The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Temp for rising

Jahosacat's picture

Temp for rising

I'm new to this forum, but, not new to bread baking. I've been making all of my own bread in a bread machine for 10 years. Now I've decided I want to try some different types of bread. I'd like to still mix the ingredients, doing the initial kneed in the bread machine. I'd like to shape it and do the second rise not in the machine, then bake it in the oven. My first uncertantity comes with the temp when doing the second rise. I live in snow country. Hubby and I keep our home at 64 during the day and 58 at night. (we live in sweats and fuzzy slippers) My guess is that it will take longer than the projected times in the recipes for the second rise. Will taking extra time hurt the consistency of the bread or should I figure out the warmest place in the house - which may be the office - and let it rise there instead of the kitchen?

Any advice will be appreciated!

Donna - who's having a ball prowling around this site!

dghdctr's picture

You're correct that the second rise (called the "proof" usually) will take longer, but if you have the time to allow things to happen more slowly, you should be fine.  I dunno how much longer it will take, but I'd allow at least double the specified rise time and see what happens.

Generally, a good way to test if the loaf has proofed enough is to lightly poke the surface with a finger and see how the indentation left by your touch reacts.

If the indentation practically disappears, you still need more time.  If it springs back toward you about halfway, but still remains very visible, that's usually an indicator that you could bake now, scoring if necessary beforehand.

If the indentation doesn't spring back at all, this sometimes means you've waited too long.  Bake the loaf anyway, but you might not want to score it and risk collapse (it's your call).  Move it carefully to the oven and hope for the best.  Don't open the oven for at least 15 minutes after loading in this situation, to ensure that a drop in oven temp doesn't occur and, again, risk the collapse of your loaf.

If you've never done this before on your own, just accept that there will be a few snafus until you're familiar with the outward signs of success.  Nobody gets through learning how to bake "freestyle" without a few mistakes.  That's the fastest way to learn.  You'll be fine, eventually.

Just in case you didn't know -- you should try to keep the surface of the loaf from forming a hard skin or crust during the proof.  I generally start with a floured towel over the loaf, followed by a plastic cover to keep moisture from escaping.  As long as the proof is a few hours or less, that works fine.

--Dan DiMuzio

tommy2stick's picture

I would love to hear more reader comments of this topic as well.  My house is kept cool and I in snow country too.  Too many recipes assume you live in (or even have a single room somewhere) a place that's 72 degrees and up. I often feel that my bread (I'm a raw beginner) suffers from the house temperature (64-68).

Crider's picture

We're not quite snow country, but we keep the house at 68° F in the daytime and turn off the heater when we go to bed -- unless the temperature is going to be in the low 20s. Then we will run the heater on low. So often it is around 45° in the house in the morning. I learned to not worry about time when I began baking with sourdough.

I simply bulk ferment until the dough has doubled, then weigh the dough and form into balls and let those rise until about 150%, then form into loaves and let rise until proofed. It is difficult for me to judge when a batard has fully proofed and have often baked them too early.

A super-long proofing of sandwich bread in a loaf pan usually leads to a denser crumb at the bottom, whereas a batard or boule gets turned upside down and then slashed for baking.

jabby's picture

I live in SLC which isn't exactly Michigan but it still quite cold. I also leave my house at 59 and up to 65 when I'm home. I find that it takes twice as long for my loaves to proof.  If I  leave them near a window on a really sunny day I can cut that time by half but I still count on them taking 1.5-2x as long to rise. I haven't noticed an off taste yet.

KenK's picture

We keep our house at 68 degrees in the winter and I don't have any problems.  I use an inverted plastic box as a proofing chamber and sometimes will put a cup of hot water under it but only if I want to hurry something up.

I just started baking a couple months ago and I'm starting to think ahead (and worry) about how I might have to adjust this summer when we will keep the house at 78 degrees.

davidg618's picture
davidg618 a proofing box. My wife, like you, bakes our everyday bread using the bread machine to mix, knead and initially proof the dough on "dough cycle". (The machine proofs at 84.5F according to the manufacturer.) Then she removes it from the machine letting it bulk proof further either at room temperature, on warm days, or in the oven on cool days. With the oven light on the oven box warms to 82°F.

Furthermore, after she shapes the loaves, and pans them, she final proofs them in the oven also, removing them only during the final 20 minutes while the oven preheats.

I bake sourdoughs, and high-percentage rye flour breads. I often develop my levain in the oven, with the light on, during the levain build time; and bulk-proof the dough on cool days. I never final proof in the oven, as my wife does, because I use a baking stone, and like to preheat the oven for 45 minutes to an hour before baking.

Recently, I was developing a sourdough levain on the same day we were baking Christmas cookies. Consequently, I couldn't use the oven as a warming box. Despite the oven's nearly constant use, the house temperature remained in the high sixties.  I put my levain container in the microwave, and proped the door slightly open to keep its light on. The internal temperature reached 76°F.

Happy Baking,

David G.

grumpidoc's picture

Hi from the UK. This is my first post, but I've learned a huge amount from this site - thanks everyone. We live in an old cold house, in fact winter daytime temp is 55-58, warmer in the evenings with heating on. I make mostly lean wholewheat bread with a very small amount of yeast - 1/4 teaspoon for 1x450g flour loaf, let it rise overnight in the airing cupboard which is a a couple of degrees warmer than the rest of the house, knock back, pan and proof next morning, ready to bake usually by evening ( I might even refrigerate when 3/4 proofed so ready to bake next morning). Fits in well with my work, rises well, and develops great flavour. Works for sourdough too. I don't think I'd be able to bake bread on an ordinary schedule now!

AnnieT's picture

Hi grumpidoc, how I envy you having an airing cupboard! The house where I grew up near Birmingham had one, and for people who don't know the term it's a cupboard over the hot water tank. Ours had slatted shelves so that the sheets and towels were well aired. Not that our immersion heater was on all the time - we had to request a bath time and pre-heat the water. Would have been the perfect place to proof bread, the one thing that my mother never baked. Wecome to TFL and Happy New Year, A.

Thomas Mc's picture
Thomas Mc

I turn the oven on for one minute, then leave the light on. That keeps it at about 80 degrees, even if the house is quite cool. For the final proof, I turn it on for another minute, which raises the temp up to about 90. I use a cold start when I bake, so I don't even have to transfer the loaves to the oven, just turn it on.

If I'm using the oven for something else, I use the microwave. Just boil some water in a tea kettle, pour it into a teacup and put that in the corner of the microwave, it keeps the temp around 80.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Some well insulated ovens get too hot and kill the yeast.  It has happened to more than one loafer.  The water could also be heated up in the microwave, no need to use a tea kettle.

yozzause's picture

HI Donna and welcome
Longer slower proofs are not really a problem and one of the benefits is usually a tastier more flavour full final product.
One of the things that is worth while is taking notes on the temps both the finished dough and the ambient for future reference and you will also pretty soon have a chart where you will be able to predict your proofing times.
I keep birds where on occasion we may need to keep young or sick birds warm and we have a hospital box it is usually made of wood but there are some great plastic storage crates around that would be ideal we have a low wattage electric light globe turned on for warmth (the old incandescent globes)
you might need to buy a quantiity if you go down this track as they are disaapering fast. a small vent will allow you to adjust the temp a small houshold thermometer mounted inside the box to check the inside temp wiil help too.A plastic bag or gladwrap over the container will stop a skin forming on the dough piece.If you are baking regularly could be worthwhile to make up.
Meanwhile with the temperature here in Perth likely to be 100 today keeping the dough warm will be the least of my worries. However in the winter time (WE NEVER GET SNOW) and it gets cool but with the sun shining i place my dough in the car and it is usually nice a big old proover.

Jahosacat's picture

Thanks for the ideas. I hadn't thought about using the oven. I may try checking the temp in a couple of rooms in the house - including the closet where the hot water heater is. Now that Winter is really setting in and Christmas decorations are coming down I'm starting to have time to do some odd projects - and hubby likes it when they do involve him eating and don't involve him moving, making or painting anything!

sgvhelen's picture

I also am doing the first rise in the bread machine and my second rise is not happening that well. The bread tastes delicious but it's small. I have a couple questions maybe you can all help to answer. I am pretty sure it is not due to the temperature of where the bread is rising. Although maybe the air is too dry.

First should I still be using the yeast for bread makers?

Second do not all all recipes rise well this way e.g. my recipe had warm water, honey and 3 cups total of flour- for a 9 x 5 pan maybe this isn't enough flour or not enough sugar for the 2 tsp of yeast?

Thank you for you words of wisdom and advice.


GeraldC's picture

I assume the first rise is effective, meaning the yeast is okay. I would first ask if it's not rising too much in the machine. If allowed to rise more than double, it may be exhausted and won't rise much in second rise or in the oven. Too much sugar can also retard yeast growth, but I doubt that's the problem, since the first rise is okay. Instand, rapid rise, or machine yeasts really won't make much difference, at least not that much. 

You mention dry air. If you're in a very dry climate, make sure there's enough water in the dough. You wouldn't instinctively thing it would make that much difference, but it can, and the dough can be heavy.