The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


VonildaBakesBread's picture


I saw some discussion about weather on the forum, and I thought I'd better ask about mine. I live in an Alaskan rain forest at sea level, where it is year-round almost always 40s and raining, very occasionally going down to 20s, or up to 70s. How is this going to affect my whole wheat baking? I've been getting really, really wet doughs when following recipes. (They look like a youtube video about 80% hydration dough that I ran across) What adjustments, if any, do I need to make for my climate? I keep the house at 70 degrees, so I hadn't considered it to be an issue before. Thanks!



cranbo's picture

You will need to be most concerned about humidity. High humidity = more water in your flour (absorbed from the air) = really wet doughs. You'll probably need to adjust the amount of water in your recipes down. Measuring your flour (and other ingredients) by weight will help give you more consistent results, invest in a scale if you haven't already. 

As far as temps, 70 is a decent room temp, maybe a little on the cool side, so things will take longer to rise. If you want to speed things up, you should use some kind of proofing box (I use my microwave, with 1 quart of boiling water poured in a Pyrex measuring cup) to create a nice warm, humid environment to enable optimum fermentation and yeast replication.

Yerffej's picture


Your conditions are fairly stable so once you learn how much to adjust a recipe, it should be a fairly consistent adjustment for any recipe.  Either reducing the water or increasing the flour (or both) will give you a proper dough.


p.s. what town are in?

MangoChutney's picture

Be sure you are giving your whole grain flour enough time to absorb the water.  It may be that you have too much in the recipe because of the ambient humidity, but whole grain flours need more time to absorb their water than refined flours because of the bran content.

VonildaBakesBread's picture

I am, indeed, giving my very dry post-mixed dough some time to absorb for the first time today. (Also going to use the stretch-and-fold technique for the first time.) Also, I use my gas oven with the oven-light as a proof box after "pre-heating" it for 10 seconds.

Excited to see about adjusting the amount of water on each try.


Blessings, Voni

rayel's picture

Hi Voni, I agree, that using the recipe's full flour amt., and holding back water, except for the water containing yeast, a superior method, as it gives you fewer variables to deal with. Bulk fermenting in the oven would require knowing what temperature occurs after preheating a short time, with or without the light. If you check the temp. with an instant read thermometer, perhaps the oven light alone  would provide enough heat. That leaves what to use for a suitable place to proof your loaves while the oven is preheating to bake temp. If you use a microwave oven, with hot water, be aware that the spot where the water was resting, might be too hot for your purposes. Perhaps a woven mat would provide a buffer between the hot spot and your bread. Outside of taking longer, draft free room temp. for all the rises and the proof could work fine.

In Laurel's book, I like that the flour amounts are given in grams as well as measures, and when you acquire a scale, it is fun to see how many times a cupful misses the gram amt. even when much care is taken to get it right.

Good luck with your whole wheat baking.  Ray