just about like it does at 37 in regular refrigerator. It is 49 degrees itself. Looks like a nonremarkable difference.

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

the SD (no yeast water  or whey water this time) from the fridge after 12 hours.   Back to normal - it had only risen 15% in the fridge overnight.  It had to be the YW stoked up with yogurt whey water that triggered the explosi ve proofing in the last two bakes.  Glad your mini fridge is working out for you.

gmabaking's picture
gmabaking

might just be the "on steriods" version of leavening!

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Barbra,
I tried retarding in bulk once, with a dough temperature goal of 50F (fridge was set to 50F) - but found that after 12 hours of refrigeration, the dough had only cooled to 56F (I assumed that my fridge wasn't working as well as it should).
After this bake I had the opportunity to correspond with one of the Bread Baker's Guild instructors, who advised it was probably heat generated by fermentation that caused my dough to be warmer than I was expecting.
There's a possibility your dough may be warmer than 50F when you're ready to take it out of the fridge, if your dough does what mine did.
As for how long it will take your dough to warm to 62F, dough temperature coming out of the cooler,  the ambient room temperature (and the size of your shaped loaves) will all have their effect - I think you're right to go by how the dough's temperature is coming along after refrigeration, rather than relying on an absolute length of time.
Hope all goes well for your dough's fermentation and for your bake!
:^) breadsong
 

gmabaking's picture
gmabaking

Thank you breadsong, hadn't thought about the dough itself warming itself. Of course that makes sense now that I read it. One boule is in a wooden banneton and one in a linen lined basket. They look about the same as usual but don't seem as cold and dry to the touch. I am trying to learn to pay attention to the dough and not so much the clock.

Barbra

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Hi, Barbra,

I'm an advocate of overnight retarded bulk fermentation. I'm also and advocate of consistency. One of my baking goals is being able to produce the same high quality loaf from bake to bake. I retard lean doughs--sourdoughs, baguettes, and ciabattas--at 54°F overnight, usually fifteen hours. However, I begin the dough's fermentation, from the start, with the mixed dough as close as practically possible at the Desired Dough Temperature (DDT) 54°F. I do this because I've learned from experience it is difficult to cool a mass dough mixed at room temperature, with room temperature ingredients to a chiller's temperature. Furthermore, without invoking a DDT discipline each dough's beginning temperature will vary bake to bake, if for no other reason than mixing and kneading friction.

I begin mixing my doughs with ice-water (nominally at 38°F to 40°F), and refrigerator chilled, pre-weighed flour (~40°F). Only the preferment--poolish, biga or ripe sourdough levain--are at room temperature. I combine all the ingredients except the salt just until homogenous using the dough hook, or hand-mixed in a stainless steel bowl. Then I sprinkle the salt over the dough mass, cover it with a cold, dampened towel and autolyse in the refrigerator 45 minutes to one hour. Subsequently, I either machine knead the dough--incorporating the salt--on speed 1 (Kitchenaid stand mixer) for 2 minutes, and initiating gluten development on speed 2 from 3 minutes (sourdoughs) to more than 10 minutes (ciabattas). I then return the doughs immediately to the refrigerator, but not before recording the doughs' temperature. Usually, primarily because of kneading friction, the temperature is 5° to 10° higher than the 54°F DDT. Over the next three hours I do three S&F, always recording the doughs temperature before returning it to the refrigerator. Over that time period the doughs' temperature drops, reaching the planned DDT usually after the second or third S&F. At that point I place the dough in the chiller (a wine closet at 54°F) and let it retard overnight.

In the morning, I find the dough has, at least, doubled in volume--often more--and it's temperature is 58°F to 60°F. I attribute that difference from the ambient temperature to the exothermic heat released by the fermentation process. I immediately turn the dough out, degas it, and preshape it into whatever number of loaves I've planned. I divide the dough immediately because the smaller dough masses will warm faster. I place the preshaped loaves, covered, into my proofing box set to maintain 82°F for one hour. Subsequently, I shape the loaves. All loave, except baguettes, are returned to the proofing box for final proofing.  Baguettes are too long to fit into the proofing box, so they proof in a couche at room temperature, which is a constant 76°F during the summer months, and varies between 68°F and 72°F in the winter months.

If you want a visual testimony to my claims, my more recent TFL blog postings contain a variety of pics that quickly become boring because same style bread loaves all look the same.

I highly recommend developing and following a detailed discipline of baking techniques.

Best of luck.

David G

gmabaking's picture
gmabaking

should help with consistency. A few months ago I put up a little dry erase board to keep track of timing and found that I went back to check procedures and then sometimes make notes on the recipes. Your advice will be very helpful, I appreciate the time you have taken to explain things. If I try new recipes but keep basically the same procedures, maybe I will at least be able to tell where adjustments need to be made.

Didn't find your postings boring at all but do have to agree that they look the same---Wonderful!!