The importance of room temperature

All my recipes are written in my kitchen, in my home. Here in Surrey, England, as a rule I always prove my bread on the kitchen side at room temperature, let me clarify…

Room Temperature = The temperature of my room, on the day.

Generally, in my house, room temperature lies somewhere around 21°C/70°F.

If your “room temperature” falls a couple of degrees above or below what I would consider to be “normal” your dough will happily rise, and you can follow my recipes expecting similar results to me. This doesn’t mean that you can’t make bread in your kitchen if it’s not the same temperature as mine, it just means that timings might be a little different for you and here’s why:

Bread dough is time sensitive.

Inside our bread dough the baker’s yeast (in the case of a yeasted dough) and natural yeasts (in the case of sourdough) are making the gas we need for our dough to rise. The warmer they are the faster they produce gas and therefore the faster the rise, and the cooler they are the slower it all happens.

I’m not writing this with the intention that you need to somehow play with your thermostat to make sure your room is the same temperature as mine, it’s not important what the temperature is. Your dough will rise in temperatures outside of my range, but what is important is to know what the temperature is, because then you’ll know what to expect from your dough and you won’t be left scratching your head if rising takes ages!

For example.

If my dough was rested at 21°C/70°F and your room is 17°C/62°F expect your dough to take a little longer to rise or give your preferment a little more time to develop.

Since there is no one-size-fits-all recipe I want to give you the best chance of making a success of my recipes, that’s why I thought it would be handy for you to see what temperature I’m working at. From now on I’ll pop the temperature of my kitchen in my recipes. Then, you can recognise why your results might be different, and adjust the resting times accordingly.

If you live in more extreme temperatures and need to adapt the process slightly, check out this post for some tips on what you can do.