The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Proofing boxes

mdrdds's picture

Proofing boxes

I just acquired a small foldable proofing box for home use. I'm not sure what temps I should be using for the bread I make ie. chabata, sourdough, baguettes and rye. Any advise as to proper temps and humidity would be most helpful.

Mike Robinson

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

You really just have to experiment with it to know, but in general: warmer = faster rise = less flavour.

If you're not a production baker, a proofing box is unnecessary. Just give the dough more time, the consequence being that slower rise = more flavour.

It's ciabatta, by the way, although I rather prefer your spelling. I always want to pronounce it Chi-ugh-bat-ta.

mdrdds's picture

I can bake bread. I can't spell.

AnnaInMD's picture

oven light on.  Actually, it gets quite warm.  If your microwave is above the stove, put your dough into the microwave and turn on the light which is underneath the microwave to light the stove top.  That little bulb keeps the inside of the microwave nice and warm.



mrfrost's picture

 Member ehanner recently did a review of his folding proofer here:

I have seen him mention a temperature of 75F for bulk fermentation, and 80F for a shaped final proof.

Those are actually pretty close to a temperature I shoot for in breadmaking(no proofing box) when the recipe doesn't give specific temperature guidance. When the dough has shown to be a little sluggish, I sometimes try to find a place where it's about 85F for final proofing.

Maybe ehanner can give you some of his recommendations for temperature and humidity control settings.

Good luck.

tananaBrian's picture

I think proofing boxes are a good idea, not necessary but who bakes just because it's necessary?  I like the idea of controlling both the temperature and humidity.  Here in Alaska, the air can be pretty dry during the winter time and letting bread have it's own mini-environment, even if at room temp, is not a bad idea.



Costas's picture

80F with 75% humidity i think it will cover all your needs...that s what i am using in my bakery for the 90% of my doughs.

This is the  perfect temperature and humidity for sourdough also!

Good luck with your experiments...!

dablues's picture

Here's a link to download the manual.

ehanner's picture

The Brod and Taylor Folding Proof Box is a great tool and will help you assure you are fermenting and later proofing at an appropriate temperature. I have had my unit for over a Month and find my results are much more consistent when I can keep the dough at around 75-78F. Some bread authors suggest a Desired Dough Temperature (DDT) which will give you a good starting point and should deliver predictable performance of the yeast.

I find one of the best uses of "The Proofer" is for fermenting my pre ferments. This is a step I like to do overnight when the house is cool but the proofer is warm. I mix the poolish or biga after dinner and set the temperature at around 75F and in the morning it is ready to go. If you have any specific questions, let me know. I think you will like it.


tananaBrian's picture

Tempting... but for $159 at their web site, the price will need to drop a bit before I bite.  Hate to say that because I like to see start-ups succeed, but the price is a bit rich for me.  Maybe they can get on at and increase sales enough to justify higher volumes and lower prices?  But as an electrical engineer, I know that I can find the components to make my own for less than $40 (a simple line-voltage thermostat, lamp socket, bulb, and home-made box).  Well... after the boat building project.  I certainly don't need new projects right now... Rubbermaid will have to be my friend for this winter!



Salilah's picture

We did this when I was doing sourdough for the first time (year or so ago) with a powder mix - it specified the temperature so I thought I'd have to do something!

Plywood base - walls of polystyrene (around 4cm thick), as you say a lamp socket and low powered bulb, and a small light dimmer switch and thermometer!  Challenges - getting the temperature low enough (and being able to read the temp - we had an oven thermometer which didn't start very low); the lid was a sheet of polystyrene with two bars of polystyrene stuck on (and the glue melted the polystyrene, so this didn't really work); transporting it (it lived in a large cardboard box).  It's in the shed at the moment, but I think it's time to get it out again as winter comes in!!

I was looking for one of the plastic picnic hampers / cool boxes that we used to use for keeping food cool - but couldn't find one, hence the polystyrene...

Chuck's picture

Steveb has suggested going to a pet supply store and getting the kind of thermostat that would keep a terrarium warm for a desert creature. My experience agrees, for a proofing box the reptile thermostat works much better than the common "dimmer". Holding a particular temperature goes from being a "challenge" to being drop-dead simple.