I spent years baking sourdough bread without a proofer, but now that I have one, I couldn’t live without it! It’s one of the few items that took my sourdough baking to the next level, and here’s why…
- I can get consistent results every time
- I can make sourdough work around MY schedule, and NOT the other way around
- I can experiment more easily
The Brod and Taylor Dough Proofer (link to Amazon) is my top pick for the best proofing box for sourdough bread. It has completely revolutionized the way I make sourdough bread now, and has made it far easier to bake more often, and with more consistent and predictable results.
It’s also sold by a great family owned company I know, who specialize in artisan bread baking equipment. They’re a really knowledgeable bunch and I’ve found that their pricing is usually better than Amazon! You can check the product out on their site here.
The Benefits of Using the Brod & Taylor Proofing Box for Sourdough
Getting sourdough bread right every time is a lot to ask when you are starting off. There is a lot to learn, and each aspect of the process has it’s own set of learnings. One of the most difficult aspects in the whole process, is figuring out exactly how long to proof your dough for.
It’s more complicated than the average yeasted bread because sourdough requires a long and slow ferment/proof of several hours as a minimum. Because the proofing time is so long, even small fluctuations in temperature can make a big difference to how long your dough should be proofed. This is why it usually takes the beginner quite a few goes before understanding when the dough is ready for the next stage.
Using this particular proofing box allows you to take all the temperature fluctuations out of the equation. It takes all the guess work out of how long to prove your dough for and allows you to accurately predict how long you will need to let the dough rise.
It makes scheduling and planning your bake far easier. You simply place your dough inside the box for a perfect level of both temperature and humidity, and when you come back to it at a given time, it will have risen exactly how far you expect. It allows you to be able to get on with your day, knowing exactly when your dough will need attention again.
At the end of the day, a dough proofer is not completely necessary to make sourdough bread. I managed without one for a long time. But in my opinion, it IS worth the purchase for all of the benefits I’m about to mention, and it’s super useful for people who want to bake their sourdough bread whilst maintaining a pretty busy lifestyle.
NOTE: If you’d like step by step guidance on how to fit sourdough baking into a busy schedule, check out my online course.
What I Like About the Brod & Taylor Bread Proofer
This particular proofing box is pretty innovative, and a little different to most proofing boxes that are available. Here are a few of it’s unique characteristics…
You Can Adjust the Temperature to Your Liking
Unlike other proofers on the market, the Brod & Taylor proofer allows you to adjust the temperature at which you ferment your dough. Sourdough in particular, can carry different flavors according to what temperature it was fermented at, and even a few degrees difference can make a difference to how long to proof it for.
Being able to adjust the temperature at which you proof your sourdough is extremely handy. You can set the temperature to the exact temperature that allows for a flavor of your liking.
The temperature adjustment also allows you to predict exactly how long your dough will need to prove. No more guessing! You can set it to a temperature that will fit into your schedule.
It Provides the Optimal Humidity Levels for Sourdough
Another unique characteristic of this proofer, (which other proofers don’t have), is it’s humidity controller. The Brod & Taylor Proofer holds humidity levels of between 60 and 80%; the perfect humidity level for sourdough to rise well. There is no need to bother with covering the dough either in this device because there’s no concern that the dough will dry out.
It Folds Away Flat and Re-Assembles in Seconds!
This is a big plus for me. The proofer is really simple to use and store. I don’t have a lot of counter top space and this proofer folds completely flat and re-assembles again in a few seconds. The sides are quite sturdy too. When I first purchased it, I was worried that it wouldn’t be very sturdy, but in fact the proofer is of durable quality and will last me many years to come.
It has a Transparant Top
Most dough proofers don’t have the advantage of being able to keep an eye on your dough without opening up the proofing area. The Brod and Taylor proofer has a window on the lid so that you can just take a look whenever you need without opening up the box, and losing precious warmth and humidity.
What I Don’t Like About the Brod & Taylor Bread Proofer
The only real niggle I have with the proofer is that it would be useful if the cord was a little longer. It would give me more options on where I can place it. And one more thing…
The size of the proofer is perfect for my day to day needs, and will hold a good amount of dough (I would say up to 4 good sized loaves worth of dough if you used suitable containers). But when I run my baking workshops, I tend to have much larger amounts of dough, which of course would not fit into this proofer. But I recognize that this is asking for too much because for the average home baker, the size of this box is more than enough!
‘Make-Shift’ Dough Proofer
If you’re not ready to invest in a dough proofer just yet, there are make-shift ways to be able to create some of the benefits of one. Here are a few suggestions:
- Oven – Place your dough in the oven with only the light switched on for warmth. For extra humidity, you can place a cup of boiling hot water next to the dough.
- Microwave – The microwave is also a good draft free area you could make use of, again using a cup of hot water for extra humidity.
- Inside a kitchen cupboard – This can work if the area is relatively warm.
As you can see, there are a few options to help keep your dough at a consistent temperature, but it is difficult to replicate some of the features of the Brod & Taylor dough proofer, like choosing which temperature you’d like to ferment your dough.
It may help to have a thermometer handy that is combined with a humidity monitor like this one. Keeping one next to your dough while it is rising will help you to develop an understanding of how the dough is being affected by temperature and humidity, without having to invest in a dough proofer.
For more products I recommend, check out my Baking Tools section.