Ask the Internet: Breadmaking in Winter?

This week’s question comes from reader Amy, and it’s going out to all the semi-experienced breadmakers out there, of which I am not one.

Q: Through a lot of trial and error (and some inedible bread), I've realized that my apartment is too cold to activate yeast when I'm making bread. Since I can't do anything about the temperature in the apartment (the heat is set between 65-70 during the winter), I've been trying to find other ways to make the yeast happy enough to do its job.

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I've seen a few recipes where they say to warm the oven, turn it off, and then put the dough into rise. I'm sure that works well for short rising periods but some recipes call for a 2 hour rise. Turning the oven on and off during the rise to maintain heat seems a bit silly. I've also tried turning the oven to 350 and putting the bowl over the vent and that works okay but that's also impractical for a long rise period. Should I just cut my losses and accept that yeasted bread and I aren't meant to be in the winter? Are there any tried and true methods for getting around this?

A: Bread folks? Whaddaya think? At times like this, I would buy a loaf from the local Italian place and pretend it was my own. But, um, I don’t think that’s what Amy is looking for.

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