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How can I easily measure the volume of my bread as it rises? I usually eyeball it or test for feel, but this isn't very accurate, and definitely isn't getting the full rising potential out of it.

Proofing buckets seem like one possibility, but I don't want to buy a large uni-task kitchen item if possible. I'm also not sure what volumes to expect from a pound of dough.

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Are you wanting to measure how much the dough is rising, or how big the resulting loaf is (which includes oven spring during baking)? –  jontyc Dec 13 '11 at 23:42
    
@jontyc: I'm just looking to measure rising. My oven spring is excellent, and I can eyeball that well enough. –  BobMcGee Dec 15 '11 at 13:18

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Do you have a large plastic container? Something like this: Plastic container.

Use a non-permanent marker on the outside to mark the initial volume.

A small diameter will make it easier to monitor the volume.

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Instead of a marker, you can also use a rubber band to mark the starting and / or goal volume. –  KatieK Dec 9 '11 at 16:58
    
@Aaronut: Most plastics won't survive the oven, but why would you put that in the oven‽ Unclear why you'd ever do that with a bulk fermentation bucket. –  derobert Dec 9 '11 at 20:09
    
It's a good idea, but I don't have any Cambros or anything nearly that big. My largest plastic container is a quart or two. Is there a way to work around that? –  BobMcGee Dec 10 '11 at 2:54
    
Masking tape works too. And Bob, consider buying one of the plastic bins. They seem to rise better than other containers do. –  FuzzyChef Dec 10 '11 at 6:03

You can use a transparent glass bowl (which doubles as a mixing bowl, so is not a uni-tasker), but since the sides aren't straight you'll have to create a scale for it.

Attach a piece of tape to the side (in such as way that you can detach the tape and put it back in the same place—e.g., very top of tape is very top of bowl) Pour in a measured amount of water (say, 2 cups). Mark the level on the tape. Add more water (another two cups). Mark it. Repeat as high as you'd like. You'll notice the lines get closer the higher you go. You now have a guide you can use to measure rising in the bowl, despite it having angled sides. If your dough comes to 3 lines, its doubled at 6.

You can remove the tape before washing, and put it back on afterwards. You can duplicate your piece by measuring the distance to each line on a ruler (with the tape lying flat on a surface), and then prepare a new piece of tape with the same measurements.

A sharpie might stay on the bowl for a bit, but personally I run my mixing bowls through the dishwasher, and I doubt marker would survive that.

Alternatively, if you have large ones, you can use glass liquid measures (you'd want one at least 2L, I'd think)

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