The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rising in cold house

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tdlovett's picture
tdlovett

Rising in cold house

The few attempts I've made at making bread have resulted in flat, dense loaves. I'm convinced it is due to Oregon weather and a reluctance to turn up the central heat. Is it possible to make bread when the house temp is in the 60's?

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

We keep our home in the 60s as well, and it's not a big issue. For some breads, longer, cooler rises actually improve the quality of the loaf, and you can even rise breads overnight in your refrigerator. But, you do need to be patient and let it fully develop--don't expect it to rise as fast as when the temperatures are in the 70s.

Some days you do want your bread to fit your own schedule, however. We had a few discussions here on improvising warmer conditions--some have made proofing boxes, some use a slightly warm oven, others find a warm spot on top of the refrigerator or near a wood stove. One thing I commonly do is adjust my water temperatures. While I usually use room-temperature water, if it's a cool day and I want to jump-start my fermentation, I'll use warmer water (80-90 degrees).

 

 

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Things will take 50% to 100% longer in the mid 60s compared to low 70s. You can help things along by using warm water in your doughs and by making sure to take the chill off any refrigerated ingredients. If you don't want to wait so long, there are lots of tricks to get your dough warmer, even if the ambient temperature is in the mid 60s, like using an oven with just the light on, which can be quite warm (sometimes too warm) as a place to proof your dough. I put mine on a shelf over my coffee machine, which is at about 76-80F if the machine has been on for a while. You can use a water bath, or put a bowl of hot water in an oven next to the rising dough. Some people build proofers by putting a light bulb in a styrofoam cooler. However, you can definitely make bread in the 60s. Bread fermented at 65F may taste somewhat different from bread fermented at 75F, so some people go to a lot of trouble to find places where they can ferment their dough at cooler temperatures, even down to the 50s F.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

You might want to read some of the lessons and other commentary about autolyse, mixing, kneading, folding, and other techniques to develop the gluten in your dough. Also, using flour with a high enough protein level advertised specifically as bread flour can help. A frequent mistake of beginners is to make the dough too dry, as well.