091226 My Christmas Gifts and Test Runs
Like a child, I was eagerly waiting for my Christmas gifts last year. Instead of Santa, it was my hubby who delivered them. The first gift was a homemade proofer based on SteveB's brilliant design with some enhancements. The few modifications my husband made were using three storage bins, instead of one, to enhance insulation and using digital thermometer(s) for easier reading and monitoring.
I had been longing to own such an awesome tool. However, I'd been very reluctant to enter the workshop in the garage because it's really not my department and things there are so unfamiliar to me. Therefore, when my husband volunteered to build it for me, I accepted the offer with great delight. As part of the Christmas package, he also extended the stones in the oven to the full length of the racks. His thoughts were surely heartwarming and these gifts were the highlights of my holiday season.
I first revisited my sourdough pain de mie to test my new proofer. I monitored the dough temperature during mixing so that results could be more predictable. With the proofer set at 86F and 96F respectively, it took 3 hours for bulk fermentation and 2.5 hours for final proof. I felt very comfortable that I had complete control of all the procedures from mixing to final proof, and without the hassle of folding dough and checking temperatures back and forth. In addition to the 1-hour-autolyse and brief mixing combination I learned previously, this device has brought me more peace in bread making.
I was quite satisfied with the crumb texture, which I'll share a few shots today. However, a third trial is probably needed to fine tune the weight of ingredients and oven temperature before this formula can be finalized.
Next, I used this new tool to make homemade yogurt, which I gave up in the past because the results were less than satisfactory and the procedures required to maintain an optimum temperature for the culture were giving me headaches. With my new toy, all of these have become history. I've accomplished the best results ever with the least effort this time.
This tool is another indispensable addition to my gear. I'm sure I'll put it to good use in the future. Thank you, SteveB, for sharing your design with us and thank you, honey, for supporting my new hobby.
Here are some pictures:
Homemade proofer