Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Homemaking Tip #4: Getting Bread to Rise in a Cold Kitchen

If you live in a colder climate with a house that is difficult or expensive to heat, you may be getting the impression that either bread recipes are written for those in warmer climes or that you are just a complete failure at bread baking. 

Most yeast bread recipes tell you to cover the dough and let it rise in a "warm place." Well, for me, the only truly "warm place" for four months of the year is directly next to my electric radiator--which is also extremely dry and would turn my dough into a hard lump rather than letting it rise. 

My trick? Cover the dough in bowl or pans (depending one which rise it is) with a tea towel as you normally would, and then place it in a cool oven along with a pan or bowl filled with boiling water. I just put the kettle on and pour the water into the container in the oven just before the dough is ready to go in. This should keep your dough moist and help it to rise to its fluffy potential.


  1. That's a great idea, Bethany! Thank you so much for taking the time to share it. I was wondering what to do with this dilemma as I want to bake more bread but we keep the house at 63 degrees and 'warm places' are nonexistant. I never had that problem at home because my parents heated with a woodstove and we just put the bowl of dough near it. I am definitely going to try your trick.

    Thanks for the encouraging words about stretch marks. I know they're hereditary but I don't know where mine came from-my mother never had any until she carried twins. Anyway, I will try to be more positive and see them as a badge of motherhood rather than a blemish. :)


  2. Thank you for this tip! My breads haven't rised at all and I've felt pretty hopeless about it.

  3. Bethany, this tip is reminding me that I want to graduate from muffins and cakes and on to bread. I know it's a crime that I haven't tried yet, but seeing as how you wrote this post, and my grandma just sent me a new loaf pan, it seems like the right time. Do you have a favorite (simple?) recipe you could suggest for my first foray into bread-making?

    Praying your family (and the new little one!) are doing well,


  4. Ooh! I'm so excited that my post is inspiring bread-baking. So fun.

    C- In answer to your question, I will post my new favorite recipe for white bread within the coming week. :)


  5. Sometimes heating the oven on the lowest possible temperature (most ovens 170 degrees) then turning it off when you put the bread into rise also helps. I have a recipe that has one rising which is in a 170 degree oven, then you just bump up the temperature to 350. It is very easy.

  6. Haha! this is a trick that my mum uses, too!

    I love baking bread - although I haven't made any for a few months, partly because of the hot weather I guess.


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