One of my favorite parts of spring is mornings on my deck with my coffee.
There is a large maple tree that always catches my attention this time of year. After staring at the maple tree in our yard that stood naked all winter, it's wonderful to see it dressed in its large green leaves again. The birds have found their way north again. I have been loving this new app I found that identifies bird species based on their songs- I'm officially a bird nerd.
What does this change in weather mean for bread bakers?
I'll tell you what, it changes the way our dough behaves that's for sure! Bread rises differently in the fall vs. the spring. Someone in our Facebook group, Baking With Heritage Grains, posted recently that her dough’s initial rise typically is 8 hours. She put it together and it took only 4 hours. She asked what to do. It may appear more drastic here in MN, but people in all other states have asked about it, too.
People want to know why their bread dough is acting like a stranger. You've finally figured out how to adjust for winter cold spots in your house,and here comes spring…..and humidity. Your dough goes bonkers. Dough is highly reactive to the world around it. Typically, weather in the spring or summer will cause your dough to rise much more quickly due to the increase in temperature and humidity.
The yeast in your bread dough,whether it’s packaged single-strain yeast or multi-strain yeasts and good bacteria, eat the sugars from the flour. It then excretes carbon dioxide. The gluten structure in your dough traps the carbon dioxide so it is unable to escape. The trapped gas causes your dough to expand and rise. When the dough is warmer- the reaction happens more quickly, and your bread rises faster. Therefore your bread will rise faster in the summer than it does in the fall or winter.
Another thing to consider is hydration. Bread dough is truly a product of its environment. The level of humidity will influence your bread dough, and you might find yourself decreasing the amount of water you have to add or increasing your flour. As much as we would love to be able to give you a percentage increase/decrease to accommodate for humidity- it is nearly impossible since everyone's conditions are unique. The real trick is to practice. Get a feeling for how your bread dough is supposed to look and feel and you will be able to adjust accordingly.
Temperature and humidity play a major role in the way our dough behaves. Don’t despair. You’ve got this.
All for now,