Baking Bread in Extremes of Temperature

I very rarely mess about with the temperature of my dough. I find that the most problem proof method of making bread is to keep everything room temperature and to prove at room temperature, therefore keeping the temperature consistent throughout the whole process and sidestepping a TON of common potential problems. However, some of you have told me in your comments on my videos and blog posts that you live in the far reaches of the world, in places I have never made bread before, countries I have never seen and maybe I never will, where it might be super hot or super chilly!

When it comes to resting your bread dough, knowing the temperature of your room is important if you’d like to have final results similar to mine, and we’ve spoken about this before.

The temperature of my home and kitchens I have baked in here in the UK tends to be between 18°C/64°F and 25°C/77°F sometimes up to 28°C/82°F. If you live in temperature outside this range you can, of course, still make amazing bread at home, you’ll just need to have a little think about what you can do…

Too hot?

If you live in a particularly hot country here are a few things you can do to help your dough, and stop it from rising too fast!

1.       Have a think, is there somewhere in your home you can leave your dough to prove that is cooler?

2.       Perhaps you can adjust the amount of yeast in a recipe, taking some away. Less yeast will mean that your dough rises up slower.

3.       Start with cool water or chilled water. Your dough will warm up over time, but at least it will have a head start.

 

Too cold?

Equally, if your “normal” temperature is a little on the chilly side, here are a few suggestions of what you can do.

1.       Maybe there is somewhere in your home that is a little warmer, and at a consistent temperature, where your dough will quite happily tick along. Some people use the oven when it is off, but the light is on.

2.       Start with liquid a little on the warm side. This is a little risky as the dough will constantly be trying to dry out on the surface. You’ll need to cover your dough with clingfilm, or an upturned bowl to prevent this from happening.

3.       Try a gadget. Proving boxes are available like the Brod & Taylor Folding Proofer that creates a warm and humid environment for your dough to prove in.

 

I am generally not a fan of moving dough about to find somewhere it will rise up, in fact, I never do it, but on the same hand I appreciate that temperatures vary all over the world and in some cases “needs must”, so when deciding what to do with your dough, here are a few things to remember:

Temperature is not a problem, change in temperature is. Wherever you rest your dough the temperature must be consistent.

Draughts are your enemy. Movement of air from a window or a heat source will dry out your dough and cause them to rise inconsistently inside. Avoid at all costs.

There is no “one size fits all” solution. Expect that if you are in a cooler place your dough might rise a little slower, give it the time it needs, and if you are in a warmer place it’ll happen quicker. Keep an eye on it certainly in the final proof, and if it’s rising quickly in the bowl you might want to give it a fold halfway through the prove to make sure it doesn’t collapse by the end.