3 Ways The Weather Can Ruin Your Holiday Baking (And How to Fix It)

Baking during the winter months is a cozy indoor activity, however the chilly temperatures might impact the results of your recipes. 

Ever notice your cookies not rising as usual, or see your cakes rise super fast? That’s most likely the weather at play. 

Many people don’t realize it, but the weather can, and does, have a big impact on the success of your baking at home. Whether you’re making cookies or sourdough, here’s what you need to know about the weather and baking.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

High Humidity: A Baker’s Worst Nightmare 

The first weather offender is high humidity. On muggy days, when humidity is extremely high, your dry baking ingredients like flour, sugar, and salt soak up moisture from the surrounding air. This extra moisture can cause your flour to clump together and prevent your cookies from getting crispy. 

Humidity doesn’t mean you have to cancel your baking plans, though. You just need to take some extra steps to ensure your baked goods come out the right way.  

Three Tips to Combat High Humidity: 

  • Store flour and sugar in the refrigerator or freezer: Humidity can’t reach your fridge or freezer (neither can bugs). Remember, though, to make sure your dry ingredients reach room temperature before baking — or else your cakes and breads won’t rise. 
  • Increase baking time: The extra water from humidity will make your baked goods take longer to bake. Leave your baked goods in the oven for an extra three to five minutes. 
  • Lessen the recipe’s liquid: To balance out the liquid in the air, try reducing the amount of liquid in the recipe by one-quarter. 

Low Air Pressure = Quick Cake Rise 

Atmospheric pressure is another element that may impact how your favorite recipes turn out. If an area of low pressure is coming through, like a cold front, then cakes will bake as if they are baked in a higher altitude (where the pressure is lower). 

If your cakes rise too fast, then they might deflate later on. To counteract the effects of low air pressure, reduce leavening agents like baking soda or baking powder by about half a teaspoon. 

Managing Temperatures 

Chilly winter temperatures can wreak havoc on your baking. From crumbled pie and cookie doughs to curdled buttercream, it can be a real nightmare. 

While cranking the heat to 72℉ may seem like the solution, the depths of your pantry might not reach those temperatures. 

So, what’s the solution? Baking experts spelled out a few, depending on the ingredient. 

Emulsifying Eggs: 

Most recipes call for room temperature eggs, which is about 70℉. Regardless of the temperature in your kitchen, the eggs themselves need to be that temperature. To do this, place the eggs in a bowl of hot water for about three minutes prior to baking. 

Kneading Dough: 

Stiff pie dough? Don’t rush to add water. Instead, adjust the dough temperature. When baking in the winter, instead of mixing your flour with cold water, use 70℉ water instead. You can also warm the flour to 70℉, too. 

Whipping Buttercream: 

Cold buttercream doesn’t look or taste right, plus the tough consistency makes it hard to spread over cakes. If your buttercream comes out clumpy or too cold, place the bowl of buttercream over a steam bath until it starts to melt around the edges. Then, return it to the mixer and whip until smooth. 

Bake to Perfection: Check the Weather First

Like we said, the weather doesn’t have to ruin your baking…as long as you stay on top of it. Checking the weather doesn’t have to be confusing. You can monitor the humidity, air pressure, and temperature all within your Tomorrow.io app. 

Now get to baking! 

 

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