There is no greater feeling of satisfaction than baking your own treats at home. One of the more advanced techniques is making baked goods containing yeast. This is very tricky, especially to a newbie. Graduating from cookies to bread or rolls is quite and accomplishment, but can be a little discouraging once you've tried your first hand at a rock hard block of dough. For those newbies that do not have a bread machine, which proofs the dough within the dough process, it can be a little intimidating to know how to do this yourself.
When using yeast, the best way to bake is to proof your dough. Proofing is a baking term in which you allow your dough to rest and the yeast to ferment. Or more easily referred to as "letting the dough rise". There are a ton of recipes out there that say after you've added all of your ingredients, let the dough rise, in a dark, moist area. Well, it's a little more complicated than that if you really want a good dough.
There is a great method for proofing dough easily that will result in a great dough every time, as long as you don't overproof, or let sit too long.
You will need:
An oven-safe bowl
Spray oil, vegetable oil, any type of oil on a paper towel
A damp clean clothe
Timer (or just watch the clock)
Pan of boiling water
Sounds complicated? It's really not once you get going.
1. First, be sure that your dough is well kneaded.
2. Boil some water.
3. Spray oil the oven-safe bowl. (Or wipe it with an oil soaked paper towel)
4. Place dough in the bowl and cover with the moist towel.
5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees for approximately 1 minute. (This is where you need your timer)
6. Pour boiling water in the second oven-safe bowl and place the bowl on the lowest rack in your oven.
7. Place your dough covered in a damp cloth on one of the racks towards the top of the oven.
8. Let rise for at least a half hour, depending on how much it needs to rise. Most recipes, the dough can proof from 45 minutes to an hour.
This is a fool-proof method of proofing your dough, without a bread machine or a proof box. Yes, it does take a little bit of effort, but once you are able to bake a great loaf of bread or rolls or what ever baking concoction, it will be well worth it.
Eryn on April 25, 2015:
Would you need to reheat the oven or re boil the water after 30 minutes if your dough is not completely proofed?