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BREAD HELP! Adapting to high levels of humidity.

I was interested in making my own bread so I took a sourdough class, where I was given a starter. I made bread with it several times in New York City and it came out well. I recently moved back home to Dominican Republic and my several attempts have not been the same. It's obviously a lot more humid here and a lot warmer (which should be great for the starter I assume) but the bread has just not risen the way it should (it's okay taste wise though). Any suggestions?

Thank you in advance :)

asked by hilda over 2 years ago

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12 answers 2549 views
Sam1148
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 2 years ago

The probably might not be the humidity but the flour grind itself. North American wheat flour is going to be a different quality than other flours. Even Southern USA flour which is much softer.

Go more by "Feel" when making bread with a recipe where you're using a new region's flour.
Adjust to less liquid, etc.

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hilda
added over 2 years ago

Thanks Sam! I am actually certain it wasn't the flour because I used the same flour as I did when I was in New York (I brought it back with me). :(

It's also a lot hotter here so when I take the dough out of the fridge maybe it heats up too quickly.. I'm not sure because I don't know much about bread yet so just throwing out some ideas.

Smaug
added over 2 years ago

Interesting question, wish I had the answer. San Francisco used to have the world's best sourdough and has a pretty humid climate, so I doubt that's the problem, and unless it's hot enough to kill yeast (in which case you probably wouldn't be baking) heating up in a warm room shouldn't be a problem. Sourdough is pretty volatile stuff, and depends on local conditions for the lactobacilli that define the flavor, but that shouldn't affect the rise much- have you tried making a simple bread with commercial yeast? That might give some insight.

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Nancy
Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added over 2 years ago

The Case of the Dough that Didn't Bark in the Night. I mean, Didn't Rise in the Kitchen.
If the ambient (room) temp is very warm, the dough may be rising quickly, and yeast bubbles bursting, so their gasses don't stay in the dough and push the wheat around.
A few modifications can help in this...
Let your dough rise covered (in a cooking pot with the lid on, or a big dish over a big bowl, etc) at room temp.
Make it a few times, staying with it so you can observe at regular intervals, punch down if the bubbles are getting big but the dough hasn't doubled in volume, cover and let rise some more.
Let dough do a first rise, covered, in refrigerator. Bring to room temp, shape, let rise again (this time either at room temp or in fridge).
One or more of these should help...
Looking forward to hearing what you do and how it works.

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Emily Love
added over 2 years ago

I second the rise overnight in the fridge! I live in southern Louisiana and always prepare my bread that way without problems.

spiffypaws
added over 2 years ago

I work at a bakery in S. Florida, also very humid. When I mix sour dough, I don't let it sit at all before scaling, and I rest it less than recipes require before rounding. Also, when rounding, try being much more gentle than with other white doughs.

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hilda
added over 2 years ago

Thank you so much, I will give that a try!

Sam1148
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 2 years ago

I was reading about sourdough and came across a bit about PH levels in the water. Hard water makes it more difficult to get a rise. DR probably has hard limestone/coral water aquifers.
Maybe test your PH and see if the addition of a bit of vinegar or ascorbic acid will help.

Here's one discussion. http://www.thefreshloaf...
https://www.quora.com/What...

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Sam1148
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 2 years ago

Double Post Sorry.
http://carlsfriends.net...
Here's what I was reading that reminded me of this post. It mentions using a bit of vinegar to perk up a sourdough starter.
Also...
http://carlsfriends.net... will send you free sourdough starter for a SASE.

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hilda
added over 2 years ago

Thanks for sharing Sam! I will look into those for next time!

QueenSashy
QueenSashy

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added over 2 years ago

Hilda, you could try messaging the question to boulangere, she is a wealth of baking knowledge.

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hilda
added over 2 years ago

Ah, I'll give that a try. Thank you!