29 July 2007

Baking Notes : On Proof Boxes, Hints for newbie Baker

Proof boxes aren't necessary for a bakery, especially a small one, over time you learn to "feel" the doughs textures --- from mixer to bench, from bench to board, from board to oven. This is the unspoken seventh sense those "one" with the dough possess.
Like everything, baking is akin to Star Wars. "Just as the path of a Jedi is often difficult, filled with conflict and pain". As is the path of the newbie baker.

"To become a Jedi requires the deepest commitment and most serious mind. It is not a venture to be undertaken lightly. As such, Jedi instruction is rigidly structured and codified to enforce discipline and hinder transgression... A Jedi who fails in his training can be a very serious threat. The dark side of the Force beckons to the impatient, and students in the past have been lured to its call with devastating consequences."

In The Empire Strikes back, Young Luke Sky walker, motivated by the spirit of Jedi
Obi-Wan Kenobi , ventures out into Dagobah swamp ( of the Dagobah Systems) inhabited by Yoda , Jedi Master. While in Dagobah swamp, Luke Skywalker learns the "ways of the Force" from Yoda, and to hone his Jedi abilities.

And just as Luke Skywalker before you --- Newbie Baker, You too will learn to harness your "baking" abilities.

Every baker --- whether novice or master, all venture into the unknown realm of chemical activity, the eclectic rhythms guiding hands and thoughts into a carbohydrate fueled symphony. With each turn of dough, each shaping of a round, your mind will develop a map of sensory memories. If you are new to this baking realm, don't just make mental notes, make visual and textural ones as well . If you follow this simple plan, the "baking" force will become strong within you.

A.K.A "Proofer" , "steam box" ,"Steam Cell"

Proof Box Advantages:

  • Control temp. & humidity
  • Proofs at same humidity & temp. , regardless of weather.


  • If oven is full at all times, you have gained proper efficiency.
Larger proof box vs. small oven:
  • [2 : 1] or [3 : 1] ratio {2-3 pans proof to every 1 pan bake in oven}
  • 1 hr proof : 20 min of baking time = more profit / cost effective
Why Invest in a Hydrometer:
  • Measures exact humidity in air
Proof boxes are notorious for being unbalanced in humidity.


Cabinet Proofer
Characteristics to Look For:

  • Corrugated Steel ledges to hold sheet pans:
If you can't purchase a proofer with wire supports. Solid steel doesn't work as well, when the ledge makes contact with the sheet pan, it will block steam which rises from the bottom of the Cabinet Proofer (the bottom is where the controls are housed). This will affect your proof.

  • Walk-in Cabinet Proofer
These proofers have better ventilation and are much sturdier.

  • Wire holders/supports for sheet pans
Supports (i.e solid steel / corrugated) tend to break off. Or need to be readjusted. Purchasing wire supports will cut down repeated maintenance.

Rack Proofer

  • Best Performance
  • All sizes, to meet space requirements/ production yields
  • Good for production

Retarder Proofer

  • Has variable temps (frozen to thaw --> to proof) timer.
Shelf Type Proofer

  • Removable shelves
  • Frozen bake-off operations (Main use)
  • Proofer is stacked on top of oven

  • Not ergonomically designed



6:10 PM, April 26, 2010 Reply  

what type of hydrometer should be used for a small proofer for a small bakery? I was told I needed one for the different seasons.

3:26 AM, July 02, 2011 Reply  

wow what an opportunity working for such a great brand!! you really did well landing that one. congrats!

Bakery Equipment

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting! Your thoughts on posts are very much appreciated.

Due to spam, all comments will be reviewed - before any comments are published.

Type-A Parent New York City Bootcamp (Focus: Brand-Blogger Relations)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Back to TOP