A couple of months ago, we were asked if we would be interested in reviewing a folding proofer designed by Brød & Taylor. Until that point, we had never used a proofer before. We simply sought out the warmest location in the kitchen and hoped for the best. As you can imagine, consistency was thrown to the wind. And as anyone that has attempted to do a substantial amount of baking can attest, consistency and exact measurements are the two most important keys to success. So we decided to review this product to determine if it actually makes the process of baking any easier.
The proofer itself measures 18 inches by 14 1/2 inches. It was designed so that it could be easily stored in a drawer or cabinet and consume minimal space. When it is folded, it has a height of only 2 1/2 inches (see below).
When you unfold it.....
it has a height of 10 1/2 inches. This height was high enough to place a mixing bowl from a standard Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer inside with an inch or two to spare. The base, walls, and lid of the proofer are made of sturdy, reinforced polypropylene. There is an aluminum heating plate built into the base. The heating plate has the capacity to heat the inside of the proofer to temperatures between 70 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature can be set to the nearest degree using a digital control located on the side of the proofer.
An aluminum water tray rests on top of the heating plate and can provide humidity levels between 60% and 80%. A stainless steel wire rack that sits above the water tray is also provided.
For our evaluation of this product, we wanted to try it out on a variety of baking applications. So we used it to make Breakfast Cinnamon Rolls, Cinnamon Crumb Cake, Neapolitan Pizza Dough, Schnecken, Hungarian Bundt Cake, and Easy Artisan Bread. We also tried each of these recipes without a proofer as a control group. In each case that we used the proofer, our dough rose more (sometimes twice as much) than it did for the same recipe without a proofer. As a result, the recipes in which we used the proofer resulted in dishes with more complex flavors as a result of the enhanced activity of the yeast and the texture of each dish was lighter and chewier.
We never thought of a proofer as a necessity. However, after trying this product on each of these recipes, we found that we wanted to use it for all of our baking applications. If you do any kind of baking at all, this device provides a consistent, controlled environment and eliminates much of the uncertainty involved in developing properly formed dough. We recommend this product 100% if you are seriously interested in further developing your skills as a baker. We say "seriously" as this product currently has a retail price in the range of $150 (US).