I’ve gotten several emails recently about winter bread. The common problem with bread in the winter is that it won’t rise. It’s a bad time to be a first-time breadbaker because it’s discouraging. It can be discouraging even if you’re an experienced breadbaker!
Yeast breads don’t rise well under certain atmospheric conditions. Heavy barometric pressure is a rise-killer! This can be true even on a warm day when a storm comes in, but on a cold day, it’s even worse. Yeast needs warmth to activate. When I’m making bread in the winter months, I automatically assume I’m going to have trouble getting the bread to rise so I use one of the tricks that can help overcome winter conditions. Here’s my top 10 list of bread rising tips:
1. Make bread when your kitchen is warm, heated up by other cooking.
2. Place the bread in a dehydrator like an Excalibur, with removable shelves, on the bread rising setting.
3. Put the bread in front of a fire! But be careful. Too close to your fire and you’ll kill it from too much heat. (Been there, done that.)
4. Set the bread on your stovetop while you’re cooking something else in the oven–the heat on the surface of the oven will help warm the dough.
5. Boil a small pot of water. Set the bread on the top oven rack and the pot of hot water below it and shut the oven door.
6. Turn on the oven, heat it up just slightly then turn it off. Place the bread inside the warm oven and shut the door.
7. Start bread early in the day–give yourself two or three or four times as long for the rise time.
8. Move to Cozumel. I bet bread rises there year-round.
9. Don’t make bread till spring.
10. DEFINITELY KIDDING ABOUT THAT LAST ONE. What is life without fresh homemade bread?
See, I knew I could come up with 10.
Good luck! Anybody got any more tips for raising bread in the winter? Let me hear ’em.