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Unless you make bread, you probably do not know how frustrating the process can be. Especially when you’re trying to get a ball of raw, yeasty dough to rise.

Fickle, the dough demands to be held at a comfortable 80 degrees — a climate not native to most kitchens, where the oven is too warm, the air is too chilled and that elusive happy medium just doesn’t seem to exist.

Temperature control during the rising process is key to baking sophisticated bread, and Michael Taylor of Williamstown was inspired by the sometimes-absurd lengths he and other home bakers would go to coddle their dough into coming out just right, a process known as proofing.

So the 50-year-old engineer invented, manufactured and brought to market a solution: A foldable bread proofer for the casual kitchen.

The initial spark came from what would become a prototype he built for his mother-in-law, who loved baking fresh loaves of bread, but lived in a cold, drafty house that made success a challenge.

“I actually made her, as gift for Christmas, a bread proofing box that folded up,” he said. “It had a light bulb inside. It was goofy. But she absolutely loved it.”

The final version of the device has been on the market for about a month and is already winning accolades from the home-baking community, members of which herald the gadget as a “game changer.”

Before the device was available, the next best alternative was small commercial-grade proofers that cost thousands of dollars.

By contrast, Taylor’s proofer can be bought on Amazon.com or directly from his own website for just under $150.

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Originally posted by Angela Shupe on November 15, 2011 in Inventions.

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