One of the biggest problems when it comes to making bread at home is managing cold temperatures during winter. The irony is that many people often catch the baking bug during the winter. Right when baking bread takes just a bit more planning.
Cold weather is a challenge because many recipes are written for average room temps, which more often than not means something between 68-78° F. And in my experience, I see most recipes written for the higher end of that scale. This primarily has to do with yeast more than anything. Over many years (I just read a book last night from the 1800’s) bakers have landed on 75-80° F being the sweet spot for yeast in bread making.
That said, there are a few things you can do to manage colder temperatures and still make great bread. One option is to find a sunny spot in your home and set your dough there to rise. I’ve had good luck doing this on top of my fridge or near a radiator. Another option is to heat up some water on the stove and set your bowl of dough near it (but not in it!). I like to put my bowl on top of a cookie sheet so I can easily move it.
That means, for many of us, winter just doesn’t give us the room temps we need to hit that mark. And, for many of us, the oven is the first thing we think of for help. But, can we use the oven to proof dough? The answer is yes! Even though an oven should not be turned on with dough inside, it is still an excellent location to proof bread dough. There are three commonly used methods for proofing in the oven that do not require turning on your oven.
The first method is to heat a cup of water in the microwave for 2 minutes. Then, place the bowl of water and the bowl or pan of dough on the lower rack of your oven. Close the door and let the dough rise until doubled in size.
The second method is to heat a baking stone or pizza stone in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Then, place the dough on the stone and close the door. The dough will rise quickly due to the warmth of the stone.
The third method is to fill a clean sink with very hot water (not boiling). Place your bowl or pan of dough in the sink and let it rise until doubled in size.
1. Placing a boiling pot of water in oven.
2. Turning an oven light on.
3. Placing a hot cast iron pan in oven.
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give much thought to the yeast in your kitchen. But if you’re a baker, this unassuming ingredient is essential to your success.
Yeast is a living organism, and like all living things, it has specific needs in order to thrive. One of the most important requirements for yeast is a warm environment.
However, if the temperature gets too high, yeast will die. This is why it’s important to avoid turning on your oven when you’re proofing dough.
While some ovens have a reliable proofing setting, it’s difficult to monitor the temperature accurately without a thermometer. And even if your oven does have a proofing setting, the temperature is often too high for optimal gluten development. For these reasons, we prefer to proof dough using one of the three methods below.
1. Using a Boiling Pot of Water
When it comes to proofing dough, there are a variety of methods that bakeries use. One popular method is to use a boiling pot of water. This method is very effective and has the benefit of adding moisture to your proofing period. Unless you find that you regularly have issues with too much moisture where you live, this is perfect for dough.
One thing to note when working with a pot of water for proofing is to not let the dough get too close to the pot of water. The water will be quite hot for a while, and the area closest to it will be much warmer than yeast can thrive in. Try leaving several inches between the two containers. If your oven has the room, placing the dough and water on separate racks would be ideal. By using this method, you’ll be able to get perfectly proofed dough every time.
If you’re proofing for an extended period of time, you may need to refresh the boiling water every 40 minutes to an hour. This is dependent on a number of factors, including how cold your house is, how efficient your oven is at trapping heat, and how much water you’re using. If you’re only making sandwich loaves that take an hour to rise, you’ll only need one pot of water.
The amount of water you use will make a difference in how long the oven will stay warm. Larger pots of water will retain heat for longer. This has to do with the laws of energy. By using more water, you’re essentially increasing the mass of the system, which makes it harder for heat to escape. So, if you’re looking to keep your oven warm for as long as possible, make sure to use a large pot of boiling water.
Understanding how heat affects bread dough is crucial for bakers of all levels. While many people focus on the role of heat in the baking process, it is also important to consider how it affects the dough during proofing.
According to experts, the ideal proofing temperature is between 80 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if the dough is Proofing for a longer period of time, it is important to ensure that the temperature does not rise above 120 degrees, as this can negatively impact the finished bread. Fortunately, if the oven does get too warm, it is relatively easy to cool it down by leaving the door open for a few minutes. By taking these factors into account, bakers can create bread that is both delicious and evenly baked.
2. Using An Oven Light
If you’re looking for an easy and effective way to keep your bread dough at a consistent temperature, then using an oven light is a great option. Unlike other methods, such as using boiling water, there’s no need to refresh anything – simply keeping the light on will do the job. It’s surprising how well it works, too. Almost seems like it was designed to work that way.
Of course, there are some drawbacks to using an oven light. For one, it can take a long time for the oven to warm up – we find that it can take upwards of an hour to reach the optimal proofing temperature. Additionally, if you’re someone who bakes a lot, using your oven light might not be the most economical or practical option. However, if you’re looking for an easy and effective way to keep your bread dough at a consistent temperature, then using an oven light is certainly worth considering.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with a professional baker about ovens and their efficiency in the wintertime.
They told me that many people struggle with this issue, regardless of the model of oven that they have. They also said that it is more difficult to bake in a large oven because the heat has a harder time circulating. I found this information to be very helpful in understanding why my oven has been struggling lately.
Armed with this new knowledge, I am now confident that I can take steps to improve the situation. I encourage other people who are having this issue to speak with a professional baker or research the topic further so that they can find a solution that works for them.
Using a Cast Iron Pan
For many people, the thought of making homemade bread can be daunting. There are so many different methods and techniques, and it can be hard to know where to start.
However, one of the simplest and most effective ways to make delicious bread is to use a cast iron pan. This method is similar to the pot of water method, but it takes less time to bring the pan to temperature. In addition, it is much faster than the light method at getting to temp.
However, it does lack the longevity of the light method and the moisture of the water method. Nevertheless, this is an excellent way to get started with making homemade bread. Simply put a cast iron pan over high heat for a few minutes before placing it in an oven. If it starts smoking it is more than hot enough to use, but it is best to stop it before smoking happens.
No worries if it does smoke, just let it cool long enough so that the smoking stops (your dough will absorb the smoke otherwise) before placing it in the oven. We like to put it on the bottom rack as far away from our dough as our oven allows. With this simple method, you can easily bake delicious bread right in your own kitchen.
There are many factors to consider when baking bread, and one of the most important is ensuring that the dough has enough time to rise. This process, known as proofing, allows the yeast to activate and produce carbon dioxide gas, which gives the bread its characteristic texture and flavor. There are several methods for proofing dough, but one of the simplest is to place it in a warm oven.
When using this method, it is important to monitor the temperature carefully. If the oven is too hot, the yeast will become too active and produce too much gas, resulting in a crumb that is too light and airy. Conversely, if the oven is not hot enough, the yeast will not be able to produce enough gas, resulting in a denser, harder loaf. The ideal temperature for proofing dough is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once the dough has been placed in the oven, it is important to check on it regularly to ensure that it is not getting too hot or rising too quickly. If either of these occurs, simply open the oven door for a few minutes to let some heat escape. With a little practice, you will be able to achieve consistent results using this method.
Every photographer is different, and there are a lot of factors that go into how long a photo shoot will take.
The number of people being photographed, the location, the type of photos being taken, and the desired end result all play a role in determining the length of the shoot. That said, most professional photographers typically schedule an hour or two for a standard photo shoot. This allows enough time to get a variety of shots without rushing or feeling rushed. Of course, some shoots may run shorter or longer than this, but it’s a good general guideline to keep in mind. So, when you’re planning your first photo shoot, plan on setting aside an hour or two to get the best results.
Simple Alternatives to the Oven
Microwave: If you’re looking for a way to speed up the dough-proofing process, the microwave is an excellent choice. Its smaller size means it retains heat better than a traditional oven, and it’s much easier to find a spot for in your kitchen. The main downside of microwaves is their size; if you’re making large batches of dough, they might not all fit. But if you’ve checked the dimensions and are confident your dough will fit, then proofing in the microwave is a great option. Simply place a warm, damp towel over the top of the bowl and leave it in the microwave. If you’re proofing for longer periods of time, you’ll need to refresh the towel occasionally. With this method, you can have perfectly proofed dough in a fraction of the time!
Proofing Box: A proofing box is a simply a heated chamber that bread dough is placed inside to help the yeast grow more quickly. This results in a faster rise time, which is often necessary when baking breads with a tight schedule. While you can proof bread without a proofing box, it will take significantly longer and may not produce as good of results. If you are serious about baking bread on a regular basis, then a proofing box is worth the investment. You can find them relatively cheaply on sale online, and they will save you time and effort in the long run. Plus, there’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread wafting through your kitchen.