When we buy our favourite bread or pastry we don’t think much about how it was made and we usually assume that dough and an oven are all that is needed. However, this is not the case as baking encompasses some other very important steps in between that are essential in order to make delicious final baked goods. A trendy bakery requires trendy bits of equipment and involves other steps as well, and one such important is the process of retarding dough proofing.
What Is Dough Proofing?
Proofing or as more people know as “rising” is a step in bread making that activates the yeast in the dough. During the fermentation process, the yeast cells in the dough (such as bread or pastry dough) consume carbohydrates and expel the carbon dioxide gas which causes the dough to expand and reach a greater height and volume, which wouldn’t happen if it was directly put in an oven. What’s also important in this process is to make sure sure that the dough is not overproofed ( which causes the layers to separate and the butter in croissants to leak ) or underproofed ( which can result in a tight crumb and less flaky layers).
There are three ways this process can be achieved. One of them is to cover the dough and let it rise at room temperature, the second one involves putting the pan of dough near a heat source to catalyze the process, and the third one is simply using a special bakery retarder proofer. We suppose many of you may not be familiar with this machine, so we’ll try to give a simple explanation before we proceed to define the many benefits associated with its usage.
What Is a Retarder Proofer and How Does It Work?
If you ever come across the word retarder proofer, it’s most likely that you don’t have a clue what does it mean or what’s its purpose unless you are involved in some type of bakery business, suck as owning a pizzeria or any other type of bakery store.
A bakery retarder proofer is a cabinet with a controllable and adjustable temperature and relative humidity. Depending on your needs and the type of product you’re making, you can set the retarder at a higher temperature to proof the dough faster, or at a lower one to slow down the process. The main purpose of this kind of machine is that it allows you to delay the baking time and store the fermented dough for hours and days so you can optimize your schedule.
This is a very convenient feature in the food business, as you are not obliged to bake the goods immediately after the dough has risen, but you can leave batches of dough to retard overnight and take them out for baking the next morning. As a result, your can always have freshly baked goods available for your customers.
The Benefits of Retarder Proofing
There are many benefits associated with owning a bakery retarder proofer, and here in this article, we are going to mention some of them.
The whole process of making bread or any pastry products can be time-consuming. You will need to mix the right ingredients to make the dough, wait for it to rise, shape it, and finally bake it. Having dough proofer retarder cabinets allows you to postpone the whole proofing process so you don’t need to bake it immediately. This is a very useful feature as it allows flexibility in the working place, especially if you own some kind of bakery or pizzeria, where you can let the staff go home in the night shifts and bake the proofed goods the next morning. These cabinets also enable you to keep a sufficient amount of dough in stock which you can use to increase your production on peak days.
As you keep the dough in proofing retarder cabinets and tablets at a temperature below 4°C, the yeast fermentation process slows down, the production of carbon dioxide stops which subsequently puts the leavening process on hold until the set program starts up again ( for a maximum of 72 hours). This is made possible as this machine has all the preset features required such as the right temperature, humidity, and thermally insulated environment that allows the fermentation to start only at a set time.
What’s more, a slower proofing process can result in a smoother dough but also preserves and enhance some organoleptic properties, such as the aroma and taste usually becoming more intense and rounder, which isn’t always the case when you have a fast and forced proofing. This being said, you can use this machine to enhance the flavour and create premium-grade products, like artisan bread for instance.
Less Yeast Consumption and Saving on Staff Expenses
Besides all the above benefits mentioned, the process of proofing causes less water to evaporate, which additionally results in the dough rising more. This also means, that 50% less yeast is required, which is a great feature as it leads to considerable economic savings. Besides, since there is no need for night shifts, fewer members of the staff can get the job done, which also leads to fewer payments and staff expenses.