Ask any person that loves bread what they love most about it. You'll get answers like the smell, taste, the airy texture, and slight puffiness when it is just rightly done.
All this boils down to getting your dough mixed right and allowed to rise for enough time to get that fresh fluff many crave for. Thus, the importance of ensuring that you get the proper know-how for it.
Starting off, there are three main reasons your dough may not rise properly:
- You used inactive yeast
- You didn't let it rise for long enough
- The dough wasn't placed in the right environment good enough to facilitate rising
The first two can be easily solved, but the last? Not unless you can identify that perfect spot in your kitchen.
Provided that you have made a healthy dough, you can control the rising time of your dough pretty easily if you know where to keep it to rise. Keeping in mind that the perfect spot for bread rising is warm and humid, here are a few things to do:
1. Place the dough in a tightly sealed container
This facilitates the dough's rising because it conserves temperature and humidity as the yeast's activities start. It is this humidity that helps keep the dough soft so that rising is quicker.
To do this, cover the dough with a towel, a cling film, or even better a rigid lid, which will ensure that heat or moisture doesn't escape.
2. The best place for your dough to rise is your oven – when it is switched off!
Experts advise that you preheat your oven then have it cool down a little before explaining the dough in it to rise. The key to achieving this is ensuring that your oven is going to stay warm enough to facilitate rising, but be careful. You don't want the heat in there too high!
3. Place your dough in a steamed oven or microwave
This is another technique commonly used by experienced bakers. To use this technique, boil water in your microwave or oven. Wait for about 45 minutes to let the oven cool down a bit (while the hot water is still inside).
This creates the ideal environment for dough rising; it is heated just right, and unlike that mentioned earlier, it is dewy!
When the time's up, place the dough in the oven and quickly close the door. You don't want all that good heat to escape!
Other important places you can place your dough are high on a shelf, atop a continually running machine like your freezer or fridge, atop a heating pad, and close to a radiating source (e.g., stove, etc.)
There is no ultimate rule to finding the perfect place to rise your dough other than it should be warm and facilitate humidity. So, find what works best in your kitchen – it could even be a preheated cooler – and you're good to go!