Question about final proofing
I do a lot of baking at home for friends and aquaintences. Mostly I produce dinner roll type breads called "Pandesal". Each batch yields around 12 dozen rolls. In the past I would make up the rolls on sheet pans and place them on my kitchen table (around 8 or 9 half-sheet pans) and cover them with a thin plastic sheet during the final proof. Recently I purchased a half height bun pan rack to save space in my kitchen. What I have noticed is that the rolls are taking a bit longer to rise and did not rise as much in the oven as before. I think it might have something to do with moisture loss or "drying out" of the rolls during the final proof. Is it possible to modify this bun rack to act as a proof box? I thought of using a bun pan rack cover (either disposable or permanent) and then placing a pan of hot water on the bottom.
I guess my question is this: does the drying out of the outer skin of the unbaked dough prevent even rising or cause reduced rising when in the oven? I had no issues before I started using the rack. I usually bake them in a 410 degree F oven for 5 minutes on the bottom rack, then for about 4 minutes on the middle rack.