I bake bread. Mostly I make sourdough, which owes to the starter culture for which I provide husbandry, of a sort. An interesting economy in flour has developed as the result of this in that nearly every weekday morning I make sourdough pancakes from the ferment that’s occurred in the prior 24 hours (and consume them with poached duck eggs laid in the same time). On the weekends, however, I prefer to direct my culture’s energy into leavening loaves or rolls which, with increasing facility in the craft, necessitated a proofing chamber to provide greater certainty in rising times, condition of the dough and, ultimately, quality of the end product.
In searching for proofing chambers, I discovered that minimally viable models are primarily designed for professional bakers and cost more than a thousand dollars—used. In spite of this latent need in the market, I found a good use for our old Yakima bike rack, 2×2’s from an earlier carpentry project, a lamp from the early ‘90s, obsessively collected old screws, a recycled 16oz aluminum can formerly containing tomatoes (I think), duct tape, hinges from a piece of Ike(cr)a(p) that fell apart without provocation, and a scavenged roll of BoPET from NASA-Ames that somehow landed in a shed at the Stanford Community Farm. In other words, I hacked a proofing chamber that maintains an internal environment of 80°F and about 70% relative humidity, for less than $2.00 in direct costs: