Run for Cover

Not much baking this week. After making an amazing batch of sourdough, which you witnessed in the last post, I made a too-moist, horrendous next batch, which zapped my zeal (the dough had way too much moisture–and I pretended not to notice). I didn’t dare share–and we still have one uneaten half loaf that will end up in the trash bin soon. It was pretty icky.

I then turned to rye crackers. Lots of success there. Cut them into little hearts and they all got eaten up in a minute. And it being Cheesefare, my husband made a delicious souffle! But enough about the end product, I’d like to give you a few hints that might help you during your baking efforts.

I have a small drawer in our kitchen island where I keep all the cloths I use when baking. Four of these cloths are thickish white napkins that I use especially for making no-knead bread, and two of them are cotton tea towels that I use for covering my rising dough. I do not wash them after every use, I allow them to dry, then remove any dough or flour with my scraper, shake them over the trash to get whatever loose flour is there, then put them back in the drawer for next time. Sometimes… they do need to be washed, but not often. Here I am using my cloths to cover a large batch of bread I was making. (I took everything outside into the cool air to try to slow the rise since I needed to run carpool.)

But whenever I can–I try not to use my cloths. They can be messy, and take time and effort to clean for the next use. I have found lids and plates from various cupboards that fit tightly over the rims of my two big bowls. They help keep the dough moist during its first rise in the bowl,

and if I’m making a round loaf, which is often the case, then I simply rinse out the bowl and use it again (but now upside down) to cover the dough during the second round of proofing.

The whole purpose of covering your dough when it rises is to maintain moisture and heat so the yeast can have its heyday and expand your dough. If you were to leave the dough uncovered, a dry crust would develop and it would be an Ugly Loaf of bread once baked. The crust would inhibit oven spring, making the bread more dense, and carmelization would most likely not occur. I know. I’ve done it!

If you have any tips that help you in the rising of dough, please share 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Run for Cover

  1. My favorite “proofing box” is a large, clear “under-the-bed” box turned upside down. It’s large enough to cover four or five regular size loaf pans or my extra-large cookie sheet for free-form loaves. I keep an extra one tucked in a corner of my kitchen, so it is ready to use. When I need two, I borrow one from the kids.

  2. Very interesting, thank you. I used to do a lot of yeast-dough baking and I now remember I had a baking cloth for kneading the dough on. If I return to baking bread, I will come back to this post!

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