I bought a dehydrator about a year ago and the product manual says that a dehydrator is great for leavening bread. I have tried this a number of times with (seemingly) good results, but I am unsure if the dehydrator is having an adverse affect on the final product.
I have the 9 Tray Excalibur, and I usually place a bowl of warm water at the bottom, then place a large mixing bowl with a dish cloth over the top on the third tray (just above the bowl of water). I'll turn the dehydrator to 95°F (35°C), and let the dough rise according to the recipe.
When dehydrating fruit/vegetables or making trail mixes, etc., the dehydration time is usually measured in days rather than hours. From that perspective, I don't think that my breads should be significantly dehydrated during the rising process, but I don't know for sure.
Also, the Excalibur works by 'fanning' the moist air away from the trays inside. The fan is not forceful, and is not powerful enough to shift a damp dish towel, but it will easily lift a piece of paper towel or similar. As I typically use a damp towel to cover the bowl, I don't think air flow is an issue either.
Are my assumptions correct that this is a safe thing to do, or am I setting myself up for failure and dooming some would-be delicious breads?