It's Cold Outside!
I consider my self a new baker, and I've learned so much from this forum, thank you to all who participate and share your knowledge. I don't know if this is a question or simply an observation. I have been
very fortunate to the point of down right blessed, with my baking. Every type of bread I have made has come out very well for someone who doesn't know what the heck they are doing. I figured I just had a 'doughy thumb' (smile). However, since it has gotten cold outside I haven't made one decent loaf! Remembering what I have learned from Daniel Leaders book that the room temperature should be about 74*F optimum. I figured that was my main issue all of a sudden. So what I did this last time with some French bread I made is, I made my batch according to directions (Peter Reinheart's) and when I took it out of the fridge in the AM. I immediately put it in an oven where the light had been on already for about an hour. I left the dough in the oven for about a good three hours, where I then took it out shaped it put it on my French Bread Pans and again placed it back in the oven until it 'doubled in size'. Meanwhile I managed to get my kitchen up to about 71*F for it's short sit on the counter while the oven preheated. The bread turned out beautifully. But boy did it take a lot of babysitting to get it right!. I am just now going to start a lot of my Christmas baking and I can see that I will be pretty busy for the next few days. I like to put together baskets for my extended family and this year it is going to be all baked goods! Merry Christmas everyone! May your kitchens be warm!
P.S. Now that I have re-read this I guess I'm posting this for all those who may be having bread issues right now. I've learned how important it is to keep your dough temp warm and happy!
Also, my hubby made a 'warm home' for my Rye starter. It's a box with a small light bulb on. I have a thermometer poking in the box and it stays a happy 80*. I feed it twice daily.