The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Proofers, anybody?

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vtsteve's picture
vtsteve

Proofers, anybody?

I'm seriously considering a real proofer. I currently use a rolling rack, with a vinyl cover and a small oil-filled electric radiator in the lower half. I put the proofing boards in bags to keep the dough from drying out. This setup will maintain temperature OK,  but I'd like to start proofing retarded loaves and they take too long to warm up. So...

There's a nearby restaurant supply with a couple of full-size Win-Holt proofers in stock. Does anyone have experience with either the economy or 'regular' model? Are there any other makes to seek/avoid? Thanks!

Petit Batard's picture
Petit Batard

 There were two of the economy sized proofers in a bakery I worked at. Really good for final proofing just keep an eye on the tempeture as It fluctuates. Also the water for the humidity needed to be replaced often. 

mcs's picture
mcs

I've been using the NHPL-1836 for about 5 years.  It's a decent proofer but I would agree with Petit Batard in saying that the temperature fluctuates (and humidity fluctuates) quite a bit.  For $1000, it should be more consistent, but if you can get a used one for much less, then it might be worth it.

Depending on your budget and how handy you are with tools, it might be worth making your own.  I just built a nice one the other day and have been testing it out - I will post some pictures of it in the 'advanced topics' area soon. 

-Mark

vtsteve's picture
vtsteve

but I'm not sure I could keep it watertight on the bottom. I shuddered a bit when I saw that list price on the electronics drawer is as much as a new proofer. I was surprised that the LED is *only* a thermometer display, and that 'dial 1-9 do not correspond to any fixed temperature'. I've got a greenhouse thermostat that I bought when I was going to build my own, so I'd probably wire that into the heater.

mcs's picture
mcs

Not only does the 1-9 on the temperature correspond with nothing, the humidity numbers correspond with nothing.  A greenhouse thermostat would work fine.  On the one I just built, I'm using this heat mat thermostat hooked up to this cheap griddle for the heat source.  I turn the griddle down to about 150F or so and place a damp towel on it.  The thermostat keeps the temperature very even and it's plenty humid.  On my old home made proofbox I used a small ceramic heater (that had a fan), but this way takes up less space in the proofbox and also creates even humidity.

Anyway, later I'll post some pix. 

-Mark

vtsteve's picture
vtsteve

I've been looking at your trailer layout, too, and picturing a bake shack out by the oven -- I've taken over too much of the house with bread gear, and it's been a point of contention. Anything that I build will have to pass Aesthetic Review, at least until the shack happens :-)

It's funny; I just spotted a Metro proofer/holder (2000W, needs a dedicated circuit w/NEMA plug) about an hour away, on CL. It's 'barely used', and less than the Win-Holt...

mcs's picture
mcs

Here's the post, let me know if you have questions.

-Mark