How to cover rising dough (no it’s not with a tea towel) … kitchen helper


The pandemic brought out the inner baker in many of us, and you might have enjoyed making the odd loaf or two in recent years. But did you know that covering your rising dough with a tea towel like grandma used to, actually results in a less risen, smaller and more dense loaf?  So what should you use instead?

So just what’s wrong with a tea towel?  Tea towels allow heat to escape, which causes the fermenting dough to lose temperature (up to 7 degrees Celsius in a bowl covered with a tea towel, as compared to only 2 degrees with a firmly fitting cover.) As the dough cools, fermentation slows, resulting in a sluggish rise and an under-proofed loaf with a tight crumb and low overall volume. 

Also, tea towels let in air, which causes the dough to dry out and form a leathery skin. These dry patches won’t stretch during rising to develop an elastic dough, resulting in a dense, squat loaf – not something you want!

For best results, use a non-porous, tight fitting cover such as a saucepan lid, bowl cover or even a sheet pan laid on top of the bowl, weighted down with something. Also make sure your bowl is deep enough for the dough to double in size without hitting the cover and impeding its rise.

Not quite as Instagram-worthy as a tea towel, but you’ll have a better loaf.

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