Retarder Proover (Proofer) issues. Yeast Raised Donuts

Joined Feb 14, 2021
I make donuts, yeast-raised brioche with about 18-hour cold fermentation and 4 hour proof in the retarder proofer. I feel I have it all timed well with the proofing because the product is great when first fried, however about 3/4 of the way through the batch the product becomes over-proofed. For example, if I'm proofing & frying 500 donuts the last 125 will start to really deteriorate quickly. When the proofing is finished it cools down on a preservation cycle to about 19 degrees celsius by the time I get to the last 125 donuts about 1 hour & 1/2 has passed and this is when they fail, should I reduce the temp even more to preserve the donuts? they do dry out a bit when it's cooler too.

any advice or help would be appreciated.




Kitchen Dork
Joined Jun 15, 2006
The first thing I would try is holding back the last third of the batch in cold fermentation, then moving them to the proofer later. You would know best on the timing of course, in that you could keep frying with no interruption. For instance, if you move 2/3rds of the batch into the proofer and start frying when they are fully proofed, that would be the time to move the last 3rd in, so hopefully by the time you get to them they are perfectly proofed. I've played that game many times with huge batches of bread and limited oven space.
Joined Nov 9, 2020
CP is spot on - in my donut days we used to do 10+ gross raised a shift (by hand!) and even though we were running double fryers the first third we cut would go into the "cold proofer" (a proof box with a cooler element above instead of a heating element below - I think our owner built it out of a broken proof box and a dorm fridge :emoji_laughing:) , when the first third were done we'd pull remaining "cold racks" from the reach in to the proof box. Kept us from having saggy, soggy overproofed product and even if we had to pause for the last third to catch up to us (usually we'd use the time cranking crullers or cakes) it was worth the wait.

Those "machine donut guys" had nothing on us.
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