Coat Bread Dough With Cooking Spray To Keep It From Drying Out While Rising

If you've ever made bread that had a long proofing or fermentation time, you may have noticed a tough crust form on top of the dough. It's annoying to remove, but easy to prevent; you just need some cooking spray. Photo by Rebecca Siegel.

A "crust" on a loaf of bread may not seem like that big of a deal, but this isn't the good kind. A crust that forms during proofing or fermentation makes shaping the loaf super frustrating, and separating the hardened region from the rest of the dough is almost impossible. To keep bread dough nice and supple while it rises or ferments all you have to do is give the top a quick hit with some nonstick vegetable-oil spray. This will keep the top of the dough from drying out and hardening, preventing all of that crusty nonsense.


    What happened to throwing a damp tea towel over it?

      I did a baker's apprentice course a decade ago. We used compressed yeast and bread flour, and we always put a damp towel over the dough during both rises.

      I dropped out (I wasn't that good, and hated the hours), but started baking bread at home this year. My doughs, using plain flour and instant yeast, are always too light, fluffy, and sticky for a damp towel. It'd end up like chewing gum in the carpet.

      I'm not up on the science behind bread making, so I don't know why that is.

      So I put my dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover it with cling wrap, and put it in the microwave next to a mug of freshly boiled water that i re-boil every half hour. It keeps the space warm but not hot, to help the rise. If I'm making a large enough batch that there's a risk of it touching the plastic, I spray it with oil to prevent sticking.

      If I'm baking with an uncovered tin, i also spritz the top with water to keep it from drying out.

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