It’s time for a little bread baking 101! Baking homemade bread is a joy, but plenty of questions can pop up after you’ve combined your flour, water, yeast and salt.
The question that looms largest in the minds of both amateur bakers and seasoned pros is, “how long does it take for bread to rise?” Don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you here.
How long does it take for bread to proof?
The short answer is that it depends. Factors like the temperature of your kitchen, the freshness of your yeast, humidity and water temperature can all affect the proofing time of your bread dough.
In a toasty kitchen, your dough may proof in as little as an hour (or less!). When the temperatures dip, it can take much longer—upwards of 2 or even 3 hours. Here are a few other essential tips for proofing bread when it’s cold.
How do you get dough to rise faster?
Try letting dough proof next to a heat source, or in your oven with just the light on. Since heat rises, on top of the fridge is a good spot, too!
Test Kitchen tip: Don’t forget, both sweet doughs and whole-grain loaves take longer to rise, so plan accordingly!
What’s the best container for proofing bread dough?
The ideal bread proofing bowl is glass. If you mark the outside of the bowl when you put in the dough ball, you’ll easily be able to tell when it has doubled in size. You can also use a proofing basket (perfect for sourdough), or a bread tin if you want to create a specific shape.
One of the best things for covering your dough while it’s rising is a damp cloth or paper towel. If your bowl is deep enough, use cling film. If I’m working with a particularly sticky dough, I’ll rub the tiniest amount of oil onto some cling film to help prevent my dough from sticking.
How will dough look and feel when it’s proofed?
Dough that’s risen for the right amount of time will have a full, puffed appearance. Your loaf should have expanded to roughly twice its size. To test if your dough has proofed long enough, gently poke it. It should feel soft and supple, and your finger should leave an indent in the dough.
If your bread doesn’t see enough proofing time, it won’t rise properly. You’ll wind up with a flat, dense doorstop rather than a lovely, fluffy loaf.
On the flip side, if you overproof, your dough will wind up collapsing. If you have a problem with overproofing, try letting the dough rise for a shorter period of time or at a cooler temperature.
What should you do if your dough doesn’t rise properly?
If your dough isn’t rising correctly, yeast might be past its prime or your water may have been the wrong temperature (too hot and the yeast will die; too cold and the yeast won’t grow). Always use fresh yeast and invest in a thermometer to help your yeast get the job done. You’ll be on your way to a perfect loaf of homemade bread in no time.