Keep the Heat on!

| 5/21/2018 8:47:00 AM

Loretta SorensenDakota winters are cold — cold — cold!

Those penetrating cold temperatures probably foiled many of my early bread-baking efforts because bread dough rises quickly if it's at an optimum temperature — somewhere around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. At room temperature, the rise can take as much as four hours.

If you're in no hurry to bake the dough once it's ready for the second rise, you might consider placing it in the refrigerator overnight. Your pan must be covered to help keep the dough moist, but not restrict the rise, which should be perfected after about 8 hours.

Keeping your bread ingredients at a consistent temperature range between 90 and 100 degrees — from start to baking point — will coax yeast to accelerate within 30 to 45 minutes, producing that beautiful, domed-shaped loaf!

For my most successful bread-baking efforts, I started with the ideal temperature range when I start mixing ingredients. Some bread recipes advise using lukewarm liquids to aid a speedy rise. I've found the term "lukewarm" to be too vague. I've also found that putting lukewarm liquid into a very cold glass measuring cup quickly reduces the liquid's temperature, slowing yeast action.

My process to keep my fragile dough between 90 and 100 degrees farenheit from start to finish includes using hot tap water to warm the bread machine pan and measuring cup that holds my yeast mixture. I give the hot water about 5 minutes to warm the measuring cup, then pour it out.