The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Proofer

Ricko's picture
Ricko

Proofer

With the pandemic currently raging and all the forced shut downs, I can see a large number of bakeries, restaurants and other food establishments going out of business. Which means one man's loss could be another man's gain. 

 Here in Michigan, we usually don't keep the house much above 72°F in the winter, so trying to maintain a bulk fermentation between 78-80°F is pretty hard. 

I was wondering if restaurant/bakery equipment was to go for pennies on the dollar, would it be worth picking up a proofer? 

Do any of you home bakers use a commercial proofer for your bread baking? The bulk ferment seems to be the one weak spot that I have trouble with and I'd think a proofer would be a valuable addition to my bread baking. Your thought?

breadforfun's picture
breadforfun

Ricko,

I’d say if you had the space for one and were able to get your hands on it, don’t hesitate. Most of the proofers I’ve seen are quite large. 

I use a very simple scheme. A reptile thermostat will set you back around $25. You can hook up a heating pad, or I use a string of Christmas lights (not the LED variety) and put it into an insulated picnic cooler.  I can maintain anything from 2 degrees above ambient to 90*F with such a setup. I’ve used it for over 10 years. 

-Brad

suave's picture
suave

In my opinion 72 is perfectly fine for both bulk fermentation and proofing, and unless you bake on scale and need to adhere to a tight schedule you don't need a commercial proofer. 

gavinc's picture
gavinc

How many loaves do you want to proof at a time? I think that's the key question as to the viability of getting a commercial proofer. I only do a couple of loaves at a time and made my own proofer from two plastic boxes and an aquarium heater. Cheap to make and cheap to run. I can post some pictures and details if you want them.

Cheers,

Gavin.

 

clazar123's picture
clazar123

If you are baking just a few loaves at a time, THIS proofer is what I like. Brod and Taylor did a prototype study with TFL participants several years ago. It made a difference in my northern home! A homemade version is do-able but the Brod folds away so nicely.

Ricko's picture
Ricko

Thanks everyone for your comments. I only do a few loaves per week, but if the price is right, which I think in a few months of these closures it will be. I can conclude from your comments that  a proofer of some type, whether home made or not, is a helpful part of bread baking. So I'll keep my eyes open and an ear to the ground to see if I can snag a treasure down the road a bit for a steal.  

Benito's picture
Benito

I too use the Brot and Taylor proofing box and I don’t think I’d be able to reliably bake sourdough during the winter months here in Canada without it.

Benny

dbazuin's picture
dbazuin

Also using this proofer makes your process more predictable because you always have the same temperature and humidity. 

gavinc's picture
gavinc

After years of using my home-made proofer, I've just ordered the Brot and Talyor. I'm part-way through a practice run of a 3 stage 70% rye sourdough and realised that having a variable degree proofer would have made this so much easier.

I was encouraged by the comments here and the review by ehanner's in 2011.

Cheers,

Gavin.

Benito's picture
Benito

I hope that you find the Brot and Taylor as helpful to you has I have found it helpful to me Gavin.  Love to hear back as to your review of it once you’ve had a chance to use it a bit.

Benny

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

.. for the brod & taylor proofer. It's contributed to really improve my baking results. !

 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Did you get buy-in from your spouse about something taking up floor or counter space?

Dutchman52020's picture
Dutchman52020

I use a Brod &Taylor proofer as my house in normally cool and have found that this unit has helped my starter to maintain a very active profile. The proofer runs around 170 dollars.