My dough is not proving because the room temperature is too cold in my house. Is there another method to make my dough rise without over-proving it?
Assuming you want to prove it fairly quickly (i.e. you can't wait for it to prove at a cool room temperature because of when you want to eat it), you have a few options:
Find a warm place:
- If you have a stored hot water system, the airing cupboard is good. Although if your hot-water tank is badly insulated it may get too hot in there.
- On top of the boiler/water heater, with a towel or blanket over the top.
Make a warm place:
- Some ovens have a very low setting suitable for proving dough. Others are well insulated and with the aid of an oven thermometer you can get a suitable temperature to hold for a while. This can cause the surface of the dough to dry out.
- Put the dough in a bowl, put that bowl in a sink of hand-hot water. A thermometer would be a good idea as too hot will kill the yeast.
In most cases you should make sure the dough is covered with something suitable for food -- you don't want dust etc. getting in, or the dough drying out.
Temperatures: 27--38°C (80--100°F) should be good. I'd err towards the low end of this range to avoid over-drying.
Yeast are alive. They eat sugar and produce alcohol and carbon dioxide and flavor. The warmer they are the faster they eat and grow until it is to hot and they start to die.
When it gets colder they slow down but don't stop until frozen.
The answer to your question is therefore: either find some way to warm them up or schedule enough time for them to work slowly.
Using warm water in your dough and putting it in a draft free spot works well. Letting them work slowly results in more flavorful bread, so you might consider just making your dough the night before.