Frequently Asked Questions

Folding Proofer FAQ

Why isn’t the air temperature inside my Proofer the same as the setting?

The Proofer is calibrated to keep the contents of a jar or bowl at the designated temperature setting, not the air inside. Measuring the air temperature in the proofer with a thermometer will not indicate the temperature of food in a container.

The Proofer is calibrated to keep its contents near the temperature setting, not the air inside. This is because the Proofer heats mainly by radiative heating directly from the aluminum heating plate in the base to the food containers. The air temperature inside the Proofer will become warm, but will not be the same as the temperature of food inside containers. In Proofer mode, items should always be placed on a rack.

There are two important factors that affect the temperature of food in the Proofer:

  • Covering a container will raise the temperature of the food inside the container
  • Adding water to the tray to create humidity will raise the temperature of food in the container.

The Proofer has been calibrated in two ways:

Humid (with water tray): 70-95 °F / 21-35 °C. Use open containers. Bread dough and preferment in open bowls, loaf, or sheet pans.

Dry (no water tray): 70 -120 °F / 21 – 49 °C. Use closed containers. Commonly used for culturing yogurt. If the Proofer is used in dry mode at 70-95 °F / 21-35 °C food temperatures may be several degrees below the setpoint.

Can the Proofer run for more than a few hours at a time?

Yes, the Proofer has been tested and approved for unattended operation and may be run continuously. It uses very little electricity, only about 0.03 kwh per hour when set at 75 °F / 24 °C.

What are the dimensions of the Folding Proofer & Slow Cooker?

Dimensions

Inside (open): 14.75 x 12.5 x 8” high
Outside (open): 18 x 14.5 x 10.5” high
Outside (closed): 18 x 14.5 x 3” high
Weight: 7.5 lbs.

Inside (open):  37.5 x 32 x 20 cm high
Outside (open):  46 x 37 x 27 cm high
Outside (closed): 46 x 37 x 7 cm high
Weight: 3.4 kg

proofer-dimensions
I put bread dough in my Proofer and it doesn’t feel warm. Is it working properly?

If your Proofer is set to a cooler temp 75 °F / 24 °C, it may not feel very warm to the touch even when it is working properly. To speed rising, set it to 85-90 °F / 29-32 °C. If you have been rising bread in an oven or other area that is quite warm, you may need to set the Proofer temperature higher to obtain similar results. However, the best flavors in bread are usually obtained when the dough is given enough time to rise slowly.

Will the Proofer work in any environment?

The Proofer has been calibrated for a room temperature of 65 – 70 °F / 18 – 21 °C. The Proofer is only designed to warm its contents, not cool. If the room temperature is above the set point, the Proofer cannot be cooler. If the ambient is very cold – lower than 55 °F / 13 °C, the temperature setting may need to be adjusted a few degrees higher to achieve the desired result.

Does the Proofer have a thermostat?

Yes, there is a thermostat located in the base of the Proofer. The heating element cycles on and off according to the temperature of the aluminum plate. This cycling on and off occurs within a very narrow range, making the Proofer very accurate and reliable at maintaining a steady temperature.

The Proofer doesn’t seem to get hot enough at the higher end of its temperature range. Is it working properly?

The Proofer’s higher temperature range 95 – 120 °F / 35 – 49 °C has been calibrated for use with covered containers. Lids or other coverings need to be on containers to prevent evaporation, heat loss, and contamination from the environment.

The Proofer seems to get too hot at the higher end of its temperature range. Is it working properly?

For the best heat circulation and most accurate culturing temperature, avoid placing jars or containers directly in the center of the Proofer. The Proofer will fit eight one quart (1 liter) mason jars without the need to place a jar in the center.

For cultures or fermentations that require extended times (>12 hours) more stable results may be achieved in the Slow Cook mode, which may be set as low as 85 °F / 30 °C. Jars or other containers of food can be placed inside a larger flat bottom container (such as a stock pot or aluminum roast pan) and covered with a lid or foil and placed directly on the heating plate. Choose Slow Cook with the Mode button and set the desired temperature.

Lid will not shut when folding proofer for storage.
  1. Make sure the folding sides are collapsed correctly and attached to the hinge at the inside back of the base.
  2. Ensure the small plastic cross guides are visible on the top
  3. Place the wire rack with feet UP so it is secured by the cross guides.
proofer-close-up
How long should I preheat the Proofer?

Generally preheat for 10-15 minutes

The walls of my Proofer came apart, how do I put them back together?

In order to prevent the walls from coming apart, we recommend always leaving them attached to the base of the Proofer in the rear hinges, even during folding and set up.

Here are some pointers for putting them back together:

  1. Start with the long wall that says “Warning”. Place it in the rear hinges of the base so that the writing is facing the interior of the Proofer.
  2. Next take one of the short walls and face the raised hinges in the middle of the wall to the outside, or exterior of the Proofer (the smooth side of the hinge should face the interior). The exposed end of the metal pin at the center hinge of this wall should be facing up and the closed end should be facing down.
  3. To fit the short wall into the long wall, widen the angle formed by the two walls until they are nearly a straight line, then fit the juncture together.
  4. Once the juncture is fastened, you can put the short wall back to a right angle with the back wall and rest it on the Proofer base.
  5. Attach the second short wall in the same manner as the first.
  6. For the last long wall, face the raised middle panel to the interior of the Proofer, then fasten it to one of the short side walls (again, it will be necessary to widen the angle between walls until it is nearly flat).

Finally, to attach the last joint, it will be necessary to form a nearly straight line with the short wall that you are attaching it to, just as you did with the other three junctures. This will be a little tricky with the other three walls already attached. To do this, leave the back wall in the hinges at the back of the base, but lift up the walls at the front of the base so that you can form a nearly flat angle with the two walls that you are trying to attach.

When operating the Folding Proofer, is it noisy?

No, operation of the Folding Proofer is silent.

How is the FP-201 different from the FP-205?

Folding Proofer (FP-101): This model has no specific settings for slow cooking. However, most Proofers can still be used for slow cooking by setting the temperature to 120 °F / 49 °C and placing a covered cooking pot directly on the heating base plate. This will be equivalent to the FP-105 in Slow Cook mode with temperature the set at 195 °F / 90 °C.

Folding Proofer and Slow Cooker (FP-205): This model has two temperature modes: Proofer and Slow Cook. The digital display changes to indicate the set temperature for the selected mode. In Proofer mode, food items should always be placed on the rack. In Slow Cook mode, the cooking pot must be place directly on the heating base plate.

Folding Proofer model FP-201 Temperature Setting Cross-Reference Chart

An approximate cross reference guide for using the original Folding Proofer as a slow cooker is provided below. To achieve the temperature in the left column, set the Proofer model FP-201 to the setting in the right column.

Desired Temp            FP-201 Use this Setting
195 °F / 90 °C        =      120 °F / 49 °C
185 °F / 85 °C        =      118 °F / 48 °C
175 °F / 80 °C        =      114 °F / 46 °C
165 °F / 75 °C        =      110 °F / 43 °C
140 °F / 60 °C       =      102 °F / 39 °C

How does the lid of the Proofer attach to the sides?

When the Proofer is set up, the lid rests on the walls. It does not click into place or latch. However, there is a specific way to line up the lid so that it fits properly. The two square pegs at the rear of the lid fit into the square-shaped notches at the rear wall, then the lid hinges down onto the walls.

What is the power consumption of the Proofer per hour?

The Proofer consumes 200 watts. When it is operating it has a duty cycle of about 30%. This means the heater is only using 200W for 30% of the time, depending on the temperature (the lower the temperature the less the time the heater has to run).

If the Proofer was ON 100% of the time it would use:

  • 200 watts x 1 hour = 200 watt hour (= 0.2kwh)

But since it is only on about 30% of the time, the actual energy consumption is:

  • 200 watt hour x 0.3 = 60 watt hour = 0.06 kWh / hour

In other words, it uses the same energy as a 60 watt light bulb.

Can household ovens with a low temperature setting be used to proof?
  1. Low temperature ovens do not control and hold at the single degree-by-degree temperature level.
  2. Low temperature ovens do not have proper humidity control The lowest temperature on a low temperature oven can not maintain the very low range of temperatures starting at 70F – 21C temperature.
  3. Our Proofer is calibrated by engineers to maintain the internal food temperature of the bread dough, yogurt culture, or whatever food is being made in the Proofer. A low temperature oven is set for the air inside the oven, not the ingredients a person is making. The recipes developed by Brod & Taylor have been successfully tested at the specific temperature settings indicated on each recipe.

Slow Cooker FAQ

If a recipe recommends using a Slow Cooker on LOW, what temperature should I use on the Brod & Taylor Slow Cooker?

Set to 195 °F / 90 °C. See “About Slow Cooking Temperature” for more information.

If a recipe recommends using a Slow Cooker on HIGH, what temperature should I use on the Brod & Taylor Slow Cooker?

Set to 195 °F / 90 °C. See “About Slow Cooking Temperature” for more information. The Brod & Taylor Slow Cooker will hold food at a maximum temperature of 195 – 200 °F / 90 – 93 °C. If you want to simmer or boil to reduce liquid after slow cooking, move the pot to a stove top.

About Slow Cooking Temperature:

Comparing temperature settings on The Folding Proofer and Slow Cooker to a traditional slow cooker requires some explanation. Most conventional slow cookers (typically with only Low and High settings) actually have no temperature control at all. They heat slowly and continuously until the maximum temperature is reached – usually boiling. This means for much of the time you are slow cooking, your food is actually below or above the actual ideal cooking temperature. With many slow cookers Low and High settings are actually identical. Certain “multi-cooker” appliances with a slow cook function do have temperature control, although performance varies greatly between brands and there is no universal standard for Low or High setting.

Our Folding Slow Cooker uses calibrated temperature control to maintain the selected temperature. You can choose the ideal cooking temperature for your recipe without worrying about over-cooking your food. Temperature settings are most accurate using a stainless steel pot with a flat bottom, but most any type of metal pot can be used.

What are the other temperature settings for?

Different types of food are best cooked at different temperatures. Consult our RECIPES & HOW-TO for additional guidelines. In general, inexpensive cuts of meat like pork butt or shoulder, benefit from higher temperatures to become tender and should be cooked at 195 °F / 90 °C for an extended time. Chicken is best cooked at lower temperatures to maintain moistness. Other possibilities for lower temperatures include slow roasting black garlic at 140 °F / 60 °C or sous-vide cooking in water.

Why isn’t my pot hot?

Make sure that you have removed the rack from your Proofer. The pot must sit directly on the aluminum heating base plate. Food temperature in the pot will vary somewhat depending on the type of pot. Temperature settings are most accurate using a stainless steel pot with a thick base and flat bottom.

How is the FP-201 different from the FP-205?

Folding Proofer (FP-201): This model has no specific settings for slow cooking. However, most Proofers can still be used for slow cooking by setting the temperature to 120 °F / 49 °C and placing a covered cooking pot directly on the heating base plate. This will be equivalent to the FP-205 in Slow Cook mode with temperature the set at 195 °F / 90 °C.

Folding Proofer and Slow Cooker (FP-205): This model has two temperature modes: Proofer and Slow Cook. The digital display changes to indicate the set temperature for the selected mode. In Proofer mode, food items should always be placed on the rack. In Slow Cook mode, the cooking pot must be place directly on the heating base plate.

Folding Proofer model FP-201 Temperature Setting Cross-Reference Chart

An approximate cross reference guide for using the original Folding Proofer as a slow cooker is provided below. To achieve the temperature in the left column, set the Proofer model FP-201 to the setting in the right column.

Desired Temp            FP-201 Use this Setting
195 °F / 90 °C        =      120 °F / 49 °C
185 °F / 85 °C        =      118 °F / 48 °C
175 °F / 80 °C        =      114 °F / 46 °C
165 °F / 75 °C        =      110 °F / 43 °C
140 °F / 60 °C       =      102 °F / 39 °C
110 °F / 43 °C        =       85 °F / 29 °C

What kind of pot should I use for slow cooking?

Temperature settings will be most accurate using a stainless steel pot with a thick flat base. The best choice will have some type of heat conductive metal in the base such as aluminum. All Clad ™ stockpots are among our favorites, but there are many other brands. It is possible to use cast iron Dutch ovens, either bare or porcelain coated, but these pots may be 10-15 °F / 5-8 °C below the temperature setting at the highest temperatures. To achieve the highest temperature in a cast iron Dutch oven wrap it in a single layer of aluminum foil to greatly reduce its heat loss. Porcelain enameled cast iron Dutch ovens will get as hot as stainless steel pots if they are wrapped in aluminum foil.

The photographs above are of the same pot. The one on the right was taken with an infrared camera. In this photo on the right side of the pot, where there is no aluminum foil wrap, you can see tremendous emissivity of thermal heat (thermal heat energy loss). When using a recipe where a high temperature of 195 °F / 90 °C is indicated (as in pork recipes), wrapping an enamel-coated cast iron pot or a cast iron & glass-top pot with one layer of foil on the sides and pot lid will allow the internal temperature of the pot to rise. If the temperature is set to 195 °F / 90 °C the Proofer & Slow Cooker will not allow the internal contents of the food to rise above 195 °F /90 °C.

One easy method is to place 2 pieces of foil on a flat surface with the pot in the middle and then wrap to cover the pot and lid.

Can I use ceramic crocks or ramekins in the Folding Proofer & Slow Cooker?

Slow cooking should always be done in a metal pot. Ceramic crocks and ramekins do not conduct heat well and will not reach the temperature set point.

How long can I leave food in the slow cooker?

There is no specific limit on how long the Folding Proofer & Slow Cooker may be run. Most slow cook recipes will take a maximum of 10-12 hours. Slow roasting black garlic will take up to four weeks at 140 °F / 60 °F. The Folding Proofer original model FP-201 can also be operated for weeks and months at a time.

Is there a “stay warm” temperature?

You may reduce the temperature setting to 160 °F / 71 °C to safely hold food at a warm temperature. As an extra precaution, we suggest that you double check the temperature of the food to ensure that it is above 150 °F / 66 °C. Always keep a tight fitting lid on your cooking pot inside the closed Folding Proofer & Slow Cooker.

Can I take the sides off and use it as a heating plate for keeping foods warm at potlucks?

The top and sides may be removed to use the Proofer & Slow Cooker as a warming tray. Do not remove the sides until they are folded towards the back of the Proofer. Then lift up and release the folded sides from the rear hinge. Also remove the rack and water tray. Removing the pot lid may allow food to cool below the Proofer set point.

I want to use the Folding Proofer & Slow Cooker for a non-Brod & Taylor recipe. How do I convert settings and times?

Use the same times recommended for cooking on LOW in a conventional slow cooker.

Do I have to add liquid to the pot?

Slow cooking is normally done with some liquid in the pot. However, in certain recipes, liquid comes mainly from the meat as it begins to cook. Consult the specific recipe for details.

Can I cook overnight?

The Folding Proofer & Slow cooker is approved for unattended use and can be used overnight. Please be sure to follow all safety instructions in the Instruction Manual whenever using this appliance, and especially when it is used unattended.

Can frozen food be placed in the Folding Proofer & Slow Cooker?

When slow cooking, food should reach 140 °F / 60 °C in less than 2 hours. For this reason, frozen meat should never be placed directly in a pot for slow cooking. For best results and increased food safety, we recommend searing thawed meat. Not only does this improve the flavor but also pre-heats the pot you will use for slow cooking.

I spilled food all over the bottom of the slow cooker—how do I clean it up?

Do not immerse the base unit in water if the unit becomes soiled, instead use a soft cloth with a bit of water to remove the spill. As a preventative measure before using the Proofer, you can place a piece of aluminum foil on the base plate beneath the pot so that any spill is easy to collect and discard.

Can the original Folding Proofer (FP-201) be used as a Slow Cooker?

The original Folding Proofer (FP-201) and the Folding Proofer & Slow Cooker (FP-205) models use a similar heating system. The key difference in the new Slow Cook model is the added ability to directly select the Slow Cook temperature and a further improved temperature accuracy.

Setting the older Folding Proofer to 49ºC and placing a pot directly on the heating plate will produce the same results as selecting 90ºC in Slow Cook mode using the new model. When using the original Folding Proofer as a slow cooker, the temperature range of  21-49ºC on the digital panel do not result in the actual food temperature. An approximate cross reference guide for using the original Folding Proofer as a slow cooker is provided below.
 

Temperature Setting Cross-Reference Chart

To achieve the temperature in the left column, set the Folding Proofer (FP-201) to the setting in the right column.

90C = 49C

85C = 48C

80C = 46C

75C = 43C

Sahara Dehydrator FAQ

Is it safe to leave the dehydrator running unattended?

The Sahara Dehydrator is engineered to operate unattended. Internal thermal controls protect against overheating due to a malfunction. As with all electrical appliances, the dehydrator should be used on a hard flat surface. Do not block any air intakes or exhaust on the back, underneath or top. Never store items on top of the dehydrator. Do not operate near flammable liquids or vapors.

How much electricity does it use?

The Sahara Dehydrator has two independent heating circuits of 375W each (750 total). The fan uses very little electricity. In normal operation, the heating circuits turn on and off to maintain temperature and low humidity. Typically the energy consumed over a full cycle of dehydration is less than 0.4 kWh/hr. The cost of electricity varies greatly around the world. In the USA this is $0.04-0.05 USD per hour of use. In Germany this is about € 0,12 per hour of use.

Does it turn off automatically?

The digital timer can be set up to 99 hours. At the completion of the set time, both the heater and fan will switch off automatically. Additionally, a second time can be set to run after the first time is complete (Dual Time / Temperature Mode).

Can I change time and temperature settings during operation?

You can pause operation at anytime during dehydration by pressing the PAUSE button. When paused, you can adjust time remaining and temperature settings. Press the PAUSE /START button again to restart operation.

Are the drying shelves dishwasher safe?

The Sahara Dehydrator comes in two models: one with stainless steel wire shelves and one with poly plastic shelves. The stainless steel shelves are completely dishwasher safe. Poly plastic shelves can be washed in dishwashers up to 167°F / 75°C. Most household dishwashers operate below this temperature.

Are the materials BPA free?

None of the materials used in the Sahara Dehydrator contain BPA. Food comes into contact with the shelves only. Shelves are available in stainless steel (high quality food grade series 304) or food safe polypropylene plastic. The ABS plastic enclosure is also BPA free. For the ultimate in food safety we recommend using the stainless steel shelves. Sahara Dehydrator drying mats (available separately) are made from high quality silicone and are food safe even at high temperatures. No PTFE materials (such as Teflon®) are used in any Sahara Dehydrator components or accessories.

What are the benefits of drying food at home?

Drying or “dehydrating” food is a method of food preservation that removes enough moisture from the food so bacteria, yeast and molds cannot grow. Dried foods are tasty, nutritious, lightweight, easy to prepare, easy to carry and easy to use. Low humidity, low heat and good air circulation are critical for successful drying. Once dry, store foods in a dark, cool location in containers that keep out moisture and insects.

Is it safe to dry meat in the Sahara Dehydrator?

Meat can be safely dried in the SAHARA dehydrator by following a few common sense precautions. When handling raw meat, follow strict cleanliness procedures. Keep meat cool prior to placing in the dehydrator. Dry meat at a setting of at least 160F / 71C. At the completion of drying, meat will achieve an internal temperature equal to the setting. Some studies recommend heating red meat to 160F / 71C and chicken to 165F / 74C BEFORE dehydrating, because food contaminants may become more heat resistant after drying. However, this technique alters the texture of the dehydrated meat that some may find objectionable. Educate yourself by reading more about meat drying on sites such as:

https://www.fsis.usda.gov

https://www.cals.uidaho.edu/edcomm/pdf/PNW/PNW0632.pdf

Why is the food temperature less than the air temperature?

Evaporation causes cooling. We all experience this cooling of the skin when getting out of a pool or a shower, or the more significant cooling that occurs when water evaporates from wet clothing. Wet food drying in the dehydrator is cooled by this effect. Actual food temperature may be up to 35F / 20C lower than the temperature setting. As the food dries and evaporation stops the temperature of the food will rise to the setting on the dehydrator. To control the temperature of the food through the entire drying cycle, use the Dual Time -Temperature Mode.

Why does it take so long to dry food?

The Sahara Dehydrator creates the ideal conditions to evaporate moisture from the surface of wet food. Ultimately, the time required for the food to fully dry is controlled by how long it takes for all the water in the interior of the food to migrate to the surface so it can evaporate. Certain techniques can speed drying times, but often at the expense of flavor and texture. The easiest way to speed drying is to prepare thin slices of food. But very thin food slices may not be as enjoyable to eat. Raising the dehydration temperature will also speed drying, however, if the temperature is too hot a skin may form on the surface of the food that slows down the drying process.

How can I speed up the drying process?

In the initial stage of drying, food may be as much as 45°F / 25°C below the air temperature setting. In most cases, you can safely raise the temperature by this amount for the first several hours of drying to decrease drying time.

What other factors affect the drying time?

Humidity of the air, quantity of food in the dehydrator, moisture content of the food and altitude can affect drying time.

My food is taking longer to dry? Is there something wrong with the dehydrator?

There are many factors that affect drying times. The relative humidity of the air in the room where the dehydrator is used will affect drying time. Food will dry slower when the humidity is high (more water vapor is in the air slows evaporation). The temperature of the room and altitude can also affect drying time.

What is the best way to store dehydrated food?

Store dehydrated food in sealed containers in a cool dark area. Vacuum sealed bags are excellent for storage.

What are drying mats and why would I want them?

Sahara drying mats are food-safe silicone. They are excellent for sticky foods, liquids, fruit leathers, or small items such as berries, nuts, seeds or herbs that might fall through the grating of standard shelves.

What will happen if I operate the dehydrator without an air filter?

The Sahara Dehydrator is carefully designed to optimize airflow and circulation with the air filter in place. Additionally, operating the dehydrator without a filter can draw dust and debris inside the fan and heater. It is very difficult to clean the fan or heater and may cause damage.

Can I use an air filter from another appliance such as my vacuum cleaner?

Air filters from vacuums and other appliances may degrade the performance of the dehydrator. Only authentic Brod & Taylor Sahara Dehydrator filters should be used.

How long do air filters last?

The air filter can be used continuously as long as it is clean. If the filter cannot be cleaned or is damaged it should be replaced. Filters are available from authorized Brod & Taylor Sahara distributors.

How do I turn off the beeper that signals the completion of the timer?

Hold Start/Pause button 2 seconds to Enable/Disable Mute Mode. In Mute Mode the completion beep is silenced.

Still have questions? 
Please Contact us and we’d be happy to help!