The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

b&t proofing with sheet pans?

chleba's picture
chleba

b&t proofing with sheet pans?

Hi:

I've been considering getting the B&T proofer.  I've read all about it, and in theory it seems great but still on fence mostly because it seems only quarter sheet pans will fit inside - which doesn't seem useful if I'm making laminated dough pastries.  The shelf kit will let me put two quarter sheet pans in, but then.. that's only good for what, maybe 8 full size croissants (triangle pre rolling is 4x9 inches)? 

Thus far I've been using my car as the proofing box :D obviously not very good.  I know it's easy to make with a light bulb and a beer cooler, but the B&T just seems so slick.

How do you all handle proofing baked goods that need space and are baked on sheet pans?

Thanks for your time.

Yippee's picture
Yippee

considering there is no competition on the market. 

You can squeeze a half sheet pan in the BT but the sides will be bulging,  and its lid won't fit. When this happens, I use an oversized plastic container to cover the whole thing.  The biggest issue of BT is heat loss due to its flimsy construction. Its foldable feature hinders the usage of more sturdy materials. You can counter the issue by jacking up the temperature and covering the setup with a blankie until the temperature stabilizes at where you want. Once the temperature stabilizes, it does a decent job maintaining it if the surrounding conditions remain constant. 

I use the proofing function of my oven if I need to prove on a sheet pan. 

I've seen some sophisticated DIY proofer designs on the forum. If you are handy, build your own. BT is a shortcut, but it comes with headaches. 

Yippee

chleba's picture
chleba

You saved me $180.  :)

I will build my own, seems easy enough for a weekend project, found a few threads.  Having trouble figuring out how to make it dual-use though, so it would cool as well for retarding!  Hmmm, that could come later I suppose.

Yippee's picture
Yippee

You'll be a winner if you can tackle this challenge.

mikedilger's picture
mikedilger

This was the easiest solution for me, but it's probably not big enough for you.

Supplies:

  • Ice chest
  • Light socket on a power cord
  • 40W light bulb
  • Aluminum foil
  • Thermostat (see below)
  • Towels / Sleeping Bags
  1. Attach light bulb into light socket
  2. Wrap light with aluminum foil (we want the heat, not the light, which could stimulate algae or something else)
  3. Crack the ice chest and drape the light into the ice chest.  You will no longer be able to close it because of the power cord in the way.
  4. Plug light bulb power cord into the thermostat
  5. Place thermostat probe cable into the ice chest, and put into your dough when needed.  You will no longer be able to close the ice chest because of this cord too.
  6. Jam towels in the crack of the open ice chest to plug this crack somewhat, and drape a sleeping bag over the whole thing.  Heat leakage is OK... it just means the light bulb will be on for longer duty cycle.

I purchased an incubator thermostat for about $20 which controls a power outlet based on temperature.  You set a threshold, you set either warming mode or cooling mode, and it turns off power once it goes above (or below) the threshold, with 1C hysteresis.

 

David R's picture
David R

Maybe the new trend will be bakers building greenhouse-like structures in their back yards. 🙂

Reeni's picture
Reeni

When it's just a few, I use bun pan covers and stack them in a warm spot under a blanket. I can usually do 4-5 half sheet pans at the most. If it's more (not often now), I'll stack them in the bathroom, having run the shower hot to provide warmth and humidity. Weird, I know, but my family has forgiven me the odd tower of covered pans for the promise of fresh rolls. 

You could also try putting a shelving unit above your stove or on top of your fridge, or above your clothes dryer if there's space.

For larger efforts, you could do what a colleague set up (we were a ragtag bunch trying to make our budget stretch at a local college) -- a rolling rack with a heavy plastic cover, and a camp stove with a pot of water on the bottom. This works best if you have perforated sheet pans.

rolling rack heavy cover butane stove