A dough proof box is a container that provides a constant temperature and, in some case, a bit of humidity so that the dough can rise more quickly and more efficiently.
A specialized proofing box, like the Brod & Taylor Folding Proofer & Slow Cooker provides the ultimate dough proofing experience. I’m going to review this incredible dough proof box later on.
But that’s not the only purpose of this article. There are other alternatives for proofing. Some are really cheap and there are some dough proof box suggestions that won’t cost you anything.
Dough Proof Box: My Picks
1. Best Dough Proof Box: Brod & Taylor Folding Proofer & Slow Cooker
This is an actual dough proof box, more specifically it’s a machine that’s completely designed for proofing. It also works for making yoghurt and a lot of people end up using it for that. It even has a slow cooker mode and you can actually fit a Dutch oven inside and just slowly cook dishes inside this dough proof box. The proofer mode has a temperature range of 70 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. You can experiment with the 75 degrees F or the 80 degrees F to see which works best for you.
2. Use a proofing basket: Forsun Round Bread-Banneton
If you want a cheap alternative to a dough proof box and you’re into baking breads in Dutch ovens or a cloche then you can simply get a proofing basket. You’ll have to establish the right temperature in your house or you can use the oven for proofing. This basket is round but there are also oval models. If you’re baking small loaves, choose the 8.5-inch one. Otherwise, go with the 10-inch option, which holds 2 pounds of dough.
3. For pizza dough: DoughMate Artisan Dough Tray Kit
This is an excellent option for dough balls, especially if you want to put them in the fridge for 12 hours or more. It contains 2 heavy-duty light-weight and durable dough trays. They’re interlocking so that the dough balls are proofed perfectly.
Do You Need a Proofing Box?
Let’s answer the question if you need a proofing box by firstly understanding what proofing dough is exactly.
Once you know the technical aspects, you will decide if you actually want to spend the money on an expensive equipment, like the Brod & Taylor Folding Proofer & Slow Cooker, or if you’re much better without.
The important aspect of proofing is that it happens at its best in warm areas with temperatures ranging from 70 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 27 degrees C).
Others believe that a cold-proof is done at 50 degrees F (10 degrees C), while the ideal room-temperature for proofing dough is 75 degrees F (almost 24 degrees C).
What proofing dough is
It’s especially important for breads. If you properly proof the dough, you will get that nice soft crumb. The risk of getting a dense bread is tinier.
That’s the first rising phase and it’s also called bulked fermentation.
The dough is then punched down, shaped into whatever shape you want the loaf to bake into, and then it’s let to rise again. It will double in size again.
That’s what we call proofing dough.
In order to check if the proofing phase is completely done and you can go through with baking the loaf, make an indentation with your thumb on the side of the dough. If the indentation isn’t immediately filled in then the dough is completely proofed.
Brod & Taylor Folding Proofer & Slow Cooker Review
This is quite the complex machine.
It’s also a pretty expensive machine. There are many bread machines and stand mixers cheaper than this proofer & slow cooker.
Even with that price, the reviews are praising and it’s quite popular.
Let’s see what it’s capable of doing to see if it’s what you might be looking for when wondering if you should use a dough proof box or not.
It has two modes:
- slow cooker mode – the temperature can go from 85 to 195 degrees Fahrenheit and inside you can fit any Dutch oven or stock pot if you want to do some slow cooking inside a box instead of using a stovetop or an oven
- proofer mode – the temperature can go from 70 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s ideal for rising yeast breads and for making yogurt and any other fermented foods, like soft cheeses, cultured butter, kombucha, kefir
In addition, under the proofer mode you can also melt and temper chocolate.
Great dough proof box
The proofing dough capabilities for this machine are exactly what we should be looking for in a dough proof box.
It’s big enough that you can fit two loaf pans inside and let the dough proof in them.
You can control the temperature and it provides humidity so that the dough rises fast and effectively, leading to a fluffy bread. There’s an optional water tray for creating the needed humidity.
You need low-temperature warmth for proofing and this box provides that. But below I’m also going to recommend another way in which you can achieve that and it doesn’t cost a thing.
It does sound complex and Brod & Taylor Folding Proofer & Slow Cooker is quite versatile.
But what do users end up using it for?
Many do indeed love it for its yogurt making capabilities and are very satisfied with that performance.
Others love that they can leave their sourdough dough to proof for very long periods of time in an environment where they can control the temperature and the humidity.
And they even end up slow cooking inside this box.
The impressive thing is that this thing that looks like a pretty big box can actually be folded down for storage. It becomes like a tray.
I think I’m more awed by that than by the fact that you can perfectly proof dough or make yogurt or place a Dutch oven inside for slow cooking.
Dough Proof Box Alternatives
Once the bulk fermentation is done, you can transfer the dough to the proofing basket and let the proofing happen on the counter. A proofing basket doesn’t influence the proofing, it just shapes the dough perfectly for Dutch oven baking.
Others who use loaf pans, just let the dough proof inside of the loaf pans and it works very well in warmer climates with a bit of humidity.
Another option that involves more than letting the dough on the counter to proof is to place the dough in a warm oven.
The warm oven becomes your dough proof box and it doesn’t cost a thing.
How does that happen?
Place 3 cups of boiling water on the bottom of the oven, place the dough on the middle rack and close the door. Absolutely don’t turn on the oven, you’re not at the baking stage just yet, it will take about 1.5 hours to get there.
The steam and the heat from the boiling water are enough for warming up the oven for proofing the dough.
Pizza Dough Proofing Box
Proofing pizza dough follows pretty much the same steps as proofing bread dough with just a slight variation.
Once the bulk fermentation is done (the 1st rising phase), the dough is punched down and divided into balls.
Pizza dough is proofed after it has been divided into your usual measure for the pizza dough balls. Since the balls are pretty small, low trays are usually used as the best pizza dough proofing box.
DoughMate Artisan Dough Tray Kit
This kit contains 2 heavy-duty light-weight and durable dough trays. There’s also a lid to cover them to create that airtight environment.
The nice thing about them is that they’re interlocking so that the dough balls are proofed perfectly.
They will fit in most standard home refrigerators, the total measurement for the kit is: 17.75 x 13 x 7 inches.
It’s pretty much one of the best pizza dough proofing boxes, just like the Brod & Taylor Folding Proofer & Slow Cooker is an impressive dough proof box and so much more.