As a seasoned pastry chef, I understand the nuances of bread making, and I’m here to guide you through getting that perfect rise every time. So here are some essential tips on proving (or proofing) bread dough.
The question asked in our Facebook group was this…
“So what are the instructions for proving?”
It’s a fairly broad question, but these are the main points that many people don’t think about.
- The Importance of the right environment for proving: After you’ve kneaded your dough in the Thermomix (isn’t it fantastic how it saves us so much time and effort?), the next crucial step is proving. Proving, or letting the dough rise, is where the magic happens. It’s all about creating the perfect warm and cozy environment for your dough to flourish. The ideal temperature for proving bread is typically between 24°C to 27°C in my Online Scroll Zoom I talk about FDT which is final dough temperature, and how to achieve this without guages etc.
- It’s not about time: Loads of recipes state how long to prove for. This is so confusing. What temperature was the writer’s kitchen? Or Where did they put their dough to prove it? The time it takes to prove dough can be wildly different from one environment to another, but still be OK.
- Why I prefer Thermoservers over Silicone Mats: While many consultants might recommend wrapping your dough in a Thermo mat or silicone baking mat, I personally find this less effective. Don’t wrap your dough tight, as it needs room to do its thing. As a pastry chef, I lean towards using tools that provide consistent results. That’s where the Thermoserver comes in. These insulated bowls are a Thermomix staple for a reason – they maintain a steady temperature, creating an ideal proving environment for your dough. Alternative ideas: if you don’t have a Thermoserver, you can use any regular bowl; cover it with cling wrap and a towel. This setup also works well to keep the warmth in and give your dough the snug spot to rise properly.
- Should the dough double in size?: What does that actually mean? If you start with a small amount of dough, don’t expect it to puff up out of your Thermoserver. The standard advice of waiting for the dough to double in size can be misleading, especially for home bakers. While it’s a helpful general guideline, it’s only sometimes applicable. Different types of dough and recipes call for varying proving times and extents of rise. Look for signs like a smooth, slightly puffed appearance. The dough should look noticeably larger but not necessarily doubled. Instead of solely relying on the amount your dough has grown, I encourage you to try using my next tip.
- How to tell when your dough is perfectly proven: Use the Poke Test! One common challenge I notice with home bakers is the uncertainty about when the dough is ready to bake. It’s crucial not to rush this step. A simple and effective test is the pressure test. Gently press your finger about 1.5 cm (half an inch) into the dough. If the indentation holds for a few seconds and then slowly begins to disappear, your dough is likely ready. If it springs back immediately, it needs more time; if the dough collapses, it’s over-proved.
Conclusion: Remember, patience is key in bread making. By choosing the right container for proving your dough and understanding when it’s perfectly risen, you’re setting yourself up for success. Happy baking, and stay tuned for more tips and tricks to make the most out of your Thermomix!