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Proofing bread in the winter

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I am having a problem with my breads in the winter:cool:. They are taking much too long to proof and throwing off my whole schedule. Any ideas??
post #2 of 13

Proving in winter

I live in Australia, so I can't say how to bake in extreme cold, but you could always mix longer to get a bit more heat in (don't take it past 'clear dough' though), add water that's warmer or maybe add a bit more yeast, but don't go too nuts.
post #3 of 13
I am assuming (that can be dangerous) that you do not have a proofer? If not you can make one with a bun rack or speed rack and a large plastic bag. Put the final scaled dough on trays in the rack, cover with plastic bag and set it near the oven. Put a hotel pan of VERY hot water at the bottom. The plastic bag will capture the steam and create a humid environment for the dough. While this isn't perfect, it can help on those really cold days.
Robin
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Robin
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post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your response.
I have a walk in Proofer but I still find that in the winter the proofing time gets longer. I was thinking of just putting some heaters in the Bakery to warm things up but I was wondering if anyone had any other ideas.
post #5 of 13
That would probably help, also remember that you have the temperature of the flour also to deal with as well. So even if you had very warm water, the temperature of the flour, if it is cold or even very cool, can negate the addition of the warm water. Check the temperature of the dough before you put it in the proofer, it will give you a good indication of how long it will take to proof.
Robin
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Robin
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post #6 of 13
Warm some of your ingredients in the proofer before using and/or have as many refrigerated products at room temp before using. Increasing the yeast by about 5 % will help. Heaters should help to. Make sure not to get the dough to hot or you will break down the gluten and proteins to much and the dough will never develop. You can also make a starter dough will part of the flour, yeast and water the night before. Also add old dough from previous days batch will help speed proofing up.
post #7 of 13

Know your temps

Sch; you indicated in another post that you are located in Israel, therefore I am guessing that what you are referring to as "winter:cool" is probably still well above 15°C (60°F).

Most everyday breads like a final dough temperature out of the mixer around 25-27°C (77 - 80°F).

A typical spiral mixer mixing bread dough 2 or 3 minutes slow and 8 to 12 minutes high (depending of flour and recipe) will have a friction factor of around 20°F.

Lets say your desired dough temp is 80°F. Multiply this by 3 = 240.

Lets say the temperature of your flour is 65°F and the room temperature is 68°F.

Add the flour and room temperature and add the friction factor of your mixer - i.e. 65+68+20 = 153.

Deduct this from the 240 calculated earlier, 240-153 = 87.

Your water temperature will need to be 87° to achieve the desired outcome of an 80° dough.

Shoot for 82 or even 84 final dough temp if you are losing heat and cooling off the dough a lot in processing. Anything over 85 and your dough is going to get away on you and get old fast, so you might want to try and keep at or below 85°F.

If your proofer is taking longer to heat up in the winter cool, turn it on, or program it to come on, earlier to compensate. If the proofer is not holding temp, maybe there are other issues related to the heater, and/or thermostat.

I have worked with some very crude proofers, like a wooden box with a hot plate and two 100 oz. cans of water simmering on them, and in the freezing cold of Canadian winters. Having the final dough temp correct out of the mixer, and making batches small or big enough to work off and maintain temp are the key points to keep in mind.

I have also worked with trouble shooting bread production in Jamaica, with no air conditioning, in July. Even using straight ice is not enough to get the dough temp down to a manageable range. As has been mentioned - control your ingredient temperatures, and it will help go a long way. In the case of Jamaica, we would transfer the flour for the next day's production to the freezer overnight, and any other larger quantity ingredients pre-scaled in the fridge - presto - works like a charm, and only 25% of the water is ice, so we also got decent gluten development. - Keep that in mind for your "warm" Israeli summers.
Success is getting to eat your mistakes along the way.........

35 years of baking and pastry making, and every day still brings new learning opportunities.
Happy Baking! Cheers! Mr. Pastry
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Success is getting to eat your mistakes along the way.........

35 years of baking and pastry making, and every day still brings new learning opportunities.
Happy Baking! Cheers! Mr. Pastry
Reply
post #8 of 13
is there a giant table that tells the time required to ferment vs temperature? an other stuff like hydration level , yeast concentration.
post #9 of 13
If there were, it would either be so big it would be incomprehensible, or it would be so vague or general, it would be of little use.

Bakers formulate recipes in what is known as Baker's Percent (BP%). In a Baker's bread formula, flour is always 100%. The flour carries the weight of the work in a bread formula - so to speak. Absorption rates can vary from 50% to 75% of the flour weight, depending on the final product being made, and other ingredients in the formula that are loading the flour, such as fat, sugar, eggs, etc.

Yeast level and fermentation time also depend on formula and product type. Generally speaking rich formulas (with sugar, fat and eggs) require more yeast , as the osmotic pressure from the rich ingredients retard fermentation. Can be from 4% - 8% typically. Lean formulas (little or no fat, sugar, egg) can typically be from 1% to 4%, also depending on the final product. Some artisan recipes and processes rely on the levain to produce yeast, and no yeast is added at all to the recipe.

For a very basic bread: 65% absorption, 2% salt, 2% sugar, 2% fat, 2% skim milk powder (also called non fat dry milk), 4% yeast, 1 hour bulk fermentation, punch, scale, round, 30 minute rest, punch, mold & pan, 1 hour proof, 30 minute bake.
Success is getting to eat your mistakes along the way.........

35 years of baking and pastry making, and every day still brings new learning opportunities.
Happy Baking! Cheers! Mr. Pastry
Reply
Success is getting to eat your mistakes along the way.........

35 years of baking and pastry making, and every day still brings new learning opportunities.
Happy Baking! Cheers! Mr. Pastry
Reply
post #10 of 13
At home I preheat the oven a bit, then proof my dough in there with the heat off. At work, the kitchen is very cool (>60 degrees) on some mornings, so proofing is very slow. To compensate, I proof my dough on the grill or stove with the burners off and only the pilots on. I lay down a sheet pan, line with a towel, and place my covered proofing tub on top of that. Moves things along and doesn't dry out the dough like the convection oven would.
post #11 of 13
Heating pad.
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by dillonsmimi View Post

Heating pad.

Good idea!  I might try that the next time I make some bread at home.
Success is getting to eat your mistakes along the way.........

35 years of baking and pastry making, and every day still brings new learning opportunities.
Happy Baking! Cheers! Mr. Pastry
Reply
Success is getting to eat your mistakes along the way.........

35 years of baking and pastry making, and every day still brings new learning opportunities.
Happy Baking! Cheers! Mr. Pastry
Reply
post #13 of 13
I have a gas oven with an electric starter so became a bit creative.Works really good but just like your baby soft bum, the dough closest to the heat may actually begin to bake. I always put a bath towel between the pad and the bowl. I have also been known , out of sheer despiration, to park my car in the sun, turn on the heater and place the dough on the front seat. Works pretty good as well.
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