Friday, January 11, 2013

Bright idea -- well, 40 watts, which for me is bright.

A non-fiddle-making post, but you have to eat, too.  

It’s only taken me, what, a couple decades or so to figure it out......

I use a long rise in my bread making, 24 hours or so.  One problem I’ve had is finding a place that is consistently warm over that time period.  We turn the heat off at night, and in the winter, it can be 60 degrees F or lower in the kitchen by morning.

Some folks have suggested a warming box -- a box dedicated to keeping the rising dough warm.  Simple enough thing.  Basically a box and a heat source, such as an incandescent bulb.  But I really don’t like kitchen gadgets, those bulky things that are dedicated to a single use, a non-every-day use.  Not a solution I’d like.

I’ve also heard of folks using their oven for a warming box.  Oven not on, but the light is.  The idea being the light provides enough heat.  I’ve tried that, and my oven light is not warm enough.

So I decided to buy a light socket, one of those ceramic or plastic fixtures folks use in their utility rooms.  Wire a cord on it, with a plug.  Attach the base to a short section of 2x4, and I have something I could put in the oven, running the cord out (door closed) and plugged in.  I’d have to store the socket-and-board somewhere, but it’s much smaller than a box.

When I got to the hardware store, I found the little socket shown in the photo.  About $2.  Exactly what I wanted, but didn't know it existed.  A 40W bulb and an extension cord complete the concept.  Used it last night, and it’s just right.  And when I’m done with it, it goes back into a drawer.

My go-to bread recipe is the no-knead version from Jim Lahey's book. You can find a recipe on the New York Times site.


  1. Ken
    Watch the temperature of the oven with the bulb on. The oven temperature may climb higher than is good for yeast dough. depending on the oven you may need a thermistate to turn the bulb on and off.

    Jim McGee

  2. Thanks, Jim.

    The 40-watt was a nice warm environment for my winter-time kitchen. Probably a 25-watt bulb would work well at other times of the year.