When the Brod & Taylor Folding Proofer showed up at my door, I had no idea what to expect. Not really. A folding proofer sounded fascinating but what exactly was I going to do with it?
When I took it out of the package I realized, man, this is huge! When folded down, it is the size of an antique laptop.
When you lift up the cover you find some folded plastic, the cord, a water tray and a wire rack inside.
After removing them you see that the bottom is essentially a hot plate and that folded plastic turns into…
The sides of the folder. You put the wire rack back inside, put the top on top of the plastic square and you are ready to go!
During the holidays I made my favourite cinnamon buns and then let them proof in the proofer on the floor in the draftiest spot in our house, right near the patio doors. And look, they still “poofed” as my sister Shannon would say.
Earlier I had used it to bring butter up to room temperature to make those astounding chocolate chip cookies by Martha Stewart, the proofer booklet’s recipe for Country Wheat Sandwich Bread and chocolate covered almonds. Everything worked perfectly! Until
Folding Proofer & My Foodie Nemesis
White chocolate… I have no idea how many times I have either watched white chocolate sit there and refuse to melt or suddenly seize up on me. I wanted to make a white chocolate bark using the Brod & Taylor Folding Proofer but the only white chocolate I had in the house was Chipits’ white chocolate chips. Well, why not???
I had read online somewhere that 90F will melt white chocolate. I really did not want it to scorch so I left it at this temperature for like an hour. Then another 20 minutes. Then another half hour. It refused to melt at all! I moved it to a metal bowl, hoping that it would help conduct the heat more…
It just got really, really gross. Ugh! White chocolate bested me again! Instead of deciding that either I had a white chocolate curse… I wrote the company and asked for help.
Julie at Brod & Taylor not only listened to my white chocolate woes but went home and did some product testing of her own! She even wrote up a “fool proof” technique for melting white chocolate in the proofer:
1. Set the proofer temperature to 115F and put the wire rack in place. Do not use the water tray, the proofer should be completely dry.
2. Put 4 oz/113g of white chocolate into a heat-proof bowl (ceramic or glass both work well), set it into the proofer and close the lid. There is no need to finely chop the chocolate, it can be left in one piece as long as it fits into the bowl.
3. Allow the proofer to work while you accomplish other tasks. The chocolate will be completely melted in 60 minutes or less. There is no need to stir, the proofer will provide a constant temperature.
It is worthwhile to note that 4 oz. of chocolate will not scorch even after two hours at this temperature, so there is a very long safety margin.
Which exactly what I did with the last remaining white chocolate Chipits… and failed! Again!!!!
So I wrote again to Julie (feeling like an idiot) and she asked me what kind of chocolate I had been using? She suggested I try again but with another kind of white chocolate.
Reg took me to the Bulk Barn and I was amazed to discover that some of their white chocolate wafers did not have cocoa butter in them at all! I browsed until I found a high quality baker’s melting white chocolate. To be safe, I chopped up 4 oz and put it in the proofer at 115F for an hour.
I looked through the window and it looked exactly the same. I wanted to cry! But when I took it out and stirred with a spoon, it was perfectly melted. Joy!
White Chocolate Bark with Almonds & Cranberries
I threw in some toasted almonds right away to start making my white chocolate bark.
Then for the hell of it I folded in some dried cranberries.
Delicious and I finally did it! I have tried melting fancy white bakers chocolate in a double boiler and scorched it so for me, the proofer is the way to go. Not only for bringing my butter up to room temp, for helping my dough rise but now also for melting chocolate. Yes, it is a pretty big appliance for some of the smaller jobs but I can move it to my dining room table to save space in my kitchen.
I love that this product can do so many foodie tricks! I still have to make yogurt with it which I am really looking forward to doing (and will share) but I feel it is safe to say that the Brod & Taylor Folding Proofer is one of the coolest products I have ever tested and their customer service impressed the hell out of me. Yes, it is expensive (around $150 on Amazon) but for the foodie who has everything, this will become her best friend in the kitchen.
I did keep forgetting the “top” was not on the proofer permanently so it went flying off a few times and I wish it had its own timer but that is a bit of a stretch to find a real complaint. If you have space to store the proofer (I keep mine in my crafts room) and you love to bake, this is a great investment. I give this product five out of five wooden spoons.
Oh and Hershey’s Chipits, what the heck is in those chocolate chips of yours?!
Hey Suzie, that product sounds great, but the customer service is amazing! And I’m so glad you have broken your white chocolate curse. See, it wasn’t you! Just the chocolate you used! 🙂
Suzie, this product sounds fabulous, and the customer service is outstanding. Yay for breaking your stretch of bad luck with white chocolate, too! (Now we want one of these!)
Debra She Who Seeks says
I’ve never had a problem with melting Baker’s White Chocolate in a double boiler (or at least, in my makeshift version of a larger pot on top of a smaller pot with boiling water in it). Guess I’ve been lucky! But I do know one thing — Hershey’s chocolate is low-grade crap. I never even eat it much less use it for baking.
What a fantastic product, I really like “poofer” over “proofer” lol…It’s good to know they have fabulous customer service too, an amazing staff to back an amazing appliance. Now, any chance you have any leftover almond/cranberry bark, it looks deelish.
Berendina Dykema says
I thought right away that it must me the white chocolate your using. I read somewhere that you shouldn’t use chocolate chips for melting to make chocolate treats because of the additives they put in them to keep their shape. Strangely, Ive used some for chocolate treats and came out fine.White chocolate must be the one that doesn’t work so well.It looks like a need product to try out, a little big though.
Randal Oulton says
If people like the idea of a heated proofer, but are pondering the cost / utility of a single-use appliance, they may wish to consider a food dehydrator instead. Many models of food dehydrators can be used as proofers (and come with timers, to boot.)
The perfect environment for raising bread exists right inside your Excalibur dehydrator. Remove the trays from the dehydrator, set the thermostat at 115ºF and allow the unit to preheat. Place a shallow pan of water on the bottom of the dehydrator. Insert a tray directly above the water and place the bowl of dough on the tray. Cover the dough with a cloth to keep it from drying out. Allow the dough one-half to one hour of time to rise. When it has risen, continue with preparation according to your recipe.
An Excalibur is the perfect assistant if you use a bread machine. Depending on the model, it takes 3 to 3½ (or more) hours to complete a single loaf of bread. During the same time, you can prepare dough for many loaves of bread. Let your bread machine do all of the hard work for the initial kneading. Use the dough setting and remove the dough before it starts the first rise. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, turn the dough over to oil the top, and cover tightly. Place in the refrigerator. (Or freezer*) Put your next batch of dough in your bread machine and repeat. When you have enough loaves for a baking session, place these in your Excalibur for the first rise. Punch down, when needed, based on your recipe. When ready, shape into loaves and bake as your recipe directs. Based on an estimate of 30 minutes for bread machine preparation, using an Excalibur will allow you to produce 4 loaves (or more) of bread fresh baked bread in the same 3 to 3½ hours your bread machine took to produce 1 loaf!
Suzie the Foodie says
Wow, my dehydrator definitely can’t do that Randal! So clever, thank you for letting us know. And man, that’s a lot of loaves of bread in just a few hours!