Letting kneaded dough rest so that the yeast can do its job will improve the volume, flavor, and texture of the bread. A second rising (or proofing) after being shaped will increase volume, give the bread a finer texture, and improve the flavor further. You can test if your dough has risen enough by pressing the dough with your finger. If the indentation remains, your dough is ready. If not, give it more time.
Let the dough rest in a warm place, covered with a towel or plastic wrap to retain moisture. Here are a few suggestions:
- Oven: Heat your oven to its lowest setting for a few minutes, then turn it off. Place the covered dough on the center rack and close the door.
- Microwave: Heat 1 cup of water in your microwave for 2 minutes. Place the covered dough in the microwave and close the door.
- Other: I’ve also risen bread on top of a warm oven, running dryer machine, and even on a chair set over a heater vent.