How To Tell At A Glance If My Bread Dough Has Doubled / How Do I know if My Dough Has Risen Enough. Watch my video!
Making your own dough rising bucket - big deal, hardly the greatest thing since the wheel! But I 'made' my dough bucket and thought its a very nice, if not really necessary thing to have. If you are new to baking yeast breads, yeast dough needs to be proofed till it has doubled, almost doubled etc. Since I am not a veteran bread baker (if you are one, please don't laugh!), what I normally do is place the dough in a container, stick a scale inside near the wall of the container, read the level. Then mark the level up to where it has to rise in order to double, proof till it reaches the mark. Works fine for me.
But when I saw dough rising buckets on some bakeware sites, I wishfully thought it would be really nice to have one. Then, made my own, one of those uber simple things which make you wonder why you did not do this before. Nothing very ingenious, but again, if you bake yeast breads, here is a nice, inexpensive but useful thing to have. Transparent food grade containers with lids, a permanent water-proof marker which works on plastic surfaces and a scale is all you need. And uh, maybe broad transparent adhesive tape to cover what you write, just in case the permanent marker turns out to be a temporary one.
So we first go to the nearby departmental store, buy a couple of suitable boxes. Maybe 2-3 sizes, for varying amounts of dough. I got 2. Naw, am lying, I got 3. I was scared I would probably draw a slanting line on the box and I would not be able to erase the 'permanent' mark. But my fears were completely unfounded. Nope, I did not draw a perfect straight line! I was able to easily erase the slanting line :(. So much for the permanent marker I got! Alright, slow me got another marker which read as water-proof, suitable for plastic, glass metal blah blah. The small ones for 1 1/2 cups of flour dough kind and a bigger one for more. Need enough space for dough to rise till double and still have more space left.
So wash and dry the containers. In the worst case and the poorest marker, we can use the markings at least once when we take pictures. And re-write with a better marker later! And cover with tape. Just to be sure.
I like to read the dough level in centimeters, so have marked accordingly, 1/2 a centimeter and 1 centimeter readings. Suit yourself. A straight line first. My Math teacher will be proud of me (hopefully) - I start marking from where the scale reads 0 centimeters, then go on till the rim of the container. Allow it to dry, resist from testing the quality of the marker. Pictures first. Hardly a life-threatening situation, but take the risk later.
In goes my dough, press down gently to make it flat. Reads 4 cm. Either mark level (unbelievably, people like me actually tend to forget simple single digit numbers like 4!) with colored insulated tape kind of thing or make a note somewhere (avoid scribbling on your palm), preferably in a nice place like your baking book or recipe print-out. And yeah, cover the lid. Keep in a warm place.
Now, when my dough reaches 8, yeah, 4+ 4 its time to put it in the pan! You could actually laze on the couch and ask your kids to tell you the reading. For all the holiday stress, this this the least they can do for you ;-). Its such a pleasure to not be in doubt whether the dough has doubled!
Please note : Let the dough proof covered with the lid closed slightly ajar, keep the bucket in a warm spot or in the refrigerator as specified in the recipe. Note down the time your dough takes to double. After you shape the bread, your dough will take approximately the same time to double again, sometimes a bit earlier too. If you press your fingertip into the dough and the indentation remains, you know it has doubled. Always follow recipe instructions.
Now that I have shared my hi-tech bucket idea with you, could you please tell me fool-proof ways or things to permanently mark plastic with? Indelible ink? May be next time I go to cast my vote, I should bribe someone there to give me just 10 ml of that ink? How about black nail polish? Tell me!