Whenever I make anything which involves using dry active yeast I know I will have to leave it in a warm place for about an hour or an hour and a half to let it raise and double it's size. In the past I've heated up the oven to about 180C for about 3 minutes and turned off the heat to enable the oven to generate enough heat just to get it warm so that I use that warmth for my proofing. Having placed the dough in an enamel mixing bowl I would use a damp towel and leave my dough in the oven for about an hour and it would double it's size. It works without a hitch and I've always found that this method is the best for me but I wanted to see if I could some how make that time shorter. Less time proofing and the faster I could turn out whatever I was baking.
Getting back to basics whenever I make anything with yeast is to check if the yeast is still active. If it's going to work or not is the most important thing when you make bread. Now I'm not an expert at making bread but I know if the yeast is not working out than the bread is just not going to raise and you won't get that yummy fluffy soft bread. So for starters I've always put in one teaspoon of sugar whenever I proof my yeast with warm water and I've found that it always works.
Mixing and kneading just works the dough before you leave it to rest and final proofing or final fermentation to let it raise and double it's bulk. This is the part that takes the longest and this is what I wanted to see if I could fasten the time. So my experiment takes place here:
How to quicken the time for the yeast dough to proof?
So I proofed my yeast till it was foamy and mixed it in with the bread flour and after a good 10 minutes of kneading I was ready to proof the dough. And how did I do this .... the microwave of course! Yes, the microwave..... I know not the most traditional method of proofing but it can generate quick bursts of heat and it actually works.
How do you Microwave proof dough?
Okay this is how it works. I placed the dough in an ungreased microwave proof casserole dish (Corningware casserole in my experiment), uncovered and microwaved it for 3 minutes at low heat. Then I left it to rest for 3 minutes and microwaved it again for 3 minutes at low heat. I let it rest this time for 6-8 minutes but placed a cover over the dough..... and guess what happened it actually doubled in size! It worked and in roughly less than 20 minutes I managed to proof the yeast dough with the microwave and this would have normally taken me an hour.
I'm not sure if this works for all types of bread but give it try and see what happens.