If you are an avid bread baker, you know how important the proofing process is. Bread making can be a precarious venture, so proofing is not something to take lightly.
A proofing box is perfect for maintaining the shape of your dough at the ideal temperature while it rises for the final time before baking.
I like the Brod & Taylor Proofer & Slow Cooker for its excellent results and multiple functions. This box can handle everything from pizza and bread dough to creating fermented foods and tempering chocolate.
But it is a pricier pick, and it’s an appliance. If you want something scaled back or more affordable, not to worry: There are several boxes that will proof dough effectively, resulting in perfectly light, fresh bread.
Ready to decide which proofing box is right for you? Let’s get started.
Bread Proofer Buying Guide
What Is Proofing?
Proofing, also called the final rise, is the stage of fermentation in yeast bread that gives shaped dough time to rise before baking. Some bread dough also needs bulk fermentation prior to proofing (also called a first rise), allowing the larger mass of dough time to rise and achieve flavor before shaping.
What Is a Proofing Box?
A proof box works by creating a consistent environment for temperature control and humidity control, resulting in the best fermentation conditions.
Yeast activity peaks at 77°F (25°C), so you want a warm environment for proofing. Anywhere between a temperature range of 75°-115°F (24°-46°C) is best.
Yeast will slow at any temperature below 70°F (21°C), and it becomes inactive at 34°F (2°C), whereas yeast will die at temperatures above 138°F (59°C). Temperature control is crucial for proofing.
You’ll also see baskets, called bannetons, that are designed to do the same thing as a proofing box.
Is a Proofing Box Worth It?
If you’re new to bread baking and aren’t sure if you’re going to stick with it, I might hold off on a bread proofer. However, if you’ve kept a sourdough starter alive for a few weeks, or if you are committed to making bread, you’ll want to consider a proofer.
The good news is that most proofing boxes and baskets are affordable, so you don’t have to break the bank to bake the bread.
Why Do You Need a Box for Proofing Bread Dough?
Can you make bread without proofing boxes? Yes. Will you get the same results consistently? No.
You can add boiling water to a pan in the bottom of your oven, but then you’ve tied up your oven as a bread proofer.
When it comes time to preheat the oven to bake the bread, you have to remove the dough from the oven and risk over-proofing the dough. So unless you have a second oven, it’s way more convenient to use a bread proofer.
Proofing boxes maintain the perfect temperature and humidity level for that final bread rise.
How to Make a Proofing Box
If you don’t have a bread proofer, did you know you can make your own? All you need is hot water, a baking pan, a thermometer, and an enclosed space. I’ve found the oven to be the best place to proof, but you can make your own box if you choose.
To make your own bread proofer, follow these easy steps:
- In a cool oven, set a baking rack in the middle position and one in the bottom position.
- Bring 3 cups of water to a near boil, 200°F (93°C). You can do this on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- Cover the baking pan containing the dough with either a towel or plastic wrap. Place the pan on the center rack in this oven.
- Place a glass or metal baking dish on the bottom rack of the oven. Carefully pour in the almost boiling water. Close the oven door and allow the oven to warm and the steam to create humidity.
Place the thermometer in the proof box to check the temperature. The temperature should be between 75°-95°F (24-35°C).
Obviously, having a dedicated proofing box is a more preferable option. It frees up the oven for other uses and allows you to halt the proofing process by storing the dough in the fridge.
But if you don’t have one, that doesn’t have to stop you from baking delicious cinnamon rolls.
At a Glance
Proofing Box Reviews
Brod & Taylor Proofer and Slow Cooker: Best Overall Pick (Splurge)
The Brod & Taylor Folding Proofer brings the professional kitchen to home bakers with accurate temperature and consistent results.
The inside dimensions measure 14.75 x 12.5 x 8 inches (37 x 32 x 20 cm), large enough to hold two loaf pans or one proofing bowl. It comes with a rack and water tray.
This appliance has an impressive versatility. Not only can it proof dough, but it also has a slow cooker mode to make delicious one-pot meals using your own Dutch oven or pot.
The slow cooker mode is great for making yogurt, sous vide, tempering chocolate, and making a wide variety of probiotic foods like soft cheeses, cultured butter, kombucha, tempeh, and kefir.
Not only that, but this proofer and slow cooker can maintain the perfect temperature and humidity for your sourdough starter when the weather turns cold.
Sourdough starters don’t thrive as well at “room” temperature in the winter. But the Brod & Taylor proofer will keep your starter nice and active during those colder and drier months.
The proofer mode has a temperature range of 70°-120°F (21°-49°C), while the slow cooker mode goes from 85°-195°F (30°-90°C). Simply touch a button to switch between the two modes.
And what’s even better? The Brod & Taylor Proofing Box folds flat for storage, so you don’t have to clog up your cabinets with yet another bulky appliance.
Customers had rave reviews for the Brod & Taylor Folding Proofer & Slow Cooker. They loved the space-saving design, the multiple functions, and the perfect dough rise they achieved with the proofer.
They confirmed that this unit maintains the perfect temperature and humidity for sourdough, as well as other types of bread. This is just what an ambitious bread baker needs.
And if you enjoy making yogurt? Buyers confirmed that the slow cooker is fantastic at creating delicious yogurt.
Some customers wished this unit came with a timer, but you can easily set a timer on a phone or another appliance.
Even though this is the best overall pick, it is a splurge. The Brod & Taylor proofing box and the slow cooker will set you back more than the other proofing boxes on this list.
However, the quality and sheer amount of use you can get out of this proofer might make it worth the extra cost.
- Easily fits two loaf pans
- Slow cooker and proofer modes
- Highly versatile
- Great for homemade yogurt
- Ideal for sourdough starters in the winter
- Saves time
- Folds flat, space-saving design
- Doesn’t include timer
GSM Brands Pizza Dough Proofing Box: Runner-Up Pick
The GSM Pizza Dough Proofing Box set comes with two generously-sized boxes. The dimensions are 17.25 by 13 inches (44 x 33 cm), large enough to accommodate all types of bread dough.
Each box includes a cover to prevent moisture from escaping, while the stackable design means you can save space in the cabinets.
The covers do not seal shut, which bothered some buyers. But that’s by design to let the air out but not in.
The boxes are constructed with BPA-free plastic that’s completely safe for food products. When you aren’t using proofing bread, you can easily use these containers to store fruits and veggies in the fridge.
Buyers found the GSM proofing boxes to be easy to clean. They’re dishwasher-safe for convenience.
However, multiple customers scratched their boxes with metal utensils or abrasive scrubbers. Stick to non-abrasive sponges and silicone spatulas to avoid scratching.
This proofing box set is expensive, but if you want a box that’s durable, ample in size, and versatile, this GSM box is it.
- Generous size
- Includes a lid for each tray
- Stackable for easy storage
- Made from food-grade BPA-free plastic
- Easy to clean
- Easy to scratch
- Lid doesn’t snap shut
Chef Pomodoro Pizza Dough Proofing Box: Best for Pizza Dough
Calling all pizza makers! The Chef Pomodoro Pizza Dough Proofing Box is designed with you in mind. The proofing box dimensions are 14 by 11 inches (36×28 cm), large enough to mass ferment 4-6 dough balls for 12-inch (30 cm) thin-crust pizzas.
It’s also 3 inches deep (7.6 cm), so the dough can rise without touching the top.
The Chef Pomodoro proofing box comes with an airtight lid that snaps into place to secure the best environment for your dough. Carefully control and monitor the temperature and humidity level with the see-through box.
The lid also features a convenient carry handle, which is perfect for traveling or camping. And since the lid snaps shut, you can transport your dough safely and securely.
This box is stackable, as well, so it takes up less space in the refrigerator or in the cabinet when not in use.
The Chef Pomodoro proofing box was popular among pizza makers. They had plenty of space for a batch of dough balls. Customers also enjoyed the carrying handle.
Several did say their boxes were not air-tight, after all. Multiple people mentioned a crust forming on their dough after a long proof. I would recommend this for a shorter proof.
While many buyers were happy with the Chef Pomodoro box, it may not provide the value some are looking for. The price per unit is rather high. But the snapping lid and carrying handle might push it over the edge for some.
- Lid snaps into place
- Convenient carry handle
- Transparent plastic for monitoring
- Some customers said it wasn’t air-tight
Superbaking Banneton Bread Proofing Basket Set: Best for Artisan Breads
If you’re into making artisan bread or sourdough bread, you’ll love this Superbaking Banneton Basket Set. The basket comes in one of five fun shapes, including round, heart, oval, pentagon, and square.
The eco-friendly, handmade rattan basket is free of chemicals and completely smooth for a splinter-free finish.
The banneton bread proofing basket also includes a scoring lame, a dough whisk, plastic cleaning brush, metal scraper, plastic scraper, and five metal blades with a faux leather cover.
Buyers were thrilled with the Superbaking Banneton. They had fantastic results with artisan sourdough loaves. They also found the bowl easy to clean, even though it’s hand-wash only.
Several customers did complain that they didn’t receive the accessories with the banneton. Although this proofing basket is still a great value, even without the accessories, it’s supposed to come with the whisk, brushes, and blades.
While most people said the Superbaking basket smelled fine, others complained of a bad odor at first. I recommend wiping down the basket with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar. Sprinkle it with baking soda and let it dry completely, ideally in full sunlight.
- Comes in 5 different shapes
- Handmade rattan basket with cover
- Includes accessories
- Great for sourdough, artisan breads
- Easy to clean
- Some were missing accessories
- Reports of an odor to the basket
Pitch Pulse Bread Proofing Basket Set: Best Basket Set
If you want versatility in the types of loaves you prepare, you might consider the Pitch Pulse Bread Proofing Basket Set. It comes with two bread proofer baskets, a bread lame with replacement blades, whisk, two liners, and a dough scraper.
I like that this set comes with both an oval and a round basket. That allows home bakers the flexibility to choose between a sandwich loaf and an artisan loaf. If you bake more than one type of bread dough, this is a great option.
These bread-proofing baskets are made of rattan and are non-stick and breathable. They’re also designed to hold the shape of the loaf and wick moisture away from the loaf for a crispier crust.
These bannetons are easy to clean. Simply wipe clean with a wet cloth and a soft scrub brush, if needed.
Buyers gave glowing reviews to the Pitch Pulse Bread Proofing Basket Set. They liked how the dough rises in the basket, and they were pleased with the performance of the whisk.
You might have trouble with the dough sticking after the folds. In this case, you can sprinkle flour in the bowl after each fold before returning the bread dough to the bowl.
There were a couple of isolated reports of cracking and splintering. This is an unfortunate possibility with anything rattan, but this problem plagued a tiny percentage of buyers.
If you enjoy baking loaves and sourdough bread, this nifty set might be what you’re looking for.
- Includes two bannetons
- Comes with a whisk and scraper
- Quality rattan construction
- Easy to clean
- Isolated complaints of splinters
Tescoma Dough Rising Bowl: Best Time Saver
Last but not least is the Tescoma Dough Rising Bowl. This bowl is designed to speed up the proofing process for yeast dough while delivering optimal results.
The widest circumference is 10 inches (26 cm), but it narrows toward the bottom.
Mixing the ingredients is as easy as shaking the closed bowl. The airtight lid and gel warmer can keep the ideal temperature and humidity to help the dough rise quickly.
You can put the gel warmer in the microwave before placing it under the proofer. When the dough has risen, watch as the lid on the bowl becomes visibly bulged, signaling that the proofing process is complete.
After you proof the dough, you can put the stand and the bowl in the dishwasher. However, the gel warmer and lid are hand-wash only.
Buyers liked this proofer for bread and small batches of dough. They liked the gel pack to keep the dough warm, as well. Most put the pack in the microwave for a minute to reach the right temperature.
Customers confirmed that this proofer saves time. Most were able to cut their time significantly when compared with letting the dough rise at room temp.
A few buyers did have issues with the gel pack either being pierced or exploding. The gel packs work well, but they might not last as long as other options.
This proofer is a little on the pricier side considering what you get, but if saving time is of utmost importance to you, this might be the best pick for you.
- Easy to clean
- Saves time
- Easy to clean
- Easy to use
- Smaller capacity
- Gel pack is fragile
The Best Bread Proofer: Final Thoughts
If you’ve got the room and the extra cash to spend, I highly recommend the Brod & Taylor Folding Proofer. Otherwise, I’d go with a more affordable option.