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David J.

Does Jacquy Pfeiffer's proofing method work at all?

14 posts in this topic

I recently purchased Jacquy Pfeiffer's book "The Art of French Pastry" because it was so precise and detailed. The first recipe I tried is his pretzel and he gives very specific directions for a "quick proof" starter. He calls it his 60 degree C method where the sum of room temperature, flour temperature (165g), and milk (90g), and yeast (10g) should total 60 degrees C.

So with a room temp of 70F and flour temp of the same I'm left with 18 degrees C for the milk. That's a mere 64F which is pretty cold.

The directions are to mix the yeast in the milk, then pour the flour over the top and wait for 15 minutes. At that time the flour should be showing cracks where the gas is escaping.

I've tried this four times now, the latest with a jar of yeast I bought today, and it's not worked once.

I'm used to using water with some sugar and the water is between 110-115F, so his method seems crazy. Yet he is supposed to be a master pastry chef who teaches, so I went ahead a tried it.

I'm really disappointed that the very first task I tried from his book is such an utter failure.

Can anyone shed some light on this for me? Am I doing something wrong, or are the directions a complete failure?/

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Makes no sense. It ignores weights and specific heats. Just nonsense....Apples + spare ribs + tennis balls does not = anything at all.

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Even if this method has potential, switching about between Farenheit and centigrade measurents is cumbersome, and leaves a lot of room for error. It doesn't matter which system you go with, but convert all the temperatures to one or the other beforehand. Also, why is the milk 18C? Is this in the recipe?


Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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again perhaps a mis-print ?

a long time ago I used the book " Best Bread Ever" :

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0767900324/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=31697552436&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=1645136825974623842&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_1pnefmlc9r_b

it used a similar 'additional' method where you took the temp of your flour, then addjusted the temp of the water so the sum added up to a certain number. you then mixed in a food processor for 45 sec. and you have fully kneaded bread that came out to be 75 F

worked very well in a cold kitchen ( mine in the winter ) the flour was pretty cold. adjusting the water temp then always yielded 75 F dough

that book has other interesting points re incorporating as little air ( oxygen ) as possible in the dough which led to baked bread that did not go stale for a long time.

BTW the sum for the cuisinart was 130 F Braun 150 F the differences reflect the 'friction' of the different

processors which add a bit of heat.

any serious home baker would enjoy a peek at this book

out of print but readily available used for only a few bucks.

you of course need a Food Processor.

BTW Ive looked again at the numbers youve posted: the 10 grams of yeast are insignificant

try again and bring the yeast to room temp and just do the sum on flour and liquid.

you then heat the liquid based on how you store your flour

:biggrin:


Edited by rotuts (log)

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Hi,

I have read your post.

The method works but if the flour is not mixed in properly, but it doesn't really matter.

This temperature, is actually the temperature for the bread making itself. And a 15 min Polish is quite short on time

Try by warming up your milk to about 24 degrees.

If all those ingredients are the total of the ingredients needed, then cut some back

What yeast do you use? Does this recipe call for fresh yeast, active dry or instant.

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Makes no sense to me.

The thickness and size of the containers, plastic? aluminum? steel? glass? specific heat of the material changes everything's temperature.

dcarch

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the mixing is simple and effective.

after the mixing, a different sort of problem

try it in the cuisnart the model that has the metal dough blade : Prep-11 + or above

dough (T1) + liquid (T2) = 130 F

basic Rx: 500 gms flour 10 gms salt 1 tsp instant yeast 315 grams water

in the Cuisi : add dry. mix for a sec. then using the dough speed and dough blade blend and pour in the water

45 sec. total kneed. temp of the fully kneed'd dough : 75 degrees

then the fun begins.


Edited by rotuts (log)

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I used "Active Dry Yeast". Probably the biggest issue is that I did not mix the flour into the milk and yeast.

The directions state:

"When the 90 grams of milk is at the right temperature, put it in the bowl of your stand mixer and add the yeast. Stir together and sprinkle the all-purpose flour over the top. Let sit undisturbed for 10-15 minutes. After 15 minutes cracks should have formed on the surface of the flour; this signifies that the yeast is fermenting."

I thought that I may have misread the instructions and should have mixed the flour in, but I just don't read that. Why would it say to sprinkle it over the top if it meant to "add" or "mix in"? Why would it reference the "surface of the flour" if the flour were supposed to be mixed in with the milk and yeast? Wouldn't it instead just reference the "surface" alone?

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I do a similar process for bread, but I just use lukewarm water or if the room is very warm I use cold water. Mix the water and yeast in the mixer bowl with just a little flour, then cover withe the rest of the flour. Let it rest until it starts to crack the top of the flour, or bubbles come up through it. Then I add the rest of my liquid ( water, oil etc.) work it in for a couple of minutes, then let it rest for 20 minutes before kneading. Makes a beautiful dough. If you are making this for home, I don't think you need to be so precise. Bread is very forgiving.


check out my baking and pastry books at the Pastrymama1 shop on www.Half.ebay.com

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It's a simple dough for soft pretzels so it shouldn't be complicated.

It sounds like you use the same process that he describes. How deep a covering of flour do you have, and does the surface exhibit much cracking within fifteen minutes?

I'm wondering how much such a quick acting starter is really doing for the dough.

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ISTM, Pfeiffer is doing a conventional proof under the layer of flour. So, no, the flour shouldn't be stirred in. Can't see an advantage, though, except maybe that it's a one bowl solution. Or maybe he's saying that he doesn't agree with the no proof camp. Frankly, I'd say that if a conventional proof of liquid, yeast and a little sugar is working for you, as it does for most of us, don't worry about it.

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I used "Active Dry Yeast". Probably the biggest issue is that I did not mix the flour into the milk and yeast.

The directions state:

"When the 90 grams of milk is at the right temperature, put it in the bowl of your stand mixer and add the yeast. Stir together and sprinkle the all-purpose flour over the top. Let sit undisturbed for 10-15 minutes. After 15 minutes cracks should have formed on the surface of the flour; this signifies that the yeast is fermenting."

I thought that I may have misread the instructions and should have mixed the flour in, but I just don't read that. Why would it say to sprinkle it over the top if it meant to "add" or "mix in"? Why would it reference the "surface of the flour" if the flour were supposed to be mixed in with the milk and yeast? Wouldn't it instead just reference the "surface" alone?

Does the formula specify a specific form of yeast (Instant vs Active Dry vs Cake)? I made bread this weekend which specified "instant" and had to convert to "active dry" which resulted in nearly twice the weight. This may have been part of the problem.


Steve Lebowitz

Doer of All Things

Steven Howard Confections

Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are, somebody's going to get hurt - Alton Brown, "Good Eats"

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