Baking bread is something that many people enjoy simply because there is a certain amount of satisfaction that comes from seeing the bread rise and turn into a soft and lovely loaf of bread that you can eat throughout the week.
Unfortunately, baking bread isn’t always easy or welcoming to people who are not used to it.
You may not realize it at first, but bread actually has several different requirements that it needs to meet to become the bread that you know and love. For example, people who have cold houses during the winter might find that it is nigh impossible to make dough rise properly.
If you are struggling with your dough rising and you would rather not waste hundreds of dollars to turn the heat on just for one loaf of bread, you should begin thinking of ways that you can help your bread out.
Because people all over the world have been making bread for as long as people have been harvesting wheat, people know how to adapt their bread-making to different climates and areas. People who live in places where it becomes immensely cold inside know how to adapt to it and change their situation to help dough rise.
Before you can begin to learn how to do that, it will be important for you to learn about what happens to bread when it rises in a cold environment, if it is even capable of rising, and so on.
Once you know these aspects of bread-making, you will be more than ready to begin learning ways to help your dough rise when it is cold inside your home.
Does Dough Rise in the Cold?
In short, dough will rise in the cold. However, it will rise much more slowly and it will create a slightly different texture in the bread. This type of bread is often known as cold-rise bread.
In fact, letting your dough rise in the cold is one of the three major ways that you can slow down the overall baking process of bread. By doing this, you can help your bread become more flavorful, which is something that many people can appreciate.
Yeast is the main component in making bread rise up. Yeast becomes incredibly active in warm environments, which is why bread rises so much more quickly if you place it in one of the warmest parts of your house.
When your house is cold everywhere, you may be worried about the yeast dying off and making it impossible for your dough to rise. Thankfully, cold temperatures do not kill yeast outright, although it will slow down the yeast activity, thus slowing down how fast your dough rises.
When dough rises in the cold, it will generally take about one day to rise to double its starting size. Within the next three days after that, you should have a loaf of bread that is ready to be shaped and prepared.
People who are making cold-rise dough for the flavor may want to let the dough rise more, but after the three-day mark, it begins to affect the quality of the bread in more ways than you want.
Why Should You Consider Cold-Rise Dough?
If you are looking to make your dough rise in a cold environment so that you can make cold-rise dough, then that is a different choice than wanting to make bread, but unfortunately living in a cold house.
No matter the situation, it is important for you to note that the longer the bread takes to rise, the more flavor it is going to have. For people aiming for a cold-rise, this is important.
For people who live in a cold house, this may mean that you will want to look for ways to heat areas up if you want your bread to retain a mild flavor.
Cold-rise dough is famous for having a stronger flavor. This is because when the rising process is slowed down, the yeast and everything inside the bread will help the flour produce a stronger flavor.
After all, when your bread rises in three days instead of one, that is a lot more time for the flour to develop a strong and robust flavor. Cold-rise dough is one of the easiest ways to bring the flavor out of the flour.
Getting Your Dough to Rise in a Timely Manner
If you are not aiming for a cold-rise where you can simply put your dough in the fridge and wait, you may not know what to do or how to warm your house up enough to get your dough to rise without affecting the flavor too much.
There are a few different ways that you can go about doing this. The optimal temperature for dough to rise at is between 75- and 78-degrees Fahrenheit, or 23.8 and 25.6 degrees Celsius.
In a cold house, it may be tough to reach these temperatures, but there are ways that it can be done. One way that you can get the job done is by putting your dough in a special bread cabinet.
These cabinets are made specifically to let dough rise exactly the way you want it to be, as they are temperature controlled. However, this may not be accessible for everyone.
Another option that you can consider is briefly preheating your oven, not to a full temperature, but just enough so that it reaches a more optimal dough-rising level. You will want to have a thermometer in place to monitor the temperature so that you do not accidentally cook your dough by mistake.
From here, you can simply turn off the oven, open it up, put the dough in, close it, and wait for the best. What makes this better is that ovens retain their heat well, so for most batches of bread, this should work out well for you.
If you are using your oven for other things, you may want to consider using your microwave. Firstly, you will want to boil a container of water in the microwave for about three minutes. This will create a good amount of steam to humidify the microwave and keep it warm.
Once this has been done, you should wait about 45 minutes so that the temperature isn’t too hot for your dough. From here, you simply put your bread in the microwave, close the door, and wait for it to rise on its own.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.