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How Humidity, Moisture and Temperature Affect the Baked Products

Author:

Chef Gynanesh -Chef Instructor working at Culinary Academy Of India

how-humidity-moisture-and-temperature-affect-the-baked-products

The production of baked items such as bread, cakes, biscuits, and pastries is a multi-step process between which significant activity happens. The stages of mixing, forming, proving, baking and cooling are chief among them.

Bread and other baked goods are hyper sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. Humidity and temperature are critical factors to keep in mind while baking as these help determine the overall quality of the product. Thus, it is worthwhile to be knowledgeable about the various effects of humidity and temperature while baking.

Heat transfer:

Energy, in the form of heat, is transferred to the product which causes the dough/batter temperature to rise. This results in physicochemical changes such as water or ethanol evaporation, expansion of gases, starch gelatinization, protein denaturation and Millard browning.

how-humidity-moisture-and-temperature-affect-the-baked-products

Mass transfer or Moisture Migration:

Owing to the drying nature of the baking step, water migrates from the product’s interior to the dough surface. Evaporation in the baking chamber increases the humidity. Improper temperatures can negatively impact the quality of the baked product.

During bread cooling, a large temperature gradient can develop between the crust and the crumb. As cooling continues, this gradient reduces gradually and eventually reaches zero.

how-humidity-moisture-and-temperature-affect-the-baked-products

Variety breads:

Temperature for variety bread such as rye breads should be lower, around 90°F (or at 32°C). Such temperatures are recommended due to the product’s tendency to turn gummy..

how-humidity-moisture-and-temperature-affect-the-baked-products

Frozen dough operations:

After blast-freezing, frozen dough pieces should maintain the product’s core temperature within the range of 10°F to 0°F (or at -12°C to -18°C).

how-humidity-moisture-and-temperature-affect-the-baked-products

Product temperature being too high results in:

  • Insufficient cooling and drying of the product
  • Weakening of bread sidewalls
  • Collapse in loafs while passing through the slicer
  • Tearing of ragged loaf slices due to excessive moisture
  • Bread crumbs becoming too soft
  • Gumming up of the slicer blades (which increases downtime)
  • Excess moisture due to condensation inside the wrapper
  • Other Product considerations

The Crucial Role of Oven Temperature

Oven temperature is the other key baking parameter in addition to humidity. It can be measured, modified, and controlled in order to influence process conditions directly; thereby, having a direct bearing on a product’s final characteristics.

Ramifications of Oven Temperature

Oven temperature causes physical transitions and chemical reactions to occur in the dough/batter. The following stages are temperature-dependent, which participates in the sequential transformation of bread dough:

  1. At the molding stage: If the oven temperature is too hot, the dough becomes too sticky to be processed. If the oven temperature is too cold, the dough becomes damaged during molding; leading to holes being formed in the bread.

In addition to temperature, if the humidity level prior to the molding process was too low, a skin of dry dough can form on the outer surface. This skin makes it harder for the dough to increase its volume during its subsequent process called proving.

  1. Proving stage: Proving is the professional term for the final step before baking, called the dough-rise, where 90% of the bread volume is achieved. To achieve a proper and a consistent dough-rise, special chambers are utilized. These chambers can maintain the ideal environment for the yeast to grow. Depending on the typr of yeast and flour usage, temperatures between 38°C and 42°C and humidity levels between 70% RH and 80% RH are considered ideal.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 BrandCai

Comments

avinash_deepu@yahoo.com on February 12, 2021:

with you Oberois Kolkata.I learnt a lot from you when I was in Bakery.Your article is well written and has good examples.I am happy to know tht you are working with culinary academy of india.I have only one pastry chef in our hotel here in Dubai whos from brand cai and hes also very good and professional.i am coming to Hyderabad soon will meet you chef

Deepu Avinash