Author Topic: My New Proofing Box  (Read 4815 times)

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Offline Bill/SFNM

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My New Proofing Box
« on: November 03, 2010, 04:22:27 PM »
1. I need a larger chamber since I am making a lot of bread these days.

2. I am often fermenting around 60-65F and proofing around 70-75F. The peletier-cooled models I have tried are often unable to handle the high local ambient temps.

3. A refrigerated and heated chamber the size I want can cost several thousands of dollars - more than a nice trip to Naples. Screw that!

4. I have an old wine refrigerator I picked up several years ago at a garage sale that I sometimes use for curing charcuterie. It's built-in temp control is squirrelly.

5. So I picked up a pair of these temperature controls:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0015NV5BE/ref=oss_product

one for a heat source and one for the cooling. I did a lot of research. There are cheaper and more expensive. These can control both heating and cooling devices. They don't come with standard A/C plugs, but with some cannibalized power cords, wire strippers, and some staring at the circuit drawings, I had them both wired-up in about 30 minutes.

One of the controls is configured for cooling; the refrigerator's power cord is plugged into it. The other is configured for heating and is connected to a little heating pad that I use for warming seedlings; it is inside the fridge. A small fan inside the fridge distributes the air.

After powering everything on, I was expecting a certain bounce, but when it reached the set temp of 60F, the fridge powered off and the temp just stayed there. If I open the door, the temp rises a few degrees, but gets back down to 60F in a few minutes and just stays there. Very pleased. Since the ambient temp in the garage where I have the fridge is about 70F right now, the heating pad hasn't had to kick in at all, so we'll have to see how that works out. Maybe a lightbulb with a dimmer will work better.

I'll post photos once I have drilled a hole in the side for all the wires. It looks like a real mess right now.
   
« Last Edit: November 03, 2010, 04:46:07 PM by Bill/SFNM »


Offline andreguidon

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Re: My New Proofing Box
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2010, 04:38:33 PM »
WOW !! thats cool Bill !!
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." Leonardo da Vinci

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: My New Proofing Box
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2010, 04:35:44 PM »
WOW !! thats cool Bill !!

Thanks, Andre.

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: My New Proofing Box
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2010, 04:37:57 PM »
Here is a photo of the finished box. If I install all the shelves, I could easily ferment enough pizza dough for 70+ pies or at least 8 batches (16 loaves) of Tartine bread. Not that I would ever do such a thing. Well, maybe.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2010, 05:01:22 PM by Bill/SFNM »

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: My New Proofing Box
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2010, 04:47:56 PM »
Labelled Photo:



Offline andreguidon

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Re: My New Proofing Box
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2010, 04:58:38 PM »
that looks GREAT Bill !! what kind of fridge is that ?
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." Leonardo da Vinci

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: My New Proofing Box
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2010, 05:00:57 PM »
that looks GREAT Bill !! what kind of fridge is that ?

Thanks, Andre. It is a little compact Sunbeam wine refrigerator. I particularly like the glass door so I can see what is happening without having to open the door. It has a little electric light, but I added some LED lights for better visibility of the interior.

Offline andreguidon

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Re: My New Proofing Box
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2010, 05:03:18 PM »
it looks perfect !! i really need something like that, here in Sao Paulo the temperature varies allot, its very hard to room temp anything...
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." Leonardo da Vinci

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: My New Proofing Box
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2010, 05:35:29 PM »
Fantastic. Truly something to strive for.

John

Online Matthew

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Re: My New Proofing Box
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2010, 06:31:06 AM »
Bill,
Awesome buddy; very ingenious.  I presently have 3 different units that I use for fermentation & proofing; MR-148 which has a very small capacity & is usually off by +/- 6 degrees, a wine fridge which I bastardized a bit that has great capacity & extremely stable temperature but the range is only 54-65 degrees, & my double storage bin proofing box which utilizes a fish tank warmer it works really well for proofing at warm temps but lacks vertical capacity. 

If I understand correctly, the temperature controller that you are using is in essence a thermostat that it attached to your heat source (the pad) & the other end is plugged into an outlet.  You set the desired temperature on the controller & it turns the heat pad on & off to maintain the selected temperature.  Is this correct?

What I was thinking, is to use the wine fridge controls for fermenting/proofing in the 60-65 range & then use the controller to control the warmer temps.  Was it difficult to wire?  I noticed that they also sell a prewired unit.

What about the fan, does it always stay on?

Matt
« Last Edit: November 06, 2010, 06:35:06 AM by Matthew »


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: My New Proofing Box
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2010, 09:24:31 AM »

If I understand correctly, the temperature controller that you are using is in essence a thermostat that it attached to your heat source (the pad) & the other end is plugged into an outlet.  You set the desired temperature on the controller & it turns the heat pad on & off to maintain the selected temperature.  Is this correct?

What I was thinking, is to use the wine fridge controls for fermenting/proofing in the 60-65 range & then use the controller to control the warmer temps.  Was it difficult to wire?  I noticed that they also sell a prewired unit.

What about the fan, does it always stay on?

Matt


Thanks, Matt. Yes you have it right. When the temperature at the controller's probe falls below the set temp, it switches the heating pad on. Conversely, when for the controller of the fridge senses the temperature has risen above the set temp, it switches the refrigerator on.

Wiring is pretty simple if you understand line, load, common, ground, etc. I can scan and post the simple schematic. The biggest problem is that space within the controller is a little tight for all the wires, but everything worked the first time with almost no swearing.

If your wine fridge's built-in control is accurate enough for you, then you definitely would only need one control for a heater. Mine wasn't.

The fan is always on. Since the dough is sealed in plastic containers, that causes no problem with dehydration.

Online Matthew

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Re: My New Proofing Box
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2010, 09:36:48 AM »
Thanks, Matt. Yes you have it right. When the temperature at the controller's probe falls below the set temp, it switches the heating pad on. Conversely, when for the controller of the fridge senses the temperature has risen above the set temp, it switches the refrigerator on.

Wiring is pretty simple if you understand line, load, common, ground, etc. I can scan and post the simple schematic. The biggest problem is that space within the controller is a little tight for all the wires, but everything worked the first time with almost no swearing.

If your wine fridge's built-in control is accurate enough for you, then you definitely would only need one control for a heater. Mine wasn't.

The fan is always on. Since the dough is sealed in plastic containers, that causes no problem with dehydration.


Awesome Bill.  Thanks again.

Matt

Online Matthew

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Re: My New Proofing Box
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2010, 05:26:26 PM »
Special Thanks to my mentor Bill for this one.  Another addition to the basement lab ;D

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: My New Proofing Box
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2010, 05:29:06 PM »
Special Thanks to my mentor Bill for this one.  Another addition to the basement lab ;D

Looks great, Matt! But where is the fire extinguisher? 

Online Matthew

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Re: My New Proofing Box
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2010, 06:00:20 PM »
Looks great, Matt! But where is the fire extinguisher? 

  :-D
Inside joke

Offline juniorballoon

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Re: My New Proofing Box
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2010, 07:56:31 PM »
Very interesting. I have a fridge I'm converting into a meat curing chamber. Very similar setup. I have to control temp and humidity. I would never have thought of using it for dough, but that would work.

Here's a pic - http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/5PI49-toxjh-PTjc6U1M_Gc4H4bIvKXmGYXrevxF3Sc?feat=directlink

I haven't cured anything in it, but plan to do salami first. I've been playing with the controls trying to learn how to fly this thing. You can read a bit more and see a few more pics at http://sirfoodalot.blogspot.com/. I should warn you there are some photos of the butchering of our Thanksgiving turkey. Not for the faint of heart.

jb

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: My New Proofing Box
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2010, 10:38:30 PM »
Interesting setup, jb. When I do dry curing, removing excess humidity from the chamber can be the biggest challenge, especially during the early stages. How does your box address this?

Offline juniorballoon

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Re: My New Proofing Box
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2010, 11:13:03 PM »
Interesting setup, jb. When I do dry curing, removing excess humidity from the chamber can be the biggest challenge, especially during the early stages. How does your box address this?

I've drilled holes in the fridge and have a dehumidistat that powers a small pc fan. The fan pushes air out of the fridge drawing outside air into the fridge. Of course this depends on the air outside having a lower humidity than inside. In the tests I ran this was always the case in my garage, but is something I'll need to kleep an eye on. Very low tech.

Interesting that you say your issue is during the early stages. For the salami I want to try I need 80% humidity and 75 degrees at the beginning. I need to maintain this for 35 hours or so as the bacteria gets going. After that I will lower the temp to between 55 and 60 and slowly reduce the humidity to 70%.

Regional weather amd climate differences can make this easier or more challenging.

jb


 

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