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heliman 08-11-2012 08:05 PM

Bread Proofing
I have been doing bench proofing/proving for some time with varying results.

Any suggestions for doing proofing in an electric oven with the inclusion of water for humidity to standardise the process?

SableSprings 08-11-2012 09:01 PM

Re: Bread Proofing
1 Attachment(s)
I used to turn the electric oven on warm for 30-60 seconds, only to take the chill off. Then I'd shut the oven element off and just leave the light on. I would then put a cookie sheet or shallow pan on the lower rack and pour warm water into it. It took a while to find a routine that worked for our oven, but eventually I got a reasonably reliable timing sequence that would hold bread dough (on the upper rack above the water) at 80-85F while it proofed in a higher humidity.

I haven't used the electric oven for a long time now and have been very happy with longer proofs at lower temps (70-75F). I simply insulated the sides of a set of metal shelves and hung a piece of plastic in front to act as a flexible door. On the bottom set of shelves I have a small space heater that cycles on a very low temp setting and a fan to circulate the warm air throughout the upper shelves...(I put in a picture of my prep room with covered bread in the proofing box)...seems to hold at my new target temps quite well and has a lot more space than my electric oven. Karangi dude did a fabulous proofer out of an old refrigerator and a hot plate-take a look at it on his thread

Dieter01 08-11-2012 10:19 PM

Re: Bread Proofing
Not specifically proofing in an oven but I enjoyed the read:

texassourdough 08-12-2012 07:16 AM

Re: Bread Proofing
Hi Rossco!

There are a variety of proofing boxes that make proofing much more reliable. However, it is easily done with an ice chest (or even a box) a light bulb, and a thermostat. There are a variety of ways to humidify the box if needed or wanted.

Good to hear from you!

heliman 08-31-2012 06:57 AM

Re: Bread Proofing
Hey Dr Jay ... apologies for the tardiness in responding. Thanks for the response. Hope you are keeping well!

I have been tinkering around with the electric oven and am getting good results at around 40 C with a cup of hot water. Mainly using this for bread but will give it a go on my pizza tomorrow as we have the neighbour coming around for a meal!!

heliman 08-31-2012 06:58 AM

Re: Bread Proofing
Thanks Doug ... interesting setup!



Originally Posted by Karangi Dude (Post 136514)
Hi Rossco,

I have used a big tub with hot water (just use hot water out of the hot tap) you need to put something on the bottom to hold the container up off the bottom so the dough won't come into contact with the hot water. I don't cover the dough but put a towel over the top of the tub it keeps the moisture and heat in.
Rossco it works well, a cheap alternative to the fridge prover I built but then that didn't cost much about $90

heliman 08-31-2012 06:59 AM

Re: Bread Proofing
Thanks Mike and Dieter.... useful info ...

WJW 09-02-2012 12:46 PM

Re: Bread Proofing
I get the idea of a box to control temp for why the humidity? I'm guessing this is needed for very small batches? A loaf or two maybe? With a larger batch (say ten pounds or more) it would seem like loss to evaporation would be so insignificant as to not matter???

Is this more a thing for pastries, or very small batches?



SableSprings 09-02-2012 08:54 PM

Re: Bread Proofing
One of the reasons you form & shape loaves is to create a stretched, dough skin around the outside of the loaf. This skin is very important to promoting/containing proper rise and (when scored) that nice oven spring grin we all strive for in our loaves.

If you don't provide adequate humidity during rising, the outside loaf skin can dry out and lose its ability to flex & stretch...not usually what we "loafers" want. If you don't make or try to create a proofing box environment (stable temps and humidity), the standard procedure is to cover the proofing loaves with a cloth to minimize drying out of the dough's outer skin.

texassourdough 09-10-2012 06:34 AM

Re: Bread Proofing
Hi Bill!

On the whole I would agree with you that humidity control is less necessary with larger batches. Your inherent humidity is an issue however. In San Antonio of Phoenix you are likely to need to take care to not overly dry out the skin. In San Francisco and coastal Oregon you probably won't - even in smaller batches.

At ambient I find I don't typically need humidity control in San Antonio. But when proofing at higher temps it is a bigger issue for warmng the air reduces the "dew point". This is a much bigger deal in winter than summer.

From my experience, I don't like to proof bread at 100 % humidity. I want a slight drying of the skin. But not much. (Makes the loaf a lot easier to deal with and good slashing can do much to compensate for slightly dry skins and give great loaf look).

Ultimately its all a continuum and a minor detail but the kind of detail that "if it bothers you you address it" and "if it doesn't bother you it doesn't matter".

Bake on!

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