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I'm thinking about making a proofing box for bread dough. I will need high humidity, and perhaps even a heating element to keep water vaporized. I'm wondering how something like shop-grade birch plywood would fare under those conditions, with or without a finish.

I may be able to finish the inside with polyurethane, since the food won't come into contact with it, but I don't want to wait a month to have the fumes finally cure out if I can find a better solution.

My other option is a wood frame and plexiglass body, but that won't look nearly as nice. Are there any good options for humidity resistance for an application like this? Solid oak perhaps?

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    As a former Professional bread baker i can tell you that you will get much higher quality bread ( better flavor extraction from your flour ) by slow proofing in a cool place for longer time. – Alaska Man May 17 '17 at 19:56
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Solid wood would be a better choice here than plywood IMO. In addition to not having to worry about the adhesive used to bond the plywood (likely urea-formaldehyde or resorcinol glue) you'll have no concerns about the surface veneer being damaged or peeling off, ever, and you won't need to use a finish to ensure durability.

Solid oak perhaps?

Oak would probably work fine but you may want to use a close-grained wood in preference.

Beech, maple and birch would all be good options here if you want to go with a hardwood, and a quality pieces of softwoods such as SYP and Doug fir would be suitable as well.

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If you're going to use plywood I'd definitely look for a high-quality "marine grade" plywood.

If you want to use a solid wood frame go for a rot-resistant species like teak, ipe, black locust, osage orange, or cedar. White oak is moderately rot-resistant, so that's not a bad choice.

I'd also be careful what type of glue you use. Titebond 3 or a marine epoxy will be fine in a high-humidity environment.

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  • Thanks for the tip into marine-grade. I'll definitely keep that in mind for future projects. Cedar sounds wonderful (gorgeous wood), though I fear it might influence the taste of the bread, but what do I know. – Smack Jack May 16 '17 at 22:39

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