We present a general approach for probing the kinetics of specific molecular processes in proteins by time-resolved Fourier transform infrared (IR) spectroscopy. Using bacteriorhodopsin (bR) as a model we demonstrate that by appropriately monitoring some selected IR bands it is possible obtaining the kinetics of the most important events occurring in the photocycle, namely changes in the chromophore and the protein backbone conformation, and changes in the protonation state of the key residues implicated in the proton transfers. Besides confirming widely accepted views of the bR photocycle, our analysis also sheds light into some disputed issues: the degree of retinal torsion in the L intermediate to respect the ground state; the possibility of a proton transfer from Asp85 to Asp212; the relationship between the protonation/deprotonation of Asp85 and the proton release complex; and the timing of the protein backbone dynamics. By providing a direct way to estimate the kinetics of photocycle intermediates the present approach opens new prospects for a robust quantitative kinetic analysis of the bR photocycle, which could also benefit the study of other proteins involved in photosynthesis, in phototaxis, or in respiratory chains. © 2011 American Chemical Society.