Have you tried rising in an oiled bowl covered with a kitchen towel on top of the stove while your oven is running for other things? I'm rising a loaf of half rye just now while chocolate chip cookies bake, and it's rising in record time. I also use a heated bowl to rise in - just rinse it with the hottest water you can stand to warm it, then wipe the water out well.
I hope my half rye turns out. I love the pain d'epi recipe so much I want to make it my house bread, so I've decided to try using it in all the kinds of bread we like. I've substituted half of the bread flour with dark rye. I'm thinking I'll just shape it into four basic batons. It's on the first rise now, and I'll let it go another rise, and maybe a third if I've got the time. I really want to develop the gluten and flavor. I wanted to do five rises on it (since rye is so dense) but I didn't make the time to get it going this morning. Oh well, I'll let everyone know how it turns out.
The loaf that I was worried about when I posted was set to rise on the back of the stovetop, in a heavy Dutch oven. I think I was upset because I really hoped that spot would work - it seemed warm enough. I warmed up the Dutch oven too. I think it's the same problem as the top of the refrigerator - it's drafty, so the temperature is inconsistent. It's a small kitchen and the stove is only a few feet from the door outside to the driveway. It's in a direct line of fire for the initial blast of cold whenever the door is opened.
I'm debating whether to buy an electric blanket, but I'd prefer a more energy-efficient, greener solution. After all, one of the causal factors for this situation is our decision to keep the thermostat low.
We've only lived in this house a couple of years, so it's only been a couple of winters that I've had to deal with this challenge. I'll mostly just avoid the problem by baking bread earlier in the day. Or maybe I'll finally give the no-knead bread a try, I've had the recipe for ages.
I hope the rye bread worked out, it sounds delicious. My kids aren't fond of rye, so I don't use it, but I like it. Their idea of a treat is a nice loaf of plain white bread, because they get it so rarely, lol!