Proofing allows the dough to rest, while the yeast is infusing the mix with flavor from the ethanol and other byproducts that result during the process. The dough also gains structure as the gluten network is inflated by CO2.
During the proofing process, the internal moisture content of the dough is directly affected by the surrounding humidity and temperature levels. The lower the humidity at that point, the crustier the surface layer will become while baking. The optimal controlled humidity level will depend on the desired product being baked.
There are many types of proofing machines, suited for all kinds of volumes and workflows, but temperature and humidity control are essential in all of them.
We gathered insight from equipment manufacturers NewCap and DEBAG regarding the complexities and particularities of current proofer designs in their portfolios.
NewCap supplies two types of proofers: step proofers and race track proofers. Step proofers are used
for high capacity and limited floor space, while race track proofers are used when there is almost no height available and when the capacity is maximum 3,600 loaves per hour.
“Our main focus is on the step prover, 95% of the proofers we sell are step proving systems on and small footprint of the machine,” Geert Schellens, operational manager, NewCap explains.
The main reasons for this preference are the low maintenance, low power consumption and small footprint of the machine.
“Our customers are into the (lidded) bread market, buns or artisan bread. Every product carrier, baking form, or baking tray is different and all processing and proofing times are different. We are producing custom-made equipment, although based on a standard design. Just by making the proofer wider and higher, we can use all required baking forms and we can deal with the processing times and requested capacities. By changing the pitch of the carriers (L-shape angle profiles), we also can handle the height of the products the customer requires,” Schellens detailed.
The biggest challenges, when producing custom equipment designed to work with a variety of products, do not derive from the proofer itself, but from streamlining the whole production in such a way that all the processes upstream and downstream from the proofer can keep up and be efficient.
“You cannot speed up the final proofer without adjusting settings at the oven, cooler and packaging machine. When you have a different proofing time between one product and another, you need to empty your proofer first. Or, when the difference is small, you can speed up or slow down the whole proofer, bit by bit. But keep in mind that actions need to be taken as well down- and up-stream,” Schellens pointed out.
DEBAG offers its clients an air-conditioned proofing chamber, which provides uniform climate in the whole chamber for even maturity of all doughs.
Equipped with the company’s KLIMA program control and KLIMA TOUCH control, they are equipped with a modular ceiling A/C system with integrated air flow technology manufactured precisely for each room size and configuration. The MONSUN system generates a constant climate by regulating temperature, moisture and air movement, keeping the dough quality at a consistent level.
“Our control systems can be adjusted and programmed according to your requirements. All process steps can be selected individually or can be stored as complete programs for process control. This saves time, staff resources and reduces the chances of potential errors.”
To facilitate integration in large production lines, the proofing chamber can be loaded and emptied from two sides, a design that is especially well suited to incorporation within complex refrigeration systems.
You can read more in our print magazine Asia Pacific Baker & Biscuit, Winter 2018!