The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

DIY PROVING CABINET

baker GSS's picture
baker GSS

DIY PROVING CABINET

Hi Guys..Just a quickie to show you the little proving cabinet I have made, that fits neatly over my cooker and has three removable shelves. All I do is turn stove top on a low light and fill the pan with water to create heat and steam. I also have an adjustable sliding vent in the top to let some of the steam out,which goes out through my hob extractor fan.  When there is something in it, I cover the front with a piece of bubblewrap  Works a treat and mostly made from scrap wood..

gerhard's picture
gerhard

but I hope you don't leave it unattended and hopefully have a fire extinguisher near.  I am sure it might work but even at a low setting there is a lot of heat.

Gerhard

foodslut's picture
foodslut

... about what temperatures you're seeing in there when it's running?

eddieruko's picture
eddieruko

If I could make a couple suggestions...

Find some 60-100 Watt light bulbs and bases. Drill a hole in that back panel, one hole centered for each shelf, and string them together. Find a very inexpensive temp controller (STS-1000 for example). Place the cabinet in a secure location, set the temp, and walk away. You could have yourself a very reliable and effective proofing (or retarding) cabinet that won't run the risk of burning down, or worse ruining your bread (joke).

I don't see the advantage steam in your proofing cabinet over simply applying heat from a lamp. You could mist the loaves to achieve a similar effect. And you can easily control the temperature, which would be far more effective than steam and an open flame.

Colin2's picture
Colin2

Ditto to all of this!  I've built propagation boxes for seeds along similar lines, using heating pads, or rope lights in vermiculite, to provide gentle heat from the bottom.  If you build it reasonably tight you don't need much heating.  The controller, with a thermocouple, gives you a readout of temperature and lets you dial in what you want.  

If the thing is closed with a good door, my guess is you'd get enough humidity from just the rising dough.  For propagation boxes you usually want some ventilation 'cause they're on 24/7 and you worry about mold, but for just a few hours of use at a time, you might not need ventilation.

But please, please don't run that thing over a stove, gas or electric.  The building code where I live allows nothing combustible within a foot of the cooktop.

baker GSS's picture
baker GSS

Hi the advantage of steam in a prover is that it stops your bread skinning over from just dry heat from a lamp, etc. I appreciate your suggestions, but in the 40 years that I worked as a baker before I retired, all the provers I ever used always had some sort of appliance for adding steam...

Justanoldguy's picture
Justanoldguy

Congratulations on conceiving and executing your project. But I'm with eddieruko and Gerhardt. There are things that could go wrong with wood and open flames in close proximity. And I'm not sure that plastic bubble wrap insulation and open flames are any better. With only slight modifications you could eliminate the need to place it over the gas eyes. The light bulb suggestion is one to consider. You might also think about completely enclosing the base and top then adding a solid door and providing heat and moisture by boiling a kettle of water and pouring it into the pan and closing the door. That would increase the safety margin and free up your cooker at the same time.   

baker GSS's picture
baker GSS

The actual gas flame is only on a very low light, just enough to keep the water hot enough to produce a slow steady steam and the bubblewrap is nowhere near the flame as it just drapes over the front f the cabinet. Also enclosing the cabinet completely would produce too must moisture on the inside of the cabinet...that is why I have a grille in the top to let the excess out and taken away through my extractor fan..I also think steam and moisture in a closed cabinet with an electric light bulb is not a very good idea..

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It looks like a pain to clean and keep clean.  Mould and moisture are your number one enemies so keep doughs tightly covered or sealed and forget a water tray for humidity.   I would avoid wood with exposed seams and holes.... you might try plugging the holes and sealing the seams.   My experience tells me that pressed wood will not last long once moisture gets inside of it. 

baker GSS's picture
baker GSS

Hi there... cleaning is really easy...all the individual wooden slats just pull out and then just a quick wipe down on the inside of the cabinet with some anti bacterial cleaner and dried off with kitchen towel and stored away till the next time..only use it about twice a month just to keep my hand in lol..  been retired from the trade now for 4 years but still miss it..

HansB's picture
HansB

Brød & Taylor. Best thing I ever bought for bread making.

Alan.H's picture
Alan.H

I have to agree with the concerns expressed above about safety.. I have been using my DIY wooden proofing box for some years heated by a 40 watt bulb controlled by a cheap temp controller from ebay. (Originally I used an old central heating wall thermostat). It is frequently left on unattended for several hours for bulk ferment or proofing with no safety worries. Also a plastic shower cap stretched over the ferment bowl provides all the moisture necessary to prevent the dough from skimming over.

Afterthought............ My marital relations would sink to an all time low if I covered the gas/electric hob with a box for several hours. Even my primary hobby baking has to take a back seat to that.

Rube Goldberg's picture
Rube Goldberg

I would also agree that a metal cabinet would be safer for that set up.

flouryhands's picture
flouryhands

I've been proofing bread in my oven with just the oven light switched on and it works brilliantly.

Dsr303's picture
Dsr303

ive been using a soft plastic zippered thing my king bedspread came in. I sit a cup of boiling water in in with the dough. It works beautifully and collapses when not in use