Rising Bread in Cold Weather
We have been baking bread from scratch around here for almost a decade. Our bread baking began overseas in a warm and humid climate. Getting bread to rise was never even something we had to think about there. It just rose so well. Once we moved back to the States and started to bake in a climate that had long, cold, rainy winters, we realized quickly that temperature for rising bread greatly mattered. As a home baker, we weren’t going to buy expensive equipment to have our bread rise so we had to figure out how to make it rise to the best of it’s ability given our cold rainy climate. We recently asked all of our social media followers if it is still cold where you live at least in the mornings. At least half of you said it is still cold where you are, so we thought this post was still pertinent. Below are some tips that we have used to get our bread to rise the best it can in a cold climate without any fancy equipment.
The first thing is to be sure to understand is that yeast grows best between 100-110 degrees F. Having an inexpensive food thermometer is imperative for good baking, especially bread baking. If your water temperature is too low when you add the yeast, it will not grow because the water isn’t warm enough. If your water is too hot, it will kill the yeast and then it won’t ever grow. That said, having a thermometer is the best way to know if your water is the correct temperature to make your yeast grow. From there, here are some tips to be sure you get the best bread rise.
- You can preheat your oven to the lowest temperature it goes to while you are making your bread dough. Also, you will boil a medium pot of water while you are making your dough. Once your dough is ready, you will turn off your oven, place your dough in the oven once it reaches 110 degrees F. Put your pot of boiling water on the rack below your rising dough. Then close the door and let your bread rise in your oven. This method does require having an oven thermometer, but you can get one that is inexpensive. We think having an oven thermometer is imperative for good cooking and baking. Here is a link to a post we made about why https://www.rusticscoop.com/blogs/the-scoop/why-verifying-oven-temperature-is-a-must
- If your oven has a "proofing" setting, be sure to use it. This setting warms your oven to the perfect temperature to rise your bread dough. All you have to do is put your bread pan with dough in it, into your oven for the amount of time you need to rise your dough.
- You can rise your dough on your stove top/oven if you have one. Have your oven preheating at 350 degrees and place a warm, damp cloth over your bread pan while your dough rises. You will need to re-wet your cloth every 15 minutes with warm water to be sure you keep the temperature up.
- Just recently I found the Raisenne Dough Riser through my friend, Patrick (professionalallergybaker on both IG and FB). If you do not know or follow him, you need to. He is one of the most knowledgeable bakers in our industry. He mentioned using the Raisenne Dough Riser and how amazing it is so I had to know more. I bought one the same day he told me about it. It’s relatively inexpensive, $69 with shipping. It’s a very thick piece of plastic that radiates an even 85 degree F temperature and plugs into the wall. I have used it several times successfully with different kinds of yeasted breads and pizza crust. This is the best and easiest of all the methods, giving the best rise. We aren’t sponsored by them in any way, we just like to pass on all the tips we can.
Keep in mind, that no matter which method you choose to use, nothing will give you a rise like warm humid weather. These all will definitely give you the best rise you can get in cold weather, but your summer bread rise will always naturally be better. If you have any questions, as always, feel free to reach out. We are here to help in any way we can. Happy Baking!