When starting a bakery business, many people wrongly believe that a mixer and a large enough oven are the only pieces of equipment needed. However, between mixing up the dough and baking, there are a variety of other steps that you need to take in order to achieve a deliciously good final result. And often, one such step is retarding.
Retarding means cooling the dough in order to slow down the leavening (the rising) process. This step is needed for a variety of reasons. For one, retarding the dough can enhance certain properties of the final product. In fact, it’s what gives the dough the crunchy crust we love so much. What’s more, because the fermentation takes much slower, the yeast has time to produce more lactic and acetic acids, which gives the dough a boost in flavour. With that being said, if you plan on producing baguettes, ciabatta, sourdough, pizza and other tasty and crunchy pastries, you should consider investing in a really good retarder cabinet.
Another benefit of having a retarder cabinet is that it allows you to delay the baking time to optimize your schedule. The retarder works similarly to a refrigerator, allowing you to store the fermented dough for hours and days, even throughout the weekend. And this is very convenient for someone in the food business. You can mix up and mould batches of dough, leave them to retard over the night and then bring them out for baking the next morning. As a result, you don’t have to come in the wee hours to begin mixing and moulding, and your customers can always have freshly baked products available.
A retarder cabinet often comes in combination with a proofer, allowing you to efficiently accomplish two steps with one machine. Investing in a retarder/proofer cabinet can save you valuable floor space which you can use to increase the mobility in the workplace or to fit additional equipment. In order to proof the dough, you can turn up the heat and the humidity in the cabinet. Most proofers allow you to pick a specific setting – humidity between 85% and 98%, and the temperature between 28oC and 49oC, depending on your needs. After proofing, you can turn on the retarder to slow down the fermentation rate of the dough so that it can remain stable for hours or days.
When it comes to choosing a retarder/proofer cabinet, it’s recommended to look for one that doesn’t have any filters. Filters can be a nightmare to maintain and can slow down your operations. And in order to reduce the risk of workplace injuries, make sure that the cabinet doesn’t have any exposed moving parts or fans and doesn’t get hot on the outside.