Clever and useful tips for your kitchen.
When making bread dough or biscuit mixtures, an easy way to ensure that your rolls or biscuits are all a similar size, so that they not only look even but will bake in the same amount of time, is to use your scales. Firstly, weight the total amount, divide this by the number of rolls or biscuits you are making and then weigh individual portions before shaping and placing on the tray. It will take a little longer but I promise your uniformity will be admired!read less
Yeast doughs need to be left in a warm, draught-free place to prove after kneading (known as the bulk prove), and usually again after shaping (known as the final prove). Proving is important as it ‘exercises’ the strands of gluten, making them stronger and helping to develop the structure of the bread. It also develops flavour. Yeast is active between 0.5°C–54.5°C but is at its happiest between 25°C–28°C.
This means, depending on the weather and the temperature of your kitchen, you may need to create a warm micro-environment to prove your dough, particularly on very cold days. There are a number of ways you can do this for the bulk and / or final prove stage:
- Pour some hot tap water into a saucepan and place the dough in a covered heatproof bowl over it, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl and replacing the hot water as it cools.
- Place dough in a covered bowl or container in your microwave and sit a jug of boiling water beside it (not touching the bowl though). Shut the door and leave to prove. You can also use a sealed styrofoam box with this method too.
- Turn just your pilot light on in your oven to heat your oven very gently. Place the dough in a covered heatproof bowl on the middle rack, close the door and leave to prove, making sure the temperature doesn't reach over 28-30°C.
- Place the dough in a covered heatproof bowl on a wooden board on top of a preheated oven.
- Place the dough in a covered heatproof bowl in a sunny windowsill or a spot outside in dappled sunlight (as long there is no draught).