Baking bread on a cold day is delicious in itself; kneading the pleasantly warm dough, inhaling the mouth-watering aroma of the baking loaves and rolls. But, when the days turn colder, finding the perfect spot to raise bread dough is a daunting task. Top of the fridge? Nope, that felt too cold. In the oven with the pilot light on? Nope, I don't have a pilot light. Run the cat out of the sun beam shining through the window and put the dough there? Nope, she wouldn't hear of it.
A Great Idea!
Curious how other people raised their bread dough in their cold houses, I searched online and found a great idea - raise your bread dough on top of the clothes dryer. I loved that idea! I hadn't thought about that spot and hadn't really given much thought to how much heat the top of the dryer gives off.
I'd been doing laundry and had a load of clothes ready to go into the dryer so I piled them in, turned it on, gave it a few minutes to heat up and then touched the top of the dryer to see how warm it was - it was wonderful! I knew the clothes would be drying for a while because they were my hubby's heavy work pants, sweatshirts and quilted flannel shirts, so I thought the dryer top would be perfect to use for raising the bread dough.
I put the bowl of dough on the dryer and waited. And waited. And grew impatient. So, I decided to improve on the idea and make a cozy, warm place for my dough to raise.
I poked around in my cardboard box collection (you have one of those, don't you?) and found one about 16" by 12" by 12" and cut one side off of it. What I had left was a three-sided box with three flaps.
I then put a dish towel on the warmest area of the top of the dryer, put the bowl of dough on top of the dish towel, placed the box over top of the dough and closed the flaps. It was wonderful! The dough raised perfectly while the laundry was drying!
I shaped and readied the dough for it's second raising, then tossed my second load of laundry of the day into the dryer, turned it on, placed my pans into the cardboard dough raising box. By the time the laundry was dry, the dough was raised and the loaves were ready to bake! Perfect!
I am thrilled with this idea! I enjoy baking bread on cold, autumn and winter days and I, like most people, have extra laundry to do during the colder months so this will work out wonderfully!
So, to raise bread dough in a cold house:
*Plan to make bread on the days you have at least two loads of laundry to do.
*Get your dough ready while the first load of laundry is washing.
*Find a clean, cardboard box - the one I used was about 16"by12"by12" - and cut one side off of it, leaving a three-sided box with three flaps.
*Toss your laundry into the dryer.
*Place a dish towel on the warmest place on top of the dryer and place your bowl of bread dough on the towel.
*Cover with the box and wait for the dough to raise.
*After the dough has raised, shape it and get it ready for the second raising.
*Toss your second load of laundry in the dryer.
*Place your pans of dough on the dish towel on top of the dryer.
*Cover with the box.
A wonderful bread proofing box without the high cost!