Tuesday, 7 August 2012
The Fabled "Warm Spot" in Your Kitchen
If you have ever followed a recipe to make bread, or any other bready product which is leavened with yeast for that matter, then you will undoubtedly have heard of this famous "warm spot" in your kitchen in which you need to leave your dough so that it can rise. I'm not sure about you, but this notion held me back in my first few attempts to make bread.
I'm not sure if every other cook out there has this spot stashed somewhere in your kitchen which is just "warm" to the right temperature at all times of day and times of year? I can tell you that I don't. I don't have any particularly warm spots in my kitchen at any time of year - let alone in winter when my house becomes super cold and a tad draughty!
So - I'm here to share with you my tip for making your dough rise perfectly every time.
1) Prepare your dough according to the recipe.
2) Place the dough back in the bowl and cover it well with a tea towel (tuck the tea towel under the bottom of the bowl to keep it covering the dough with no draught). I recommend a thick plastic or glass mixing bowl rather than a metal bowl.
3) Grab your largest saucepan and fill it up with water.
4) Put the saucepan over the heat on the biggest burner of your stove (or alternately, the burner which is closest to a spare piece of bench space on which you can place your bowl).
5) Place the covered bowl next to the stove burner (about 8-12cm away from the stove) to allow the heat of the burner and the saucepan to warm the bowl gently.
6) Leave for the required length (usually about 45 minutes), rotating the bowl every so often to allow even warming. Don't forget to check the water level in the saucepan and keep replenishing the water so that you don't burn out your saucepan.
Note: this method works best on a gas stovetop (mind you, everything works better on a gas stove!), as gas emits heat at the level of the burner while it heats. However, I'm sure it would have a similar result with other types of stove, although may take longer to reach the desired rise.
If you have any bread making or dough-rising tips which you have learnt or have discovered first hand then I'd love to learn them!
Happy bread making!