Cold Weather Baking
I need some help. During the summer, when I starting baking bread, it was good. But after a month long break, the weather has changed, and my baking fortunes have not been so good. Mostly, I have a problem with rising. Even giving breads some extra time, they don't see to rise to the level they should. This culminated today with my attempt to try the Buttermilk Cluster. It did not rise at all.
I live in Maryland, and I am cheap. We set the thermostat to 68 F, and the gauge is in the warming part of the house. My kitchen is likely around 65. And I think the buttermilk cluster failed because in addition to having a cold room, the milk was right out of the fridge. It's not really possible for me to just heat up the kitchen, so I am looking for any tips and tricks you all may have for winter baking.
Should I be heating all the liquid ingredients to 80-90 F before mixing? Winter is the perfect time for me to be baking, getting that extra heat in the house when I need it. But the bread (or rather my skill with the bread) just isn't cooperating.
I greatly appreciate your help,