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What is a Retarder-proofer? (prover)

A retarder-proofer is a cabinet with a controlled and adjustable temperature and relative humidity. During the final stage of the cycle, it transforms from a cold storage room to a heated cabinet to encourage proving. Fermented goods can be retarded and stored overnight or through the weekend, automatically proving the product ready for baking at a pre-set time.

The retarder controls and optimizes the leavening process with precision, without compromising hygiene and quality, producing improved aroma and fragrance compared to foods subjected to the traditional, natural leavening process.

Retarder-proofers have greater temperature control and overcome the problems of moisture control from proofers alone.

Glorius Bread - Yummy.

What does this mean?

It means, basically, that you need to change the way you think about baking bread. Traditionally, bread making has been thought of as a make and bake process. Modern technology has allowed the retarder-proofer to be almost foolproof and become one of the best things to come along since the proverbial sliced bread. The baker can now look at his daily routine and think with a bake and make attitude!

The greatest saving a retarder-proofer can provide is time.

How will it save me time?

Within a traditional make and bake setting, you have to start work earlier in the morning to:

  • knead the dough;
  • shape and mould;
  • allow the products to rise;
  • put it in the oven about 2 hours after you started work.

With a retarder-proofer in your bakery, when you start work in the morning:

  • all the dough is fermented ready for the oven;
  • the dough only needs to be put into the ovens — an immediate saving of 2 hours;
  • which gives you time to shape and knead tomorrow’s dough batch and place into the proofer cabinet.

Now, you get a 2 hour sleep in every day, and still have your product in the oven at the same, since its fermentation has already reached the correct point inside the retarder-proofer cabinet.

Will it save me money too?

The retarder-proofer is a great money and time saver. It exploits the last hour of baking time, during which you can be preparing new dough and refilling the unit. With labour costs being what they are, the equipment soon starts to pay for itself.

What is the cost of 2 hours labour per day to you? $300 per week? Possibly more, particularly at that premium, cost-heavy time of day. Compare this against the lease cost of retarder-proofer, which starts at only $60.00 per week.

But I’m just a small operation — I don’t need a big machine

Retarder-proofers units are available to suit any operation, from the smallest to the largest.

Some models have an in-built sleep mode, in the vent of any delay in removing the product from the unit, where the cycle reverts back to retard mode to hold the product for up to 30 minutes longer than the pre-set time. Retarder-proofers come in varying sizes, and, depending on your requirements, you may use a large unit for the times that the baker is present during the day and for the next mornings bake, whilst also maintaining a smaller unit for the staff to handle that last late afternoon bake once the baker has left for the day.

These units can be used as a standard proofer for the day when the first bake has been removed, and then switched back to retard mode for the next days load.

Download the What Is A Retarder Proofer manual