The kitchen can get uncomfortably warm and humid when the oven is on and you’re baking for the holidays. Did you know that the conditions in your indoor climate not only impact your comfort, but they can also affect your baking results?
To make your holiday baking a success, it’s helpful to understand the effects of two indoor climate factors in particular: temperature and humidity.
Indoor Temperature and Baking
Cakes and other batter-based baking recipes instruct to have ingredients, like butter and eggs, at room temperature. Your kitchen’s actual “room temperature” can affect ingredients and baked goods in different ways:
- If the kitchen is too chilly and “room temperature” ingredients don’t warm up enough, they won’t cream and emulsify well and create a light, airy batter. When they’re baked, your holiday cakes and loaves won’t have a fine, tender crumb.
- When the room temperature is 80 degrees or more, butter can get too soft or even start to liquefy. The result will be a loose batter that can easily break, and baked goods with a too-coarse texture.
- If you’re making pastry in a warm kitchen, the chilled butter called for in the recipe can get too soft when blended into a dough with other ingredients. During baking, softened butter can’t create enough steam to form the air pockets that produce a tender, flaky tart or pie shell.
Effects of High or Low Humidity
The humidity level in your indoor air affects the moisture balance in a recipe, and whether your baked goods fall flat, are too dense and chewy, or too dry and crumbly. If the humidity is high, flour, sugar, salt and other dry ingredients will soak up extra moisture. When humidity is low, they’ll get drier. For perfect cakes, cookies and other holiday treats, you may need to increase or decrease the amount of liquids in the recipes, adjust the baking time, or keep your indoor humidity level under control.
To learn about indoor climate solutions that can provide more precise temperature and humidity control in your Eastern North Carolina home, contact us at Jackson & Sons.