Proofing on a heating pad

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bob prohaska

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Mar 7, 2022, 2:41:16 PMMar 7
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Lately I've been doing the final rise for sourdough bread
on a Sunbeam therapeutic heating pad. By my measurements,
it's too hot, but the results so far have been excellent.
I'm wondering if others have tried it, and to what effect.

The recipe is:

200 g whole wheat flour
200 g white bread flour
210 g hot (steaming) water
blend flour and water to lumpy mass
cover and keep warm (100 F) 30 min.
add 200 g starter (100% hydration)
mix till smooth
add ~15 g salt
mix at least till bowl cleans up
cover and keep warm (100 F) 30 min
stretch and fold
cover and keep warm (100 F) 39 min
stretch, fold and form loaf
place in covered, oiled Corningware dish

Place Corningware directly on heating pad
with temp probe between dish and pad, on low.
Cover pad and dish with inverted cardboard box.

refresh starter and place on pad under box

Set timer to 5.5 hours, give or take. I use the
activity of the starter as a gauge of progress.
The temp probe starts out around 115 F or so,
very slowly rising to an indicated ~135 F by bake
time. The starter has to be stirred down at least
twice to control overflow, volume gain 4-5X.

The room temp has been around 60-62 F for the batches
so far. Presumably the temp will rise as the season
advances.

By all I've read, 135 is too hot, but the yeast seems
to do just fine. I've checked the thermometer (Taylor
remote-probe oven thermometer/timer) against boiling
water and ice, it's off by no more than 2 F. Raising
the bread and temp probe on a cooling rack lowers the
indicated temperature about 10 F and reduces blow.

Bake is 30 min covered at 350 F, 15 min more uncovered.
Nothing special, oven preheated ~5 min.

The starter is a mongrel. It came from Bario Bread in
Tucson AZ but lost activity when I tried incubating it
during the past summer at ambient (80 F) temp. A gram
or so of commercial (Red Star) yeast revived it and it's
not been tampered with for at least six months, or about
24 refresh cycles. It never was particularly sour and
hasn't changed to my nose or palate. The starter, on its
own, smells faintly like latex paint.

I anticipate that as the summer progresses the room temp
and so the proof temp will continue to rise and so a bit
concerned about how hot is too hot.

Thanks for reading, and any thoughts.

bob prohaska



Graham

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Mar 7, 2022, 3:47:13 PMMar 7
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My immediate thoughts are that the hydration is low at 62%, the salt is
high at 3% and the baking temperature is very low.
Graham

bob prohaska

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Mar 7, 2022, 5:51:11 PMMar 7
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Graham <g.st...@shaw.ca> wrote:
>>
> My immediate thoughts are that the hydration is low at 62%, the salt is
> high at 3% and the baking temperature is very low.

The salt is 1.5, not fifteen grams. Not a typo, but a braino....

What benefits would accrue from greater hydration and baking temp?

Thanks for writing!

bob prohaska


Graham

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Mar 7, 2022, 6:23:56 PMMar 7
to
You should get a greater rise (oven spring) with a more open crumb.
If you are using bread flour, I would increase the water total to 250g
(there is another 100g in the starter).
I'm not sure about your use of hot water though. I've never come across
that method before.
Rather than use the corning ware dish for the final rise, followed by
putting it in the hot oven, try the NYT method of plopping the risen
dough into a preheated (450F) dutch oven.

bob prohaska

unread,
Mar 7, 2022, 9:08:37 PMMar 7
to
Graham <g.st...@shaw.ca> wrote:
> On 2022-03-07 3:51 p.m., bob prohaska wrote:
>> Graham <g.st...@shaw.ca> wrote:
>>>>
>>> My immediate thoughts are that the hydration is low at 62%, the salt is
>>> high at 3% and the baking temperature is very low.
>>
>> The salt is 1.5, not fifteen grams. Not a typo, but a braino....
>>
>> What benefits would accrue from greater hydration and baking temp?
>>
>> Thanks for writing!
>>
>> bob prohaska
>>
>>
> You should get a greater rise (oven spring) with a more open crumb.
> If you are using bread flour, I would increase the water total to 250g
> (there is another 100g in the starter).
> I'm not sure about your use of hot water though. I've never come across
> that method before.

The idea is to soak the flour with hot water to promote starch gelatinization.
I'm using King Arthur, which seems to be the best that's readily available.
I could try 250 g water, but I'm pretty sure the dough would become batter.
That would certainly complicate handling.

> Rather than use the corning ware dish for the final rise, followed by
> putting it in the hot oven, try the NYT method of plopping the risen
> dough into a preheated (450F) dutch oven.

My brother talked me into that the first couple of times. It helps, but
takes dexterity and seems wasteful when baking one loaf at a time. The
Corningware was a substitute for a real iron Dutch oven, which I don't
have and am not eager to buy, nor to handle when hot.

The goal isn't to make the best possible bread, just to make reasonable
bread using what I can readily get and do. Think of it as bread
for lunch, not bread as art 8-) At this point it's fine for lunch.

The real puzzle is the starter's temperature limits. They seem much
higher than expected, and I'm wondering if it's real or an error
of some kind on my part. One would think that if the bottom of the
proofing pan is 135 F and the pan is covered tightly the whole volume
would be pretty close to that temp. Maybe not, or maybe the yeast
likes more heat than conventional wisdom suggests. That's the question.

US Janet

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Mar 8, 2022, 11:57:14 PMMar 8
to
Why are you baking at 350F 'covered?' The first 10 minutes or so is
when the crust and color develop. 135F is really too high for the
yeast. Are you able to make a saitisfactory straight yeast bread? A
non sourdough bread that you are satified with? Your oven needs to be
pre-heated for at least 30 minutes not 5, or when you open the oven to
put the bread in you've lowered the temperature drastically.
Every step in making bread is special. The steps are not hard, it is
just important to follow them. Weigh or measure the flour properly
each time. Don't add flour to the mix trying to get rid of the
stickiness. Kneading does that. Or cover the dough and walk away for
15-20 minutes. Duriing that time the gluten will begin to develop all
by itself. You should find the dough easy to knead after letting it
sit for a while. Proper kneading and rising and shaping are very
important to getting the loaf you want.
Janet US

Peter Flynn

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May 24, 2022, 5:50:52 AMMay 24
to
On 07/03/2022 19:41, bob prohaska wrote:
> Lately I've been doing the final rise for sourdough bread
> on a Sunbeam therapeutic heating pad. By my measurements,
> it's too hot, but the results so far have been excellent.
> I'm wondering if others have tried it, and to what effect.

Sorry for the lateness, my feed stopped updating.

We usually prove on a shelf of a desk which happens to be beside a
radiator (about 30cm above it). During the time of year when the heating
is on, this works very well for almost anything that needs rising time,
sourdough, focaccia, pizza... In summer I would probably leave the bowl
on the end of the kitchen table in the sun, if it's shining; if not, I'd
have to think of something else.

Peter

Graham

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May 24, 2022, 10:27:26 AMMay 24
to
I have a broom cupboard that I have converted to store all my
bread-baking equipment. The heating ducts to the upper floor are in the
wall,
so during cooler weather, and it can go below -30C, that cupboard is
quite warm. If I'm in a hurry/feeling impatient, I clip a 40W light to a
shelf and that soon ups the temperature even more.

bob prohaska

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May 24, 2022, 1:38:47 PMMay 24
to
Unless I've missed something, the answer to my basic question seems to
be "no".

In the meantime, I've largely quit worrying about overheating the bread,
seeing temps up to 142 F directly under the pan and the yeast seems to
work just fine.

bob prohaska

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