The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread Proofing Project

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JLCorbin's picture
JLCorbin

Bread Proofing Project

Hi!


I am working on a team of 8 people to develop a new, innovative product for a class assignment at Boston University. We have decided to develop a home bread proofer that can be sold commercially and we really need feedback from experienced home bakers and baking enthusiasts. The survey takes no longer than 5-10 minutes and we would really appreciate all the feedback we can possible get! All feedback is anonymous and will be used for academic purposes only.


The survey can be found at http://bumanagement.qualtrics.com//SE/?SID=SV_2gj7YiFTbD1wxso


Thank you so much for your participation, time and feedback. It means a lot to both myself and my team!


JLCorbin

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

JLCorbin,


The conceptual design is shaped much like a breadbox, which is a problem.  A proofer needs to have the maximum usable internal volume possible.  That argues in favor of a rectangular box shape, rather than a rounded front that lops off a significant volume.


Some design considerations that your team should consider as you move toward a final design:


- Should the device be sized for loaf pans (remembering that they come in a variety of sizes), or for cookie sheets/jelly roll pans, or for the larger 1/2 sheet pans, or for bannetons and brotformen (which also come in a variety of sizes)?


- Of the above possibilities, how many should the device accomodate?


- How much countertop real estate will potential customers be willing to sacrifice for a limited-use (both frequency and purpose) device?  Or should the device be built on a rolling stand, instead?


- Will the device require demineralized/distilled water to prevent the formation of scale on the heating element?


- Should the concept be reconfigured to function as both proofer and retarder, so that it can be used in cool and warm seasons?  (Yes, that would jack the price up considerably.)


Here's where I'm coming from.  As a home baker, my output for an individual bake might range anywhere from a 9x13 pan of dinner rolls to eight 9x5 loaf pans to two half-sheet pans of loaves to a couple of banneton-proofed loaves.  As you can see, that is quite a variety of shapes, sizes, and counts.  A proofer that could accomodate every one of those (not at the same time) is going to be larger rather than smaller.  If the device can't accomodate that range of bakes, I'd be stupid to spend money on it since I would still have to jury-rig something for the bakes that wouldn't fit in the device.


Although I am temporarily on an international assignment, my U.S. addresses have included Michigan, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Kansas (twice) and Texas.  That's represents a large swing in climate conditions; hence, my question about the device doing double duty.  In some of those locales, at least for some of the year, the need for a retarder outweighs the need for a proofer.


I like the concept of a proofer that is sized for the needs of a home baker.  I hope you can find a way to bring it to market at an attractive price point.  Should that prove to be insurmountable, there are also home bakers who would love to have a sheeter...


Paul

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I concur that it should accomodate a number of size pans. I bake many different loaves.


I also like the idea of it being collapsible for storage-perhaps even extensible.The buyer can purchase an "add-on" area to increase the size or height.


Easily cleanable!


Being able to  both increase or decrease temp is also a plus-it can be anywhere from 55-95 F in my kitchen,depending on the season. This definitely affects the proofing cycle.


Good Luck!

payrollbaker's picture
payrollbaker

JLCorbin,


I agree with what Paul said, if it can't accomodate the proofing of rolls on half-sheet pans, then the whole thing would be worthless.  Also, it would have to be tall-long-wide enough to proof loaves of ciabatta bread, baquettes, etc.  If the product can't do that then I would not purchase it.  The idea is a good one, but it would need to handle the needs of the serious homebaker and be at a good price (<$100 for me) or I would just keep proofing the way I always do, which works fine.  If the product can't offer me and other serious homebakers something better at a good price, it will be hard to convert us from our current methods of proofing to this proofing device.


Dido on the sheeter!


Best of luck!


The PayrollBaker