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 doesnâ€™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, Taylorâ€™s proofer can be bought on Amazon.com or directly from his own website for just under $150.