How to check if your dough is sufficiently proved and ready to be baked?
So often, a recipe specifies how long you should leave a dough to prove, before baking, without actually knowing how warm your room is, precisely how big a loaf you’ve mixed up: these are good reasons to take the recipe’s recommended prove time with a generous pinch of salt.
To check your dough’s readiness, press the dough lightly with a floured finger. In the early stages of development it will bounce back fairly readily, however what you’re looking for is the point at which it barely bounces back, but does nonetheless return a little. Conversely, if it doesn’t bounce back at all, chances are that it’s over-proofed, which is never much fun… means your dough is not going to rise well in the oven, although it would still bake ok and be edible, in most cases.