Posted By Steve the Bread Guy

As winter starts to remind us that it is on its way, our breads are going to notice, too. Most of the recipes you find in cookbooks assume that you have a nice hot kitchen when you make bread. Professional bakers work in very warm environments thanks to their many ovens, and that affects how their yeast reacts. Yeast is a fungus that likes warm temperatures, roughly akin to a hot summer day. But many of us have homes that are not heated that way in the winter, and this will affect how long it takes yeast to react and for bread to rise.


One simple answer is to just give the yeast more time. In most bread recipes, including my own, we suggest that you let the bread double in size for each of its two rises. In warm conditions, I find that this usually takes about an hour (with the exception of sourdough breads, which take longer). But when my house is cool (68F, or 18 or 19C), that doubling takes longer, sometimes as much as an hour and a half.


If you don’t have time for that, there is an alternative. Turn you oven into a warming chamber for the rising dough. Preheat the oven to 200F, but turn it off before it gets there. Open the door to let some of the heat escape. Stick your hand in a few minutes later. If it isn’t too hot for your hand, it will be okay for the dough’s yeast, too. It should feel like a hot summer day, but not a scorcher. Place the rising dough in their for an hour. Insure that you cover the dough with a damp towel, since the heat will dry out the top surface of the dough otherwise. Check on its size 45 minutes later, to see if it has been rising faster than expected. I find that this works quite well. Some ovens even have breadproofing settings for exactly this purpose.


Good luck with you winter baking!


Steve the Bread Guy.

7 Comment(s):
saltydog77 said...
Hi Steve, about 3 years ago I watched a couple of your vids on YT and gave bread making a try. So glad I did. I really enjoy making a loaf of bread with my own two hands. And it was because of your vids. Thx.
May 10, 2016 10:16:45
Elizabeth said...
I want to make homemade bread so.. Tried several years ago and always failed. Tried the bread machine again recently. It does an ok job but would REALLY like to make it myself in the oven. I am going to definitely give your way a shot. Long story but recently I purchased 2 sourdough starters from the King Arther site..the first crock and starter set ( the lid slid off when my husband picked it up by mistake for the first time and didn't realize the lid fit so loosely...fell off and broke) ordered another ...because it was a Christmas present... my husband said to go ahead and order another and I did 😊. Both starters never worked for me so now I am going to try your starter and also want to try your white bread! Watching your videos I have learned a lot! I am such an amateur at this...but want to be successful in making a loaf of homemade bread!!! Thank you for your videos!!!
December 30, 2014 03:56:58
Terry said...
In stead of the oven, I use my microwave oven. I put a glass of water in it and close the door. Heat on high for 2 min 30 sec. Then put the bread dough in and cover it with a plastic grocery bag. Do not use the micro wave or apply any heat. Wait 45 ~ 60 min and you should have the first rise of doubled dough. The preheat with the water glass makes a humid warm oven at about 80 F. For the second rise, just reheat the water in the glass again with nothing else in the micro wave. Then pop in your shaped loafs in their pans or what ever and cover with a plastic bag. The loaves should rise no problem. I've recently seen a recipe call for using the micro wave on it's lowest setting for 3 min. Then wait 3 min. Then 3 more min of lowest heat, then wait for 6 min. It's supposed to speed up the rise with out killing the yeast. I haven't tried it yet but it sounds like some thing fun to try and will greatly shorten the rising time.
May 20, 2014 11:51:50
Fabiola said...
Hi Steve, thanks for the videos, I love the explanation behind the temperatures and yeast! Last night I baked my first loaf, and it came out really good!
February 9, 2014 12:23:19
Marilyn said...
Hi Steve: I have just found out that I have to eat gluten free but the big problem is i can't substitute with Rice or corn or whey or soy products. I have tried buckwheat bread but it just sits in my stomach and does not digest! Can you suggest any bread recipes??? Even buns would be good!
June 6, 2013 07:13:32
Mary said...
Hi Steve, Just wondering if I can use the same ingredients and method used by you for white bread is I use spelt white flour. Thanks Mary
November 8, 2012 03:47:56
Mary said...
Hi Steve, can you please tell me if I use the same ingredients and method using spelt four as for white flour. I find your videos very interesting and enlightening. Regard, Mary
November 8, 2012 03:41:49
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