Dramatic developments in both technology and consistency of results have encouraged bakers to embrace the world of retarder provers and the benefits they can bring, according to manufacturer Williams Refrigeration.

The firm explains that the latest models on the market use sophisticated controllers and refrigeration advances for the production of almost any kind of baked good in any situation. "This has lent itself to more flexible production runs, the ability to plan for potential production bottlenecks, faster overall production, lower production costs and, above all, improved quality of product," says the firm. "Retarder provers should have an adjustable airflow pattern, checked and adjusted at the time of commissioning, suiting layout changes to suit the working environment and production requirements of the baker. For perfect results, the airflow should be as gentle as possible and not directed straight at the product," it adds.

The firm’s recently launched DoughMaster controller has introduced an energy-saving ’economy mode’ to its Modular range of retarder provers. As well as regulating the steam generation, it calculates what exact inlet is required, thus only supplying this amount and dramatically reducing lost energy.

Lillnord’s Flexbaker now offers bakers a unique freezing and proving system, which allows them to store ready-proven dough pieces for up to 10 hours on standby, without detrimental effects on the bread quality, according to Norbake sole agent for Lillnord in the UK. "Lillnord, in co-operation with European bakeries and raw material specialists, has succeeded in creating a sequence that will handle the entire process from start to end, with no need to move the racks from a freezer to a storage chamber and then, finally, to a recovery unit," says Norbake. The key advantages of the Flexbaker, says the firm, are that only a single chamber is needed for six different processes, the development process of the dough results in an intensified taste and aroma, and the equipment is flexible. The Flexbaker also features a vertically and horizontally controlled airflow system, ensuring a perfect climate for all products made with yeast.

Netherlands-based manufacturer Koma supplies chillers and refrigeration units to bakeries of all sizes. Sales manager Richard Lyon says retarder provers are a big thing for bakers, as they help give them a better quality of life through friendlier shift patterns, and make their production more efficient. All equipment supplied by Koma comes fitted with modems, which enable 24-hour remote monitoring of the equipment through the firm’s TeleGuard system. Its SunRiser retarder prover can operate at temperatures between -20C to -40C, with adjustable humidity in 1% steps up to 99%. It has specially designed evaporators, with a large surface area to give maximum airflow capacity. Its fully automatic retarder prover, Populair, is a plug-in system, more suitable for bakeries with space constraints. It features an evaporator system, exclusively designed for Koma, which ensures ideal evaporator surfaces and avoids quick icing-up, says the firm. Both systems feature the TeleGuard monitoring system.

Keith Stalker, MD, European Process Plant (EPP) says that as proving is fundamental to the quality of baked products, refrigeration, freezing technology and air conditioning systems have come to play a key role in the modern baking industry. EPP supplies dough retarding and proving systems from German manufacturer MIWE, including the firm’s GVA model. These can cope with production requirements from a few trays up to 200 or more racks, and have the necessary components to meet any temperature range required, says the firm.

With the ability to give bakers more control of the production process, prepare dough in advance and produce a consistent proof time after time, it’s no wonder retarder provers are fast becoming one of the baker’s best friends.