The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cookbook Authors and relative humidity

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highmtnpam's picture
highmtnpam

Cookbook Authors and relative humidity

When a cookbook author writes a recipe does he/she use a specific relative humidity??  I live in a very dry climate and wonder if I could increase the liquid in my recipes by a constant percentage.  Thank you in advance.  Pam

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

It's my impression that authors try to specify hydration levels that will yield the results they want in "most" climates. Many will say "add small amounts of water or flour as needed to get x dough consistency," or the like.


A good author will describe the desired dough consistency well enough so you can tell how it's supposed to be. Then, you adjust as needed.


I live in a dry climate. We generally run 10-20% relative humidity. I find I occasionally need to make minor adjustments, usually adding a tablespoon or so of water, but most often get satisfactory results just following the formulas, at least in Hamelman's "Bread" and Suas' AB&P.


Hope this helps.


David

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

Good post Dave,


As you might know some of us in the Upper Midwest and/or the Great Lakes States have a huge range of conditions to deal with.  Summers in the 70% RH to winters in the 15% RH always make for allowances in the addition/subtraction of hydration.  What I have come up with is to always start with high hydration ratios and adjust as neccessary.


Mike

highmtnpam's picture
highmtnpam

David and Mike,  Thankyou.  I think I do need more water in my dough. My flour is very dry as it sits out now(new built in flour drawers, but not airtight) But, I am beginning to think that the different types of bread are more or less forgiving when they get too little or too much hydration. I have been experimenting with sweet doughs.  Do you think they require more exact hydration??  Pam

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Pam.


I have too little experience with sweet doughs to even have formed an impression.


What I have found is that the professionals weigh everything precisely, including fat, eggs, sugar, etc. "2 large eggs" can vary quite a bit in weight, and eggs provide water as well as fat. So, unless you add such ingredients by weight, you might have to compensate by adding more or less water.


I'm totally sold on weighing ingredients so I'm likely to get what the recipe author intended or what I got the last time I made it.


David