Bread dough in a rattan basket on a table made of wood, the end of proofing, ready for baking.
The Unexpected Solution For Easily Proofing Bread In A Cold Kitchen
By Haldan Kirsch
Temperature plays a far more significant role in baking than simply what you set your oven to, as the wrong ambient temperature can ruin a bake as early as when mixing the ingredients. One of the toughest stages to control the temperature is the proofing stage, where the ideal temperature range is between 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit.
During the proofing stage, yeast cells feed on the sugar inside of the flour, producing carbon dioxide and other gasses as a result. Because yeast is a living organism, it thrives in certain temperatures, and any temperature below about 70 degrees Fahrenheit will slow down the fermentation process, causing your dough to rise too slowly and leading to inconsistent results.
Professional kitchens rely on appliances called proofing cabinets to solve this issue, but if you don't have one, there's still a simple solution that comes courtesy of the gardener's tool shed. Seedling mats are heated mats used by gardeners to give their early plantings warmth, and they're an affordable way to provide the gentle, controlled heat that your bread needs to rise.