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Baking Bread in a Cold Kitchen

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CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Baking Bread in a Cold Kitchen

Baking bread in a cold kitchen is difficult.  My oven only goes down to 270 degrees.  So, I turn it on; warm it up and then let the bread proof in there.  I am aiming for dough temps of about 78 degrees for my fermentation or proofing cycles.

Do others have better ideas?  I have read about constructing boxes or putting the bread in a plastic bag with hot water, but the condensation of doing so can be considerable.

Thanks.

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I find that's the warmest place in our kitchen.  I put sourdoughs up there, along with regular bread dough, to rise and it works beautifully.

saintdennis's picture
saintdennis

 hi everybody,

 I'm reading book that say you make the bread and put it to oven and then you put heat on and books they say you must preheat the oven let'say to 450F.I do not undersand why they put the bread in the cold oven and then pt heat on?? I allways preheat my oven. Please, can someone explain to me different and why is that done that way or is that misprint.

                              Santdennis

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

 Santdennis could you please start your own thread for your own questions.

My thanks to those people who stay on topic with my question.

Thank you.

saintdennis's picture
saintdennis

 my question is why some books saying you must to preheat your oven and then you you put your bread in and another boks say you put your bread to cold oven and then you put heat on.What is difference and why is that done ????

                               SAINTDENNIS

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

There have been many posts on cold start / cold oven baking on TFL. Most bakers do it to save on the cost of fuel. It works best with bread baked in pans, though some more experienced bakers use this approach for freeform breads.

see, for example, these TFL links on cold oven baking -

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/4697/should-i-steam-cold-start-sandwich-loaf

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/3448/laurels-kitchen-bread-book-comments-cold-oven-baking 

josordoni's picture
josordoni

I have to say I have started baking in a barely warm oven (heated for only about 5 minutes in a gas oven) just the length of time it takes to heat the cast iron steaming pan on the hob top, and to boil the kettle.

 Oven spring seems better than with a very hot oven actually.  I turn the oven to 9 for the quick preheat, then turn straight down to 7 when the bread is loaded (on a heavy steel baking sheet)  and the steam added.  Works very well for me, and is much much more economical and ecologically sound.

 Lynne

 

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Are you baking the bread dough in pans or as freeform shapes on a baking stone or sheet pan?

Can you translate your oven temperatures ("7" / "9") to temperature? Either fahrenheit or celsius is fine, but please specify which metric you're using.

thanks 

josordoni's picture
josordoni

I'm baking on a sheet metal pan as freeform shape (usually batard, sometimes boule).

 heating initially to Gas Mark 9 =475F or 240C (poss a bit more - basically as hot as the oven will go)

dropping to Gas Mark 7 = 425F 220C.

 

I wrote up about my last boule on my blog:

http://josordoni.blogspot.com/

 

you can see my earlier failures here too... LOL

When I started out I preheated the oven, but then read a post that mentioned that if you are not trying to heat up a stone, then a long pre-heat is just wasteful of heat, so the last couple of times I have just heated very briefly, really just enough to take the chill off the oven, then baked on a rising heat.

Hope this helps.

 

Lynne

 

KansasGirlStuckInMaryland's picture
KansasGirlStuck...

I do my proofing in my microwave if it seems cold in the kitchen.  I heat up a bowl of water in it first to get it warm and moist and pop the dough in.  Once I start the preheat on the oven I do the final proofing on the stove at the front away from the back vent.

Anne

LindyD's picture
LindyD

You could experiment with an electric heating pad and a plastic bin.

bluesbread's picture
bluesbread

Did you miss this from a few days ago?

Rising in cooler -- why didn't I think of this long ago?

Maybe this is a well-known trick but I'm still patting myself on the back for thinking it up recently, and I want to make sure you all know about it:

Let your dough rise in an insulated cooler! I have a small soft-sided one that works great, but any small cooler would work. The yeast generates heat as it eats and multiplies, and the cooler holds it in, keeping the dough nice and cozy (but not so warm that it speeds up the action to the detriment of the flavor, as happens when you put it into a warm oven). I used to wrap towels around the bowl, but the cooler is easier and more efficient. Do not stick dough that you've just removed from the fridge into the cooler, though, or you'll just be keeping it cold. Wait until it warms to room temp and then place it in the cooler. Happy baking! bluesbread

 

Patf's picture
Patf

A friend, who has a cold kitchen, puts her bread to rise in the airing cupboard.  Good idea, if you have one.

We haven't at the moment.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

bluesbread had a pretty good idea with the cooler and I have used that concept for both fermentation at 78F and also for lowering the temp for a retarded rate of 50F. Honestly the best one I use is a dirt cheap Styrofoam model that came from the take out store for a buck fifty. I'll put a 2 cup measuring cup of hot steamy water in the bottom and support my dough bowl above. For cooling I toss a couple zip lock bags full of ice on the bottom.

All this is way more effective if you make a real effort to adjust the water temp when mixing the dough so you end up with the target temp. Otherwise it's like to thaw out your engine with a zippo:>)

Eric 

jeffesonm's picture
jeffesonm

Another good place to stick bread is on top of your cable box, if you have one.  It's generally nice and warm there.

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

My thanks to everyone for suggesting the very specific options open to me; most appreciated.

I never thought of heating up the water first that I use for mixing the ingredients. I wonder how hot I will be able to make it?

Am learning lots as always from you folks.

Many thanks.

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

I need to have the dough temp for fermentation and proofing stages to be about 78 degrees right, so how about this.....

  1. Take one large pan of boiling water
  2. On top of that place a large stainless steel collander
  3. On top of that place my 12 quart stainless steel mixing bowl with the dough in it
  4. On top of that place a large cover of some sort
  5. Turn down the boiling water and allow to simmer
  6. Monitor the dough temp as needed and raise to boiling if needed.

Shouldn't that work? [:-)

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

So I tried the new method and find that the concept is good but needed refinement.  See below for modification of the process. 

  1. Take one large pan of boiling water
  2. On top of that place a large stainless steel collander
  3. On top of that place a dish towel; this will buffer the heat to the bowl.
  4. On top of that place my 12 quart stainless steel mixing bowl with the dough in it
  5. On top of that place a large cover of some sort
  6. Turn down the boiling water and allow to simmer
  7. Monitor the dough temp as needed and raise to boiling if needed. And now a major point. Monitor the heat and the rising dough so as to make sure there is not too much of either.

Yes to what everyone is saying about dough temps.  This is the first time I have had good temps for my bread.  I needed 80 degrees per Peter Reinhart for his white bread.  My sense is the dough temp is what it is all about.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

it would warm up the kitchen and you enjoy watching the dough rise. 

Mini O

ehanner's picture
ehanner

This is what you need.

http://www.sourdoughhome.com/bakingintro2.html#ruleof240

This is from Mike Avery's site and he describes the process of adjusting the water temp to the ideal level to arrive at the perfect temp. Here is another link to the page here that also discusses this important procedure. 

Now I'm going to take this to another level. In my personal opinion the best gadget I have purchased while learning to bake is the digital scale. The next most valuable tool is my Infra Red thermometer. It was inexpensive, gives me exact readings instantly of water in my measuring cup, dough, oven stone, resting place above the refrigerator and drives my dog nuts.  I use it several times every time I bake and it's way more accurate than the so called instant read dial probes we all use. This is the one I bought.

You can find them on ebay all the time and there are less expensive models. The control of dough temperature is so important it can't be overstated. If you are planning on a 4-5 hour ferment and the dough is 10 degrees cold when you start, it's just about up when the ferment time is over and guess what didn't rise the way you were hoping it would? It seems like a toy you could do without but I find it so useful I wouldn't part with mine.

Hope this helps.

Eric 

edh's picture
edh

Eric,

Thank you for the link to the rule of 240; I've seen references here, but never really followed through on it. A big ol' light bulb just went off in my head!

Countryboy, I feel your pain. Ironically, the kitchen is the coldest room in our house (except when the oven is on), so I'm always fiddling around with this issue. I definitely heat up my water, though before now it's always been a sort of, "well, that feels warmish, but not so much that it will kill the yeast" kind of measurement. Thanks to Eric and Mike, I'm about to get a lot more precise! I have a gas stove with a pilot, so that makes a good proofing box, but when it's not available, I've had excellent luck with the mug of boiling water in the cooler trick. The condensation does build up, but at least the dough doesn't get a skin on it! Near the woodstove is also good, but does require the obvious piece of equipment...

Mostly, I just expect everything to take a lot longer in the winter.

Keep at it; I always enjoy your posts and discoveries!

edh

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Tighten up the belt and slide bagged up dough under your shirt add a vest or sweater and prance around ready to take bullets.  :)

Mini O

clazar123's picture
clazar123

ehanner

Can you actually tell the internal temp of the loaf of bread baking with the infrared sensor? Doesn't the hot air in the oven interfere with that reading?

Intriguing gadget and a multi-tasker. AND not much more, cost-wise, than the instant read temp probe I just bought. :(

The cooler is a great idea. This will be my first winter baking bread and I will probably use a  styro cooler.

ASk at local pharmacies if they have any styro shipping boxes. Many drugs are shipped in styro boxes with a cold/dry ice pack.My "cooler" is going to come from the local health department. Many of the boxes are just thrown away. Some have very smal internal cavitites, though. 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

The IR Thermometer measures the heat radiating off a surface, not inside it. It is very interesting to see the temp of the stone in the oven when the oven is telling you it's up to temperature. My large DLX mixer bowl can be a big heat sink in the morning and the AP flour bin is cooler than you think. To some it might seem neurotic to be checking temperature to such small degrees but the end results will speak for themselves. Add all those variables together and begin to understand the mystery of sourdough. 

As I have become more adept at making SD breads I have found new meaning to Bill Wraiths and Mike Avery's words about paying careful attention to dough temperature. The impact on culture activity of even a few degrees can't be overlooked. The time required to double during ferment is directly affected by the dough temperature. You can not expect to evenly warm the mass of fermenting flour by placing it in a warm room. It will eventually warm but slowly and from the outside in. The greater percentage of the mass will always be cooler (or warmer) than the outer surface.

Using the rule of 240 to arrive at the target temperature from the first second of fermenting will be much much more effective. Then all you have to do is provide a reasonable attempt at a warm proofing location to assure a good and timely rise.

For me the erratic times of proofing and fermentation were stumbling blocks when first trying sourdough baking. I was forever waiting past dinner for a loaf to rise and becoming frustrated at how long the process took. All that changed when I started actively controlling dough temp, and that was made far easier when I bought an IR temp meter. We do what is easier by nature. Now I know I can heat cold tap water in the microwave to within a couple degrees and mix my dough to exactly the target temp, and my schedule will be maintained. Temp control has made me a much better baker. I just needed to find a way to understand and manipulate it.

Eric 

Patf's picture
Patf

Mini O - I like your idea. I've seen the same method recommended for training feral kittens to accept handling. Not that I'd fancy trying it.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Mini,
I'll never look at the big busted bakers wife in the same way, wondering if she might simply be proofing the dough!

Eric 

nbicomputers's picture
nbicomputers

ok who has a stall shower???

go out and buy a $10.00 hot plate put it on the bottom of the shower place a big pot of water on the hot plate and bring it to just boiling.  place a small table in the shower or a set of shelfs in the shower place your proofing bread or dough in the shower you will have a makeshift fermantation room. now you can pre heat the oven without having to use it to proof the bread. so for the first time when the bread is ready so is the oven.  no more over proofed bread while we wate for the oven to heat after using it to proof

 

Ps: an oven only has 2 states hot or not hot,  ether it is heated or it is not heated to be exact  pre means before heat means an increase of temp. so preheat means before an increase of temp

a preheated oven is COLD!!!!!

english sure is a funny language ;)

redcatgoddess's picture
redcatgoddess

This is the formula that is used to determin the required the water temp so your dough will acheive the required dough temp:

desired dough temp x 3 - (flour temp + Room temp + 20 machine/0 handmix) = wtr temp

ie: desired dough temp is 80 & the flour temp is 68 & room temp is 72.

If you are using machine, then the wtr temp will be

(80 x 3) - (68 +72+20) = 80 degree F

if you are mixing by hand, then the wtr temp will be

(80 x 3) - (68+72) - 100 degree F

 

Hope this helps..

SteveB's picture
SteveB

To expand on redcat's post, if a preferment is used, the formula for water temperature should be modified as follows:

DDT x 4 - (flour temp + room temp + preferment temp + 20 machine/0 handmix) = water temp 

The "20" for machine friction factor assumes temps are measured in degrees F and is only an estimation.  The actual friction factor should be determined for the specific mixer being used.  

SteveB

www.breadcetera.com

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Anyone know the hottest temp for water possible without killing the yeast?

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Countryboy,
I don't know the real answer to that question and I suspect that some will die at a lower temperature and all will die slightly warmer but, I use 105F as a top temperature.

As the kitchen gets colder (I'm at 63 this morning) the water temp needs to get quite warm. The thing to do is calculate the needed water temp and add it to the flour only. Then add the yeast as the flour will have cooled the water.  After everything is mixed, measure your dough temperature. If it's cool or under your target temp, try warming the mixing bowl with warm water first. The SS bowl on my DXL weighs about 5 Lbs or so. When it's at 63F it sucks a lot of heat. It all counts.

Eric 

keesmees's picture
keesmees

at 45° starts the killing and 50°C will inactivate  100% of the yeast in a dough, says hagens.

redcatgoddess's picture
redcatgoddess

yeast die at 140 degree F

josordoni's picture
josordoni

I would also mention that as well as a cold baking start, I don't warm up anything for the fermentation - in fact I like to ferment longer at a colder temperature as I think it gives a better texture.  I DO heat the water a bit (I like the water to be about 78F when the room temperature is about 68F ) but then don't warm anything, and after a couple of hours and a couple of folds, have been rising in the fridge overnight.

 has to be said this is with sourdough + small quantity of yeast, rather than fully yeasted, so I don't know if that makes any difference.

Lynne

 

em21701's picture
em21701

If my kitchen is cold, I'll let the bread rise in the microwave. There are a couple of ways I can control the heat in there. If you leave the door slightly open the light will stay on and keep it pretty warm (think easy bake oven). If you have an over the range model like I do you can turn the range lights on and they will also heat up the inside.

 

Eric

TroutEhCuss's picture
TroutEhCuss

there were lots of eco friendly ideas that I thought were great!  Saving energy, being minimalistic and frugal.  I thought I might be the only one doing "crazy" things.  I'm thinking of using my laptop or TV.