You carried out every single step in the cookbook perfectly, yet your lemon bread isn’t turning out tender like it always does. Want to know why? Don’t worry because it’s not your fault.
High humidity can bring significant changes to your baked goods. So here is everything you need to know for baking in high humidity.
Let’s get started.
How Does Humidity Affect Your Baking?
Humidity directly affects the dry ingredients that you use. And the dry ingredients then, in turn, make a difference in the end result. Flour, sugar, and all sorts of powders attract moisture from the air and form clumps. And we all know that clumpy ingredient is a huge obstacle to a perfect cake.
To perfectly bake in high humidity, you might also need to up the oven-time. What this means is that a perfect outcome is going to take more effort and time than usual. Even though these problems might sound intimidating, with a little carefulness, you can easily bake the perfect cakes, bread, and cookies.
What Can You Do to Deal with High Humidity?
Humidity differs from region to region. As a result, the same baked goods may end up having different textures due to the variation. The key to consistent texture and result lies in adjustments. What are these adjustments? And how do they help you? Keep reading till the end to find out.
The following tips are going to be crucial for you if you live in a humid area.
Keep Tabs of Your Humidity Levels
The very first thing that you should do is to know the percentage of vapor present in the air. By dint of technology, it’s not hard to find out at all. A simple Google search by typing the ‘name of your region’ plus ‘humidity today’ will show you a percentage that you can work with.
Remember that the search results from Google are actually an average of multiple readings from a large area. So for those looking for a little more precision in their baking are advised to purchase kitchen hygrometers. A hygrometer gives a more accurate humidity reading of the kitchen, which makes it a much better option.
Make Adjustments in Liquid Measurements
Dry ingredients are bound to absorb moisture from the air. So reduce the liquids in your recipe by 25% for safety purposes, and set it aside. This reduction will help you balance whatever moisture the ingredients are absorbing beforehand.
Now, if your mixture or batter starts to look dry, then you can always add a little from the 25% that you set aside. Baking recipes from Puerto Rican cookbooks work well for regions that exceed the 70% humidity margin. Consider going for those as they bear the perfect measurement of fluids for humid areas.
Control Your Oven Humidity
High humidity increases the volume of your baked goods. As a result, your baked item can turn out to be soggy. Learn the appropriate use of your oven to control the in-oven humidity. If you steam-bake your baked goods, then reduce the amount of water you put in the tray by 1/5th.
Another important thing to keep in mind is not to overload the oven. Most new ovens come with controllable fan-speed. Simply increase the fan-speed to dehumidify the inside of the oven faster, and you’ll have the perfect final moisture.
Remember that your dry ingredients have already absorbed quite a lot of moisture from the air even before you’ve started. So baking longer will draw the extra moisture out of your baked goods. Just add 3-4 minutes to your total bake-time to get rid of the sogginess.
Be careful of the doneness of the baked good as you do not want to overcook it. Do the toothpick test to check doneness every 2 minutes. This way, you’ll easily be able to work your way towards perfection.
Refrigerate Your Ingredients
This tip is rather quite optional, yet extremely effective. Remember the dry ingredients that keep on absorbing moisture from the air? Just take them and store them in the refrigerator/freezer to stop them from doing so.
Something to bear in mind while following this step is that you can’t use the ingredients straight out of the refrigerator. You must always bring them down to room temperature before mixing. And your baked goods will not rise properly if you use the cold ingredients, so keep that in mind.
Rely on In-house Air-Conditioning
Warm weather means high humidity and also the other way around. So close all your windows and turn on your air conditioning half an hour before you bake. This will drop the kitchen temperature substantially. As a result, humidity will also decrease.
You may also resort to dehumidifiers and fans to get rid of the moisture in the air. In other words, all you need to do is artificially alter the kitchen-air humidity to your favor, and you’re good to go.
Refrigerate Your Baked Goods
Let’s say you carried out all the instructions we provided and got yourself the exact consistency you were looking for. Does that mean you’re safe from the threats of high humidity? No, your baked goods may still be affected by humidity, even after completion.
If you let your baked goods sit outside for too long, then chances are that they will start to absorb moisture from the air as well. A great way to deal with this problem is by simply refrigerating your fresh bakes. Put them in air-tight containers before refrigerating to retain freshness.
Be Aware of Molding
Since cakes are perishable items, so they are likely to spoil if you leave them unprotected in humid conditions. They also tend to absorb atmospheric moisture even after they are done baking. This moisture then welcomes fungus and molds to grow within the cake.
During humid seasons shelf life of cake reduces by 2-3 days. Under these circumstances, it’s best to refrigerate it so that molds don’t form. So always make sure to check for molds before consuming the baked goods that you prepared a couple of days ago.
‘Rise’ above the Humidity Today!
Not one of the mentioned tips for baking in high humidity is better than the other. Each of them bears individual significance, as far as the shelf lives of your baked goods are concerned.
Even if you live in regions of low or moderate humidity, these tips can still be useful to you during the summer (or any humid season). So just by keeping these tips in mind during baking, you can make the best out of your baking skills. Happy baking!