Slow proving or mass proving

Dough container for mass proving

The slow proving /mass proving bread making process are developing in bakeries over the last few years.  Although this technique disrupts the methodology of the baking process, it drastically improves the taste and interior visual of the bread.  So what is the slow proving and why should man adopt it?

Method A Method B Method C Method D
Usual steps for the bread preparation Steps with slow proving in tubs method Steps with slow proving on trays and divider moulder Steps with slow proving in tubs and line type Mérand RheoPan ​
Kneading Kneading Kneading Kneading
Rest in mass  
Duration : 2 to 3h~
Temperature : ambient
Slow proving in tubs in retarder proving chamber
Duration : from15 to 48h*
Temperature : from 2 to 4°C*
Slow proving on trays in retarder proving chamber
Duration : from 8 to 10h/48h*
Temperature : from 2 to 4°C*
Slow proving in tubs in retarder proving chamber
Duration : from 15 to 48h*
Temperature : from 2 to 4°C*
Dividing Dividing Dividing with divider shaper like Mérand Atoutpain Passing through line Rheopan (Dividing, weighing, moulding) 
1500 pieces/h
Rest in intermediate proofer
Duration : from 15 to 30mn~
Temperature : ambient
Rest in intermediate proofer or boards
Duration : 15 à 30mn~
Temperature : ambient
Scoring and baking Preparation
Duration : from 45mn to 1h30~*
Temperature : ambient
Moulding Moulding Remove from the oven Scoring and baking
Retarder proving in cabinet/chamber or tunnel
Duration : 18h ~
Temperature : from -5 to 22°C according to the phase
Duration : 1h ~
Temperature : ambient
- Remove from the oven
Duration : 1h30 ~
Temperature : ambient
Scoring and baking - -
Scoring and baking Remove from the oven - -
Remove from the oven - - -

* Depending on the dose of yeast


It is noted that depending on the method used the number of steps varies.

Method A: Traditional method for the preparation of bread. It is the benchmark that will allow us to establish a comparison.

Method B: We see that the number of steps is similar to the traditional bread making process. The dough pieces are divided after the slow retarder proving phase. It is therefore possible to stagger the baking on the day by gradually getting out the tubs at different times and thus adapt its work-flow. The organization can be reviewed and adapted to the schedules of the work teams. It is now possible to knead in the afternoon, making it last all night and be ready to bake the following morning. 

Method C: In Method C, the rest step in retarder proving equipment is advanced and replaces the slow proving in intermediate proofers. Shaping and preparation steps also disappear. With these disappearing steps a double gain occurs. It is no longer necessary to invest in an intermediate proofer.  The time dedicated to handling loading / unloading and shaping is no longer required.  Again, the dough pieces are divided after the slow proving phase. It is therefore possible to stagger the baking on the day by gradually getting out the dough containers at different times. 

Method D: This method is rather designed for large production volumes. Through a line type Mérand Rhéopan (1500 pieces / h), weighing and shaping are done simultaneously, creating a win at this stage. The preparation step remains necessary.

It is important to remember that you can store much more dough on a trolley for tubs than on a trolley for grids of a similar size.

Trolley 600x800 – 20 levels Trolley for tubs 600x800 – 36 tubs
Capacity per level: 12 baguettes of 350g Capacity per tub: 5,5 kg of dough
20 levels = 12x20 = 240 baguettes / trolley 36 tubs = 198 kg of dough / trolley
So 240x0,35 = 84 kg of dough 198/0,35 = 565 baguettes / trolley

A trolley for tubs is equivalent to more than 2 trolleys for grids.

With the slow proving in tubs, you save space and money because you no longer need the intermediate proofer, and your retarder proving chamber/tunnel takes up half surface!​


In taste, the slow proving in tubs accepts a higher hydration level, so it provides the best results as the bread has a more developed aroma. It is more tasty and crisp. This system offers improved storage life. The crumb is more airy with an alveolate structure than the traditional method.


Some tips to get the best out of this proven method:

  • Remember that the length of kneading has an impact on the mass proving.  Storage in tubs requires you to ensure the internal dough temperature (23 ° C maximum) at the exit of kneading.  Indeed, in dough containers, the core temperature takes more time to drop. If it is too high, you take a risk of a starting premature proving affecting the core of the dough.
  • To avoid crust formation, sometimes it is recommended to cover the tubs with a lid or plastic food wrap that does not touch the dough. With Hengel retarder proving equipment, this precaution is not necessary because the cold is distributed homogeneously.
  • For a crisper crust, bake with a temperature oven slightly higher (260 °C) and with a lot of steam.


Hengel offers you a retarder prover cabinets, cold rooms, retarder proving chamber and tunnels perfectly suited to these new production techniques. Do not hesitate to contact us. 

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Dough tubs for slow proving
Divider shaper Mérand Atoutpain
Trolley for tubs
Slow proving on trays
Result of the slow proving on trays method: airy crumb and tasty bread