Regular ovens and toaster ovens can feature a myriad of functions. A few times, you might have heard about the bread proof setting and wondered what is bread proof setting on oven?
Well, it is as easy as it sounds, a bread proof setting in an oven is a feature that sets the yeast in the bread in motion, this is so it can rise, before it goes in the oven to bake.
In the past, proofing was done by covering tightly with a clean cloth and leaving the dough to sit for long minutes or even hours.
This would end up wasting a lot of time and meant that bread and other yeast product pastries could not be prepared for hours because of the time required to proof it.
The ovens bread proof setting aims to reduce the time it takes for the yeast to propagate.
In this article, we will discuss all about the proofing function in your oven, how to proof bread in your oven and the best method of proofing bread at home.
Also Read: How to Toast Bread in Toaster Oven?
What is Bread Proof Setting on Oven?
The bread proof setting is the oven setting that makes it possible to activate the yeast present in bread or other pastries with an oven. Ovens come with multiple functions and this is a very welcome addition.
A lot of people have setting on their appliances that they don’t know about or aren’t taking advantage of. The proof setting is one of them. Before you try to proof bread in an oven you must ensure that your oven has a proof setting. Most oven temperatures are between 70-115°F when the bread is proofing.
Hearing about this feature can be really exciting but as expected, not all oven types have this setting which means you cannot proof your dough in an oven without the proof setting, except you want to consider other methods.
Why Do We Need to Proof Bread?
Proofing is usually required for recipes that call for yeast. This is essentially a necessity for all yeast pastries and breads. It is very important to proof bread before baking because this is what would normally determine the texture of the bread or pastry after baking.
Proofing is the process of activating the yeast in a pastry or dough thereby giving it an opportunity to rise before baking.
Proofing is a very integral part of baking because most of the rising process in a dough usually happens during proofing.
3 things must be put in place before proofing can be effective
In the right temperature, the yeast is activated and a fermentation process begins causing the dough to increase in size.
Usually, not all yeast fermentation processes are called proofing, proofing is usually reserved for the fermentation process immediately before baking.
Also Read: Best Toaster Ovens for Baking
How To Use the Proof Setting?
For the ovens that have a dedicated settings for bread-proofing, you can use the following simple guide.
Step 1: Prepare the Dough
Depending on what you want to make, it might take a couple of minutes.
Some dough also require more kneading time than others. Also some recipes also recommend their kneading times. Ensure that your dough is properly kneaded.
Step 2: Put in a Pan
Once the dough is ready to proof, put in an oven safe pan.
Step 3: Put in the Oven and Proof
Move the pan into the oven and proof for about 15 minutes. Some ovens may automatically set the time for you.
15 minutes is only an average time. Depending on your type of dough, you might be required to wait a little longer or shorter.
Step 4: Take it Out / Bake
Take out your dough and bake. You an also knead your dough before baking.
What if Your Oven DOES NOT have Bread Proof Setting
Most ovens do not have a dedicated bread-proof setting that you can simply select.
If you do not have such settings, then you manually use the Boiling Water method for bread proofing.
The Boiling Water Method
This is as very simple method whereby you can create the ideal temperature and humidity of the yeast to activate.
To do this
- Take an oven proof pan and fill it with BOILING water (about 3 glasses)
- Place this boiling water filled pan in the bottom rack of your oven.
- Take and another oven proof pan and place your dough in it.
- Place the second pan in the middle rack.
- Close the oven door
- Turn the heat to 400 degree Fahrenheit for about a minute or so.
- Turn off the heat and let both pans sit inside the oven.
- The amount of time you let the dough sit inside would depend upon how much time is stipulated in your recipe
Make sure that no plastic cover or sheets are placed inside the oven when it is turned on in step 6.
An oven acts like dough proof box. Hence you don’t need a dedicated bread proof box or any over or any container.
Let the humidity and the temperature inside do the work.
Also Read: What is the broiler in the oven?
Is the Boiling Water Method the Same as the Auto Proof Setting?
Most times, people tend to mistake the proof setting for the boiling water method of proofing.
Obviously they are not the same as there are instances that the boiling water method might not work. Boiling temperature water is put on the lowest rack of the oven while the dough is put on an higher rack, the oven temperature is then set and the dough is left to proof for a few minutes
Boiling water in an oven to proof a batch of dough is only necessary If your oven doesn’t come with a bread proof setting.
The boiling water approach is a more rugged approach to the proofing process and might not necessarily all the time.
There are many variable like the speed at which your oven reaches a certain temperature, the size of your oven, how much humidity is achieved inside etc.
The dedicated proof setting in an oven is automatically design to create the most suitable environment using sensors. Some ovens even have humidity and temperature sensors to achieve the best environment.
Difference Between Manual Proofing and Oven Proof Setting
When an oven comes with a proof setting, you do not need to go through all the nitty gritty details of achieving perfection.
There is not need to boil the water, place the pans etc.
All you need to do is place the dough and turn the bread-proof setting on.
An oven proof setting is usually designed by the manufacturer of the oven, therefore there are specific instructions on how to use it. It does not require much guesswork as the controls are premeditated and already on the oven.
On the other hand, the boiling water method is usually used when there are no other options. If you didn’t know much about it before, exploring might not yield your desired results.
Manual methods like boiling water method, bread-proof box may not always be effective. This is especially true if you are new to baking.
On the other hand, if you use an oven proof setting, it will most likely work if you follow the manual.
In this article, we learnt about what is bread proof setting on oven. This setting is mostly found on modern ovens so if your oven does not have one you can consider other options to proof your dough and pastries.
Finally to check if your oven has a bread proof setting, simply check all the controls and their functions.
If you don’t find one that, expressly reads “proof”, your oven might not have one and you might have to consider other options.