One of the greatest challenges I've had in baking with sourdough starter or commercial yeast is getting the dough to rise enough, especially in our chilly house. Even in the summertime our house is on the cool side thanks to the insulation provided by our thick knotty pine walls. One day as I was putting away a seedling heat mat after having started some garden plants indoors, it occurred to me that such a heat mat could have other purposes. How would it work on bread dough?
We bought an extra seedling heat mat for using in the kitchen. A few weeks ago I wrapped the mat around a bowl that had sourdough bread rising in it. The results were amazing. I ended up with a beautiful loaf that had risen perfectly.
The seedling heat mat works wonders on cinnamon rolls, too. I wrapped the mat around the bowl of dough during the proofing phase, and then once the rolls were in the pan I put the seedling heat mat under the pan as well. Both times, I covered the dough with saran wrap and a tea towel to help keep the heat in. Take a look at the finished cinnamon roll:
Mmmm, so yummy!
Seedling heat mats are indeed useful in the kitchen. I've also been wrapping one of these mats around my kombucha jar to keep it warm enough to brew faster. Within 7-10 days, the most delightfully fizzy kombucha is ready.
The seedling heat mat that I've been using warms up only 10-20 degrees above the ambient room temperature, which in our home is perfect for brewing and proofing.