I am opening a pizzeria in Southern California and would like to proof my dough at a measured 78 degrees so as to ensure consistency between batches. I have looked to buy a proofing cabinet in order to have the best control over the process, but noticed that most cabinets will heat to a certain temperature, not cool. Los Angeles weather can reach up to 105 degrees in the summer, and since most proofing units only have heating components, how would I bring the temperature down to 78 degrees inside the proofing cabinet when the outside ambient temperature is at 105? I have an air conditioning system for the day time, but use an overnight proofing method and would prefer to turn off AC during the night. Are there proofing cabinets that heat and cool to maintain a consistent temperature? I am new to baking and any help on this subject would be greatly appreciated.
Are you sure you really want to proof the dough that long even at 78F? For most of us this equates to proofing the dough (balls?) at room temperature and under these conditions a properly formulated dough will hold up for only about 5 to 6-hours before it will need to be re-balled. I’m not sure what you are trying to accomplish, but maybe placing the dough balls in the cooler for 24 to 72-hours or more might be a better solution. Even in the cooler a properly managed dough will continue to ferment but at a slower rate to give your dough great handling properties and the finished crust a great, fermented flavor. I have a copy of my Dough Management Procedure that is available here (I think in the Recipe Bank, as I just had it posted) If you cannot find it send me a personal e-mail at <firstname.lastname@example.org> requesting a copy. You can also e-mail Missy at <email@example.com> to find where it is located here on the PMQ site.
BTW: The reason for your confusion over the proofers and cooling is because they are used to proof fully formed dough (such as panned dough for deep-dish pizzas) allowing the dough to rise to a uniform/predetermined height before dressing and baking. This is normally done at temperatures of 90 to 105F with a relative humidity of 75 to 85% to keep the exposed dough from drying out during the proofing period which is usually between 40 and 75-minutes.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor