The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Proofing Box Questions

coffeetester's picture

Proofing Box Questions

I am having trouble getting any temperature other then 71 degrees. My oven goes to >100 with the light on. I have tried putting a cup of hot/boiling water in the oven and it gets to 78 but after 2 hours its back to 71. I have been looking at different proofing boxes on the web and here on TFL. I ran across a pretty cool idea but wanted to hear an opinion before I drop some cash on it. Personally since I am designing the cabinets in the garage and laundry room I would build this directly into one of the cabinets to make it look like it belongs. I started looking at a reptile supply store and ran across a humidifier and a controller

Temp and Humidity controller:

 Humidity Generator:

As for a heat source I would either use a heating pad or a light bulb. The reason why I like a heating pad is it is a surface radiation instead of a point source of heat. This way it will heat the whole chamber. To get a little more fancy I would add a small computer fan to circulate air and humidity to make sure the chamber is constant. Any thought or ideas on this.

Chuck's picture

If your climate is really dry or you've had problems with dough drying out (ex: "skinning"), then humidifying your proofer may be helpful. Otherwise, it may be more trouble than it's worth.

Just a) eliminating drafts and b) reasonably controlling temperature is probably all you need for proofing. (And after you've eliminated drafts, a fan may just risk bringing back the old issue. The nearly imperceptible thermal circulation of air inside a box with no nooks or crannies may be sufficient.)

I put a couple mugs of hot water under my proofing cover along with the dough once. Most of the water disappeared out of the mugs in less than an hour, and the loaf hydration got so screwed up it pancaked and was ruined. That experience made me pretty leery of "too much" humidity during proofing.

coffeetester's picture

In the Bay area California the humidity is never bad. I just want to have control over 1 of the two factors now. I also saw a thermostat where I can plug a heat generating device into it. I was going to stretch Amazon’s return policy and see how it work in a cooler with a heating pad first. My problem is I either get 71 or I get a large variation.

flournwater's picture

Try not to over-think it, you don't need an ISO 20000 rating.  A simple box (cabinet area) with a protected light bulb and a wet sponge resting in a dish is enough to do the job.  Might be a good idea to include a thermostatically controlled switch in the circuit to maintain a relatively even temperature over time.

Nickisafoodie's picture

I took a large carboard box, cut a hole in the top and was able to insert a light bulb socket with a 25 w bulb, even 15 can be enough depending on time of year.  Since I use plastic wrap over the container the dough is rising in, the humidity is not a problem.  Total cost: $3.  I recently googled "make dough proof box" and there are other examples that are worth checking into if you are seeking to keep the cost down.

If money is no object, your approach is very high tech!  Good luck!

Dcn Marty's picture
Dcn Marty

For a heat source, you might try a heating pad for starting seeds. I don't know if they get hot enough, but they are designed for consistent heat.