What is Intermediate Proofing?
Intermediate proofing is a short rest period between dough dividing and the final sheeting/ moulding. The length of the intermediate proofing time is dependent upon the ability of the dough to relax after dividing. This way, the dough will not be tight and rubbery, and will easily go through the molder sheeting rollers without tearing. The intermediate proof time can be used to influence the final bread cell structure and can take up to 15 minutes. The intermediate proofing allows the yeast to generate carbon dioxide gas, and therefore, a longer intermediate proof time is critical to make a product like French baguette that has an open cell structure.
The changes in dough properties during this period is not only influenced by time but also by other factors, like reducing agents or proteolytic enzymes that have been used to improve dough extensibility. In many plants, the intermediate proofing time is deliberately shortened by the use of these ingredients.
The pocket-type proofer is the most commonly used proofer in commercial baking. Dough balls are transferred onto pockets for the entirety of the resting period. The pockets are then held in frames which are in turn fixed between two chains which carry the swings around the proofing cabinet from charging to discharging stations. A turnover device is incorporated to let the dough piece roll from one pocket to another, temporarily emptying the pocket to dry in case the dough piece sticks to the pocket. The proofer air should be conditioned to prevent skinning or sticking problems, especially when proofing times are long and the water content of the dough is high.