Author Topic: proofing box????  (Read 19800 times)

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Online Pete-zza

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Re:proofing box????
« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2004, 03:06:05 PM »
Giotto,

That was an interesting test you performed.

For one thing, it taught me something about my 15-year old refrigerator I didn't know: It has two crisper compartments with humidity control (a slider that moves from low to high).  I had to get down on my knees to examine the humidity controls, which turned out to be a good thing because I discovered what I think were once onions in one of the crisper compartments  ???.

The temperature in the main compartment of my refrigerator is around 48-50 degrees F, whereas the temperature in the humidity-controlled crisper compartments is around 52 degrees F.  By contrast, from what little I have read about the coolers that professionals use, they tend to run best at around 38-40 degrees F.  I have been keeping my refrigerated doughs in the main refrigerator compartment which seems closer to the temperature range of industrial coolers.  I have no idea whether my refrigerated doughs get any added humidity when they are covered in bowls.   Maybe I would get some humidity if the doughs were not covered and put into the crisper compartments.  I just don't know.  I don't even know whether the industrial coolers have any humidity control.  I'm fairly certain that professional proofing equipment does (e.g., for bread production) but not how much or at what temperature.  Moreover, I can't think of any case where humidity and moisture have been used in the production of pizza doughs.

One of the main differences in your test from my proofing box experiments is that I didn't oil any of the dough balls before putting them into the bowl.   I did this since I didn't want the oil to act as a barrier to any moisture created in the bowl.   Another difference is that my bowl was covered by a plastic cover with a rubberized band, which is not as airtight as a lid.  So it's possible that there was some flow of moisture and air in and out of the bowl.   All I know is that something different was happening to the dough judging from its unusual shape and form when I opened the bowl to look at it.  I couldn't ever recall seeing a dough that looked as messed up as the one that I made using the proofing box with added moisture.

I think it may be useful at some point to conduct an experiment with the proofing box using a combination of moisture and a tight-sealing lid and oiled dough balls to see what happens in terms of dough weight, dough temperature, dough condition, etc.

Peter

« Last Edit: September 16, 2004, 03:55:29 PM by Pete-zza »


Online Pete-zza

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Re:proofing box????
« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2004, 04:58:11 PM »
After posting my last response on this topic, I tried to recall other examples where humidity is combined with temperature and, more particularly, in a refrigerator or quasi-refrigerator environment.  Two other examples come to mind: wine storage and cigar storage.

I have a wine storage unit with both temperature and humidity control.  In effect, the wine storage unit is a "warm" refrigerator "box" with a temperature maintained at around 55-65 degrees F (the recommended temperature for red wines).  The humidity control is primarily to keep the corks (the real ones, not the plastic ones) from drying out and allowing air to enter the bottles and cause oxidation of the wines--not a good thing.  Until Giotto's test, I hadn't thought about putting my pizza dough into my wine storage unit, but maybe I should think out of the box (or is it in the box?).

Although I will defer to Steve and Foccaciaman on all matters relating to cigars, it strikes me that cigars are much like wine bottle corks and, likewise, also benefit from temperature and humidity control to keep them in tiptop shape (I can't imagine anything being worse than a dried out cigar), and it is for this reason that humidors exist.  I won't ask if Steve or Foccaciaman if they put their doughs in humidor "proofing boxes" along with their cigars.

I do know that temperature control is especially important for wines.  I once had a wine collector friend with hundreds of bottles of some of the finest wines who was asked by his company to move to another job in another part of the country.  My recollection is that it was from Arizona to Florida--in the summertime no less.   When he expressed his concern about moving his hundreds of bottles of wines, which would have required a special refrigerated vehicle, the HR person he consulted with on this matter cavalierly suggested that he hold a big party, invite all his friends and just drink the stuff until it was gone.  As generous as he was, he declined and decided instead to risk the move in the usual fashion, without a refrigerated van to protect his wines.  At this point, I think that most readers can guess what happened.  The heat in the interior of the moving van got so high that every bottle popped  :(.   When the van door was opened, there was wine and corks and empty bottles all over the place >:(.   Now, that is what I call a "proofing box" gone awry >:( ???.

As bad as that incident was, I don't think it quite measures up to another, more drastic "proofing box" adventure in which another friend lost everything he and his family owned when the moving van with all their belongings caught fire in transit to a new job location and burned to the ground, including a brand new automobile that had never been driven (and--as I specifically recall his telling me--a brand new Lazy Boy lounge chair that he had bought in anticipation of the move and had never been sat in).  When I ran into him, he was in the process of trying to replace everything that had been lost.  

In both cases, a LOT of humidity and a lot less heat might, as Martha would tell us, have been "a good thing" :).

Peter


Offline giotto

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Re:proofing box????
« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2004, 10:06:43 PM »
I asked one professional earlier and he said that he doesn't use humidity.  In the end, my dough retained its texture perfectly in both cases though, and did not loose anything.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2004, 10:24:30 PM by giotto »

Offline myxsix

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Re: proofing box????
« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2006, 04:43:03 AM »
Dear all:

If I might add my 2 cents, for most of you there is a perfectly free way to have a proofing box at home. If you have an oven with a separate switch for the internal light - i.e., you can turn on the light inside without turning on the heat - then simply put your dough inside the oven to proof with a bowl of water inside. The fermentation process itself creates heat and the insulated oven should hold enough of it in to do the job. After all 70 Deg F is about room temp and is easy to get (and then some) in this way. I would normally remove a stone from the oven rack before doing this and would put the dough on the highest rack possible without allowing it to hit the top when risen. 

And, if you do not have an internal lamp that can be activated separately from the heat, then I suppose it would be very easy to use part of Pete's rig - a bulb socket, wire and dimmer and just put the bulb in the oven and close the door on it.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2006, 04:47:37 AM by myxsix »

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: proofing box????
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2006, 09:17:14 AM »

If I might add my 2 cents, for most of you there is a perfectly free way to have a proofing box at home. If you have an oven with a separate switch for the internal light - i.e., you can turn on the light inside without turning on the heat - then simply put your dough inside the oven to proof with a bowl of water inside.


One good reason not to use the oven for proofing: another household member might need to use the oven and turn it on without realizing you are proofing dough inside it. Don't ask how I know.   :'(

Bill/SFNM

Offline David

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Re: proofing box????
« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2006, 09:58:43 AM »
Bill ,you don't know how close I came to doing that MYSELF yesterday ! (and my Wife is not here to blame)
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market

Offline Hi Gluten

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Re: proofing box????
« Reply #26 on: February 23, 2006, 08:30:36 PM »
My little Farberware convection oven does proofing. I generally only proof breads other than pizza.

Offline Speedmaster

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Re: proofing box????
« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2006, 09:25:07 AM »
I've looked through this thread a couple of times trying to see if anybody mentioned just how much humidity is required, but I didn't see it posted. Anyway, if you want to up the scientific experiment factor for this proofing box, I would suggest buying a digital hygrometer. I got mine from Radio Shack for about $10-15. This device will not only register relative humidity, but also has a thermometer built in. One thing you want to do after you get your digital hygrometer is to test it for accuracy since these devices can be off by as much as 5%. Here's a link to the testing procedure to find out how accurate your hygrometer is.

I use my hygrometer for cigar storage in a homemade humidor called a cooler-dor.  Basically it's a 54 quart plastic ice chest with humidity provided by a chunk of florist's oasis(dense foam used by florists that holds water for floral arrangements). The florist's oasis is put in a tupperware type container that's been punched full of holes. This setup allows me to store hundreds of cigars at 65-70 degrees and I try to keep the humidity at 65-68%.

Nothing like a good cigar after a good pizza.  ;D

First time post here, and I have a lot of reading to do.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: proofing box????
« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2006, 09:45:18 AM »
Speedmaster,

That's interesting stuff.

In the professional pizza world, proofing with humidity is done with deep-dish doughs and other thick doughs (e.g., pan, Sicilian, focaccia, etc.). From what I have read, commercial proofers have a temperature range of around 80-115 degrees F and have a humidity range of 60-100 percent. In operation, the usual temperature range is about 90-105 degrees F and the usual humidity range is 75-85 percent.

In a home proofing box it is possible to add humidity by using a container of hot or boiling water. Of course, you would need a hygrometer to know how much humidity is being added. Most home pizza makers just proof doughs that require it in a proofing box (without humidity) or at room temperature, adjusting the proofing time as required to get the desired dough volume expansion.

Peter
« Last Edit: February 28, 2006, 10:14:18 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline Speedmaster

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Re: proofing box????
« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2006, 10:09:33 AM »
Thanks for the info Peter.  The reason I use florist's foam is because I need to keep the humidity constant for as long as I can. I usually refill the foam with distilled water about once every other month to maintain that constant 65% or so relative humidity. Obviously you wouldn't need that kind of function if you're just proofing pizza dough once a week, or however often you eat pizza at home. With the temps and humidity you posted, certainly a pan of water, or even a soaked washcloth would suffice, and the typical digital hygrometer used by us cigar hobbyists is certainly capable for this task.

Great forum you have here. I'm learning a lot, and I'm psyched about making my own pizzas


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: proofing box????
« Reply #30 on: February 28, 2006, 10:10:09 AM »
Relative humidity in these parts can drop into the single digits, so I always place a mug of warm water in the proofing box.

Bill/SFNM


 

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