Trying out the new oven

I have moved again, this time into a flat of my own. Unfortunately, the flat is in a centuries-old timber-framed building with large, draughty sash windows and no central heating – in short, it’s freezing cold. The average kitchen temperature in the last few days has been between 8 and 10°c!

Obviously, one of the first things I wanted to do was test-drive the resident oven (electric, basic, as clean as could be expected), but the first problem I came up against was proving my dough. I made a milk loaf dough and, mindful of the low temperature (I could hardly ignore it) I warmed the milk to 20°c. By the time I’d finished kneading, however, the temperature of the dough had almost halved. Proving took much longer than usual – not a problem in itself but, as I hadn’t anticipated it, the preheated oven sat idling for a while as I was waiting for the dough to rise.A milk loaf

Until warmer weather arrives, I’m obviously going to have to be much more conscious of the ambient temperature than usual, extending proving times or finding somewhere I can keep the dough sufficiently warm. The good news is that the oven, while no powerhouse, managed to produce a decent loaf, and one with an evenly browned crust. It didn’t do much to heat the kitchen though.