Serious sourdough bread bakers have a set of trusty tools to craft beautiful artisan loaves; from proofing baskets to special blades for scoring the loaves artistically, and even baking vessels to mimic the heat and steam of a professional oven. All for good reason -- these tools are used over and over to improve the sourdough baking process. One of the most important parts of creating flavorful sourdough involves allowing the bread to proof, or rise. The natural yeasts create lots of bubbles that cause the bread to rise, but the dough needs to stay moist during the process. If your proofing container doesn't have a lid, you might be wasting a lot of plastic wrap covering the rising dough, which is where that shower cap comes in.
The same shower cap that keeps your hair dry is the perfect substitute for a moisture-proof covering when you're waiting for your sourdough to rise. The stretchy edges accommodate a wide variety of shaped containers, and the durable plastic is washable and reusable -- perfect for frequent bakers and novices alike.
A Well-Fitting Cover Keeps Sourdough Happy
Many dedicated bakers make use of a banneton, also known as a proofing basket to shape sourdough for the final rise. The baskets don't have lids, so bakers are faced with the decision of how to cover the dough. But even if you don't use these specialized containers, many other bowls and containers don't have well-fitting lids either, and a shower cap is again a handy choice. A covered environment helps maintain consistent temperature and humidity, making an optimal atmosphere for the natural yeast in the dough to thrive. Yeast is a key player in the fermentation process, responsible for the distinctive flavor of the finished bread. Keeping the dough covered provides a stable environment, ensuring a more reliable rise and development of flavors.
Aside from preventing moisture loss, proofing dough should be covered to prevent airborne particles, dust, or unwanted microorganisms that could negatively impact the fermentation process and result in undesirable flavors or textures in the final product. A basic shower cap provides all that protection and is easy to store, too.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.