Since starting this blog that has featured quite a bit of baking and recipes for various ‘oven products’ I tend to get quite a few questions about baking. My main interest and passion is in baking yeast breads and that is actually what I get the most questions about. The answer to the #1 question I get is typically “RISING TIME”.
I bet you can guess what the question/questions are: Why do my rolls turn out so dense? My loaves aren’t fluffy, why is that? The texture of my bread is lacking, can you help me out?
My #1 answer is: (if I know your yeast is fresh, your recipe is right and your measuring is decent…etc.)
Have you allowed for sufficient rising time for your bread?
A few things will affect the time that it will take your bread to rise:
Amount of yeast used and its potency. (active dry is less potent than instant and more yeast isn’t always better)
Temperature of the environment. (Yeast likes to rise where it is warm, the cooler the room/place: the slower the rise time). *Don’t put dough it into an oven that is on, it is too dry and too hot.
Never trust a recipe’s timeframe when you are considering how long you ‘should’ rise your shaped dough. Instead, judge your risen dough by pressing your pinky into the dough 1/2″ or so. Make a depression and then wait for 3 minutes. If the depression is filled back in that means your dough is continuing to rise. If the depression stays, it is time to bake.
Usually a recipe says “rise until double”, I just don’t agree. I say more like double-and-a-half or triple. As you will see in the photos below, the risen shaped rolls are larger than ‘double in size’. (Or maybe it is just my perception anyway!)
To teach you (by seeing) how much you can expect your little dough balls to rise before you should bake them I have three photos. These photos are what my rolls normally look like when I’m making them at home. Not pretty, perfect or measured to the tenth of an ounce like for competitions but the real rolls we eat on Sunday nights. I actually took these photographs to send to a person for this very reason of explaining the importance of rise-times.
Photo #1 is immediately after shaping the dough into balls.
Photo #2 is after a significant rise time. (2 + hours)
Photo #3 is after baking.
Need a great dinner roll recipe? Try my Prize Winning Dinner Roll recipe.
thanks for the tips….does the pinky test apply to all kinds of flour–rye, whole wheat?
Yes it sure does Lisa! Sure thing!
thank you–would love to be in your kitchen learning how to bake bread