The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Humidity or Barometric Pressure....

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the breadman's picture
the breadman

Humidity or Barometric Pressure....

I bake weekly for a small specialty market and have just noticed my dough seems sluggish to proof before baking during extremely humid weather. Am I dreaming? The barometric pressure was high during those times as they were actually 'pleasant' days. Doughs I have baked dozens of times before - formulae I can relie on with proofing I can set my watch to suddenly slows to a crawl setting me back over an hour in my schedule. Maybe it's me. Anyone have ideas or anyone wanna call me crazy?

 

breadman

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and Eric has a point.  I find these "things" seem to happen more at sea level... just like the weather is letting you know that you're working on the fine line between enough yeast & not enough yeast.  And you really need to raise a loaf.  I add more yeast when the barometer is low or it's a stormy overcast day and my elevation is sea level.  What's your elevation?

Mini O

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Breadman, what part of the country are you from? Usually high humidity comes with low pressure and warmer weather, stable air. The deep south might be an exception.

Eric

the breadman's picture
the breadman

I am at sea level and I live in Bermuda - sub-tropical climate. High pressure is usually pleasant, warm and humid for us. The relative humidity is normally 80-90% with temps still around 75F. - 79F. when I normally start to experience problems. Ideal for us but dough no likey.

breadman

JERSK's picture
JERSK

  80-90% humidity and 75-79 degrees sound like the environment of a dough proofing box. I'd long for temps like that right now. It's snowing and 10. right now I'm in the mountains of Maine , but I usually live on the coast. When the temperature and humidity are like you said, most of the summer, my dough works best, especially the sourdough. I'm at sea level also on an island. I've heard bakers say  the flour reacts differently with different weather. Maybe your flour absorbs a little moisture and the dough is more hydrated. Try adding a little less water or keep your flour in a tightly covered bin.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Breadman,

I don't want to sound like I'm calling anyone crazy for thinking there's something going on with humidity. Maybe there is. However, a possible alternate explanation could also be small changes in temperature in the bakery. I know it's probably less of an issue with yeasted breads, but with my sourdough recipes, the difference between 70F and 75F is very noticeable, hours of difference in rise times, now that I have started paying attention to the difference. Is it possible the temperature is a little different?

A possible reason it would be related to humidity could be the air conditioning system or the proofing cabinet, if you have one, behaves differently in high humidity. Many AC systems and proofing cabinets try to adjust for or change humidity in one way or another, which can affect the temperature at the same time. Dehumidification may be accomplished by running the AC and heat together, which can result in somewhat different temperatures, even if the thermostat is set the same. The variations may be small, but it only takes a few degrees change in temperature to affect rise times by an hour, depending on all kinds of factors, of course.

Bill

 

the breadman's picture
the breadman

As above!!!

I'll try the suggestions and look out for any changes.

 breadman