Proofing & Ripe Test (Second Rise)
Many doughs will have a second rising which is in the pan. The second rising, or proofing, gives a better volume, a more mellow yeast flavor and a finer texture to breads. Use the ripe test (below) to determine when your dough is ready for baking. With the right amount of proofing, you can expect a beautiful oven spring from your dough.
Suggested Rising Methods
1. Oven Rising
The oven is an ideal place for rising. For an electric oven or a gas oven with the electronic ignition, heat the oven at the lowest setting for one or two minutes, then TURN IT OFF. In other gas ovens, the pilot light will provide enough warmth, so you don't need to turn it on at all. The oven temperature should not exceed 90°F during the rising time. Place a pan of very warm water toward the back of the oven to provide moisture, which keeps the dough soft during rising. Place the covered bowl or pan of dough on the center rack and close the door.
2. Microwave Rising
The microwave oven can also be used for the first rising of doughs. Place 1 cup of water in a glass measuring cup in the microwave. Heat on high for 2 minutes. This creates a moist environment to keep the dough soft during rising. Place covered bowl of dough in microwave and close the door.
3. Warming Drawer Rising
Put 1 cup of very hot water in a glass measuring cup or small bowl in warming drawer. This adds moisture and will keep the dough soft during rising. Turn knob to low or "proof". Place covered bowl of dough in warming drawer and close door.
Ripe test - Second rise (or Proof)
The ripe test to determine if a proofed loaf is ready for the oven is a little different than the method used after the first rise. Simply touch the side of the dough lightly with your fingertip. If the indentation remains, the loaf is ripe and ready for the oven.
(Click on picture for larger view)
See Rising & Ripe Test (1st rise) for additional information on rising.