Baking bread during the winter months in a cool, drafty kitchen is a particular challenge. Yeast likes a fairly warm environment to do its thing, and trying to proof dough on countertops that register 50°F are going to result in flat, dense loaves.
Proofing boxes are temperature and humidity-controlled walk in monsters found in professional bakeries. Home bakers need something a little less unwieldy. As it turns out, a simple incandescent light bulb will do the trick, providing enough heat to proof a couple of loaves worth of your favorite bread dough.
1 extension cord
1 40-watt light bulb
1 lightbulb socket
Assembly: Screw bulb into socket, plug socket into extension cord, plug cord into wall.
Put the lit lightbulb in the oven. Add the bread to be proofed into the oven. Close the door gently on the cord. This will prop the door open slightly, allowing for some temperature control.
By proofing your dough in the oven warmed only by the light bulb, the yeast in your dough will find a comfortable temperature in which to proof, resulting in light, airy loaves even in the chilliest kitchens.