The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

In what do you mix and how do you rise your doughs?

CoveredInFlour's picture

In what do you mix and how do you rise your doughs?

I'm curious how others rise/proof/ferment their doughs and what you make them in- I'm always looking for new ideas.

I make all my doughs in a ceramic mixing bowl, or if it's a double batch a large ceramic pasta bowl. I recently picked up a bowl that will allow me to make enough dough for 4 loaves, when I'll do that I'll never know, but it was nice.:) I've found ceramic bowls retain and distribute the heat better that metal bowls, at least in my novice opinion, and they look pretty when I'm using them. :D

I used to rise my sponge and dough on the back buner on my stove, it's where my oven vents. I would turn on the oven to 250F and leave it while it proofed. I found thought, that the sponge would start bubbling only in the middle, right over the vent and not really do much on the sides.

I tried using a microwave after using it to boil water for 3 minutes, but I don't like not being able to see what the sponge/dough is doing.

I've settled on using a heating pad set on low that I've put inside an open large freezer bag (so it doesn't get dirty). I cover the top of the bowl in plastic wrap and place it on the pad, it rises and proofs beautifully. It's also convenient in that it allows me to proof the dough pretty much anywhere there's an outlet for those times when I need to use my stove for something else.



alabubba's picture

A large plastic bowl is what I use most of the time. I like the plastic as it is flexible. When it comes to cleanup I let the dough that's left in the bowl dry, then a flex and scrape and its clean.

I also mix dough with my stand mixer and use its stainless bowl. Much harder to clean.

As for proofing, I have several cylindrical plastic buckets ranging in size from about 1 Qt to 2 gallon. They are transparent and have straight walls. Lets me keep track of the rise. I do not put my dough in a warm place to rise. I prefer to let it rise slowly in a cool place, often in the fridge overnight. I like the flavor development of a slow rise.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

mix it with their bare feet when I do large batches.  This is essential the day before next Monday during the longest day of the year.   Fertility rituals and all and lots of folks getting together to make large bonfires, eat lots of food, drink strong drinks and jump over the fires.  You know, and great music!  But it's getting harder to find a troup for the dough stomping, getting younger every year.   Then we wait for the eclipse to raise the dough.  (Hey, you asked.)  If it doesn't rise, we all go low carb for the rest of the year.  Important that the virgins don't wash their feet first so we get a high yeast & bacteria count.  Last year we had some Low carb supporters run around spraying all the virgins feet with disinfectant.  Almost ruined the party!

May your summer solstice bonfire burn brightly, :)


CoveredInFlour's picture

*pausing to clean the liquid I spit all over my computer keyboard from laughing so hard*

Yes, yes I did ask. That will teach me. *chuckle*

Yerffej's picture


Are you still using that old method?


008cats's picture

Yah, and where do you find a troupe of virgins these days?

008cats's picture

SS bowl used for measuring and autolyze (covered with a kettle lid that fits perfectly). This bowl is then perfect for a quick "bowl knead".

Then into a oiled glass batter bowl with a lid, handle and measurements so I can gauge rising progress when in or out of fridge (I have 3 so that I can primary ferment multiple recipes at once).

Then a short warm-up and stint in a big, rectangular, low rubbermaid (oiled) for some stretches (no extra flour).

I have a number of final proof vessels, but my absolute fav is a terracotta bowl lined with a pillowcase that came from the holiday inn, circa 1980. I call this the magic pillowcase (it needs next to zero flour to release from the dough). There is something about this terracotta/pillowcase combo that keeps the dough moist, inverts & undresses like a dream, slashes and rises perfectly.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

There is something about this terracotta/pillowcase combo that keeps the dough moist, inverts & undresses like a dream, slashes and rises perfectly.

I bet it works better than plastic, and like the cane, it needs to dry out between uses.  (Terracotta is unglazed ceramics.)   Something like this would be easy to make out of clay and have it fired once.  All kinds of ideas come to mind for shape and textures.  And it wouldn't be much trouble to find a hobby shop that sells bisqueware for people to decorate & glaze, only just use the bisqueware bowl or basket plain.  Easy to sanitize too if ever needed.

Noor13's picture

I am using a huge 7l Tupperware bowl with matching lid

It works perfectly for me, cause I tend to make bigger patches of bread at once. And it wasn't even expensive-I think about 15 or 20$ for an original Tupperware.

CoveredInFlour's picture

I used plastic once, a long while back for a yeasted coffee cake recipe and I found that my dough struggled to rise. The yeast was good, as in it bubbled and frothed when I proofed it afterwards, but the dough appeared to have the attitude of daughters when asked to clean the bathroom - "I'll do it, but not well and not enough."

I put it down to the plastic not doing a good job retaining heat, but if so many of you use plastic, then *gasp* maybe it was something I did.

That terracotta/pillowcase method sounds really interesting! I've been looking more closely at clay bakers since I started making bread, but I can't find an excuse to buy one that would fly past Mr. CoveredInFlour.

Thank you, everyone, for sharing your methods!

008cats's picture

Just inverted another loaf, and thought that if you were wondering about finding your OWN Magic Pillowcase, I should mention it is not made of thick or heavy cotton - and I bet it DOES have some polyester along with cotton in the weave.

For those of you who did not spend your university days discussing the merits of fabric fibre, polyester has less absorbency and is more likely to "wick" moisture away (and into the terracotta bowl, sorta like wearing those hi tech sporting clothes - if you were a lump of dough in a track suit).

Knead On!

serenityhill's picture

The last couple of times I took a square piece of freezer paper and lined the dish that I baked in, then used the sheet to knead on once mixed, then folded it up and set it in my empty bread machine to rise,,, kept it on the freezer paper till it was final-shaped and ready for the pan.  I've also used this for bulk dough that I take chunks off of for rolls.

I baked a loaf in a granite (enamel) roaster yesterday, should have taken a picture but it's mostly gone already (oops).

Is it OK if I substitute college boys that ride bicycles to school for virginal girls (nice buns)?