Why is climate change important in baking?

Why is climate change important in baking?


Many factors can affect bread dough, such as your kitchen’s micro-climate affecting flour and yeast. Temperature and humidity are some of the things that can make a difference. Depending on the time of year and location you’re in, the humidity levels can vary greatly. Flour is also impacted by humidity and may absorb more or less water. You may need to adjust the amount of water you add to your bread dough recipe to get the right consistency.


Ideal dough temperature day after day — despite changing conditions

For the best flavour and texture, the bread maker controls the temperature of your dough. But if baking using the oven, ensure your kitchen is not too hot or cold. Keep the dough temperature around 24-26°C/75-78°F while it rises.


Winter X Summer yeast baking

The weather in your home can affect how your bread turns out, especially in summer. Yeast loves warmth to rise, but the yeast can die if it gets too hot. The dough rises faster in summer, and winter may take longer because your kitchen is cooler. As for flour, it can absorb more moisture from humid air in the summer and dry out in the winter.
Therefore, if you don’t adjust the recipe for the weather, the dough might be too soft or sticky, and your bread won’t rise as it should. So, keep an eye on the dough’s progress, and adjust the recipe’s liquid or flour depending on whether it’s summer or winter.

For baking in dry climates

Flour is drier and needs more liquid in places with dry weather.

If the dough is too dry

Add 10 to 15 percent more liquid to the recipe. Begin with 1 tablespoon and add extra if needed. You may have to use 2-4 tablespoons for each cup of flour. Be careful not to add too much liquid.

For baking in humid climates

Flour can be wetter and absorb less liquid in places where it’s very humid, so less liquid is required. If you notice that your dough is wet and sticky, it could be because of hot, humid weather, and you might need to experiment a bit to find the right balance for your kitchen’s climate.

If the dough is too wet

To fix wet dough, you can do one of two things:
  1. Make the recipe as is and, if your dough ends up too wet, add more flour slowly, one tablespoon at a time until the dough looks smooth and round. Be careful because adding too much flour can reduce the recipe’s balance.
  2. If your dough is consistently stickier during the summer, adjust the recipe by reducing the liquid by 10% or adding more flour until your dough has the right consistency.

For baking at high-altitudes

High-altitude areas (over 900 metres/3,000 feet) have less air pressure, affecting baking in two ways. Firstly, the dough rises quicker due to yeast gases expanding more rapidly. However, the dough can rise too much and collapse during baking because of gluten overstretching. Secondly, high altitudes also have less moisture in the air, resulting in drier flour.

If the bread rises too high and collapse

If using a bread maker, some experimentation may be necessary. Start with the recipe as it is and check the dough. If your bread doesn’t turn out well, consider the following changes to adjust for high-altitude baking:

  • Reduce the amount of yeast by about 25%. By 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon at a time until you find the right amount, sometimes you need as much as 1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon.
  • Reduce the amount of sweeteners like sugar. For each tablespoon of sugar, reduce the amount by 1 teaspoon at a time until you find the right amount. Sugar will weaken the gluten and increase the risk of it collapsing during the “bake” cycle or in the oven.
  • Add gluten at a rate of 1 teaspoon per cup of flour. The addition of gluten will help the structure of the bread.
  • Keep a close eye on your dough throughout the process. When the dough doubles, punch it down and let it rise again.

Take notes

If your bread turns out well, write down how you made it so you can make it again and give the recipe to others.


This article is part of “How to bake awesome bread


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