Winter can bring many challenges – not just for us but also for our bread! Colder temperatures mean that yeast will work more slowly, and your bread dough may not rise. Whether you’re using a sourdough starter or baker’s yeast in your breads, read, and watch, on to get my top tips on how to get bread to rise in cold weather.

Watch my video on the subject here, or scroll down to read all about it.

How to get bread to rise in cold weather – video overview

One of the things I tackled in a recent Sourdough Breads class was baking sourdough, and indeed any bread when the weather’s cold outside. It’s winter here still and we’ve seen temperatures below zero in recent weeks. That can really affect how your bread rises. So I wanted to share three tips on how to get bread to rise when it’s cold weather.

1. Use more yeast – either baker’s, or that found in a starter.

If you’re using a rye sourdough starter – which is often used in small amounts – try doubling the amount required by the recipe to increase the amount of yeast. If you’re using baker’s yeast, try adding 7g instead of 5g, or a similar increase to the amount required. More yeast, however you add it, producing gas will rise your dough more quickly.

2. Warm up the temperature – but not too much!

The temperature at which you rise your dough will affect how quickly and effectively it rises – the heart of the issue in colder weather. Yeast flourish in a warm environment – 25 – 35C is good for them! Use tepid (hand temperature) water to both refresh your starter and make up your dough. You could also turn the oven light on and allow your dough to prove there, but don’t turn the oven on, even to the lowest temperature – it will still be warm enough to kill the yeast.

3.Give it more time.

When it’s colder outside, you may find that your bread making extends across the whole day, or with sourdough into two or more days. For example, make up a sourdough dough in the morning and leave it at least five or six hours to rise. You may also need to leave doughs made with baker’s yeast for up to two or three hours in the first rise when it’s colder. As well as making sure your dough is well risen, giving your dough plenty of time to rise also allows plenty of flavour to develop. This is true whatever the weather outside! And you can go off and get on with other things whilst your dough rises.

So that’s three tips on how to get bread to rise when it’s cold outside. Please do let me know if you have any questions – you can post them in the comments below.

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