Your kitchen is bound to get hot and stuffy when you’re running the oven for holiday baking. What you may not realize is that your indoor climate can also affect how your baked goods turn out.
There’s real science behind baking, so climate factors like room temperature and humidity affect the outcome. To have sweet success with your holiday baking this year, here’s what you need to know about the role these indoor climate factors play.
There are good reasons why most batter-based recipes call for some baking ingredients — like butter, eggs and milk — at “room temperature,” which is about 70 degrees.
- If your kitchen is too chilly and these ingredients don’t warm up sufficiently, they won’t cream and emulsify properly to form a light batter. After all your hard work, you’ll end up with holiday cakes, cookies or quick-breads that are coarse and heavy.
- In a kitchen that’s too warm, say 80 degrees or more, room temperature butter will begin to liquefy, resulting in a loose batter that breaks easily, and coarse-textured baked goods.
- When you make pastry in a too-warm kitchen, the chilled butter the recipe calls for can soften too much while you’re mixing the dough. Once in the oven, that soft butter won’t steam and expand properly to form the air pockets that produce a tender, flaky crust.
High or Low Humidity
The level of humidity in your indoor air has a direct impact whether your baked items are too dense and fall, are too dry, or turn out perfect. In a humid kitchen, dry ingredients like flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and soda will absorb extra moisture. When there’s a lack of moisture in your indoor air, these ingredients can become excessively dry. One way to compensate for high or low humidity is to take note of your indoor climate when you’re baking, and adjust the amount of liquid ingredients in the recipe, or increase or decrease the baking time.
To explore indoor climate solutions for your Monmouth County home that provide more precise temperature and humidity control, contact us at Aggressive Mechanical Contractors.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Monmouth County, New Jersey and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).