Letting Dough Rise

  • countrygoalie 12 years ago
    I currently use a bread machine due to time constraints, but I would like to make a loaf by hand every once in a while when I do have the time. In the summer, we have an old room off of our attic that gets just the right temperature for letting the dough rise, but otherwise I am at a loss as to where to let it rise, as we have a rather an old farmhouse that gets rather cool in the winter. I have tried our oven set on "warm", but that is too warm.

    Do you have any tips or tricks on letting dough rise?
  • mdessy 12 years ago said:
    During colder months I have had success with heating a cup of water for 2 minutes in the microwave and then putting my bowl of dough in there to proof. It provides a nice moist warm insulated environment. HTH
  • biscuitgirl 12 years ago said:
    I have turned the oven on to the lowest setting then set the covered bowl of dough on top of the stove near (but not up against) the vents.

    I also recently discovered that the halogen under the counter lights we have also provide a nice place for letting dough rise. Place the bowl about 8-12 inches below the lights and it should rise nicely.
  • heidih 12 years ago said:
    I preheat my oven at 400 for 60 seconds - shut it off and put my dough in. I have had very good results with this method.
  • 240brick 12 years ago said:
    I\'ve had success with the warm water bowl in the microwave method. But if I\'m preparing other things, and I know I\'ll need to use the microwave, I\'ll put the dough on top of my refrigerator (the bowl is covered in plastic wrap).

    The back of my fridge is against the wall, so I put the bowl toward the back. There\'s always a warm, gentle draft from the fridge.
  • srabb 12 years ago said:
    i use a bowl of warm water in the oven with just the pilot light on. It's amazing the environment you create with that!
  • bluechillies 11 years ago said:
    I read on the cooks illustrated site that you can proof your dough in the microwave by putting 2-3 cups of water in micro-safe containers and then putting your bread in the center covered with plastic wrap for 20 minutes on the lowest setting.

    I use a friends recipe to proof that calls for the microwave. She tells us to put 1-2 cups of water in the corners of the microwave and the dough in the middle covered with plastic. Then do 3 minutes on Low, let rest 3 minutes, then 3 more minutes on low and let set until double size.
    The you shape and let rise normally the second time. I've had great success with this when I've been pressed for time. =)
  • staceyfish 11 years ago said:
    The method I've had the best result with actually takes advantage of cool temperatures. If you decrease the amount of yeast and lengthen the rising time you'll get excellent results. My current favorite method is to use 1/4 teaspoon for every six cups of flour (yes, this is enough yeast to raise two loaves!) and increase the amount of sweetener by about two teaspoons. Let the dough rise in a cool place (about 55-60 degrees) for 20-24 hours, deflating and re-rounding the dough every 8 hours or so. Shape and proof for about two hours, and then put your bread in the oven! It may need about 15 minutes longer to cook to doneness.

    I never used to get oven spring with standard rising times, temperature, and yeast (about four hours, 75 degrees, 2 teaspoons), but with this method I get wonderfully high, light, and flavorful bread -- with whole-wheat flour too!

    If you want to try it out, here's a detailed recipe for the method. If you're interested in a bigger variety of temperature-yeast-time variations, Laurel's Bread Book details several different strategies.
  • staceyfish 11 years ago said:
    Oops, they stripped out my links that were supposed to give more details:
    Here's the recipe I mentioned that uses the long-rise method: http://www.grouprecipes.com/9557/basic-whole-wheat-bread.html
    Here's a link for Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book: http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?inkey=2-9780812969672-0

    Good luck!
  • lisapa 11 years ago said:
    Just a note on what staceyfish said. You don't need to add more sweetener to slow-rise bread--there are enough sugars in the flour for the yeast to feed on. In warm months, you can do the slow-rise method by leaving your dough overnight in the refrigerator. Just let it come to room temperature for about an hour before you put it in the oven. There are a lot of fans of bread made this way--without going into the chemistry of it, there's a lot more flavor in bread made with less yeast.

    If I were doing the quick rise method, I would turn on the oven for a few seconds and then turn it off and put the dough in. Some people also find that the pilot light (gas) or oven light (electric) put out just enough heat without turning the oven on. Also, you can wrap a towel or hot water bottle around the bowl to retain heat.
  • trigger 11 years ago said:
    To make the optimal bread you need to have popper rising conditions. You need to have the final dough temperature at 78 degrees F when you remove it from the mixer. In order to do that you need to start by taking the room temperature, the flour temperature and the friction factor of your mixer.
    You then have to make the adjustment by either cooling or heating the water used in the recipe.
    Weighing every ingredient with an accurate scale is essential too for professional results.

    There is a lot to making bread I would suggest the book" BREAD "it is easy to follow.

  • deedeec 11 years ago said:
    I've never tried the microwave method. I don't know why I never thought of it. I often nuke a cup of water for 2 minutes then put warmed rolls or dishes that have finished cooking that I'm not ready to serve yet in the micro to "keep" for a half hour till the rest of my meal preparations are done.

    I have done the oven trick. Heat 350 for 60 seconds and shut off. Stick the dough in and let it rise.

  • whuebl 11 years ago said:
    The first question... what kind of dough? Sourdough typically rises at a lower temperature than something like using quick rising yeasts in those packets. So I use several methods, including the fridge, to rise dough:
    1. For sourdough, one of the risings is in the fridge... the last rise is out on the counter and that can take quite a while because we keep our home under 70. But that is ok because the sourness increases more at lower temperatures.
    2. For a Poolish or Biga with little or no sourdough component, I heat the oven to 170 and turn it off. Then I put the bowl with a damp towel on it in the oven and in an hour or so the dough at least doubles.
    3. For fast rise yeast doughs, I take a large pan of hot water (140F) and put a sheet pan on top of it. I put the bowl of dough on top of that with a large towel draped over everything like a tent.

    And i posted a recipe yesterday for a wonderful coarse bread: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/6873/no-knead-first-attempt (at the very bottom of the postings)
  • earthwatersunwind 11 years ago said:
    For a fast rise (not really recommended for artisan breads) or if you need to leave the house, I leave mine on a heating pad set to low. Works perfectly.
  • deedeec 11 years ago said:
    I never would have thought of that! Very clever.
  • dutchie326 10 years ago said:
    Some really great ideas here.
  • pollymotzko 10 years ago said:
    There are some great ideas here like "dutchie326" said. The next time I bake bread...I'll be trying that.
    I usually just put a clean towel (only used for bread baking) on top of the rising loaf. It keep drafts from getting near it & I've found it works pretty good.

    Polly Motzko

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