This house is never very warm, but at this time of year it can be flippin' freezing! When we wake up in the morning, it's typically 12°C (54°F) or less, rising to 14 or 15°C (59°F) by the evening. It's not exceptionally cold outside - around freezing - but our house is poorly insulated. It's on the to-do list. In the meantime, humans and cats are not the only ones affected by low temperatures.
It amused me to see advice on a fermentation forum not to warm things up:
Let's take sauerkraut as an example. You should keep it rather cold (18-20 degrees Celsius) while fermenting.Hahahahahaha... ah, um, excuse me. Sorry, but the idea of 18-20°C (64-68°F) as
rather coldis too much for me. Maybe for a few weeks of the year (but not last year) my kitchen might reach that temperature. All the same, the point about getting the temperature right is worth noting.
I find that yeast, in particular, struggles with the low temperatures; it gets a bit sluggish below about 14°C. This can affect rising times for bread dough quite severely -
What, three in the afternoon and it still hasn't risen? I wanted that for lunch!
I'm a bit short of warm places, too. I don't have an airing cupboard - the usual
warm place - as my hot water tank is exceptionally well insulated. There's a hot pipe behind the cooker, and I'm vaguely considering building an insulated cupboard around that, but on the other hand, I'm also vaguely considering fitting a valve so the hot water doesn't flow out of the tank when the stove's not lit, so that might reduce its effectiveness in warming the cupboard.
My solution is a very basic mini heater:
I fill a soup bowl with hot water from the kettle, and stand the bread tin on top of it. This works remarkably well, though may need refreshing once or twice during the rising time. If I have dough shaped on a baking tray instead of in the tin, then I set it over the mixing bowl. Just heat the thing that needs heating.