Home Bread-Bakers v096.n028.6

Re: Humidity and Looking for Winter Wheat Recipe

"Bill Hatcher" <bhatcher@gc.net>
Sun, 28 Jul 1996 22:18:46 -0400
> From: FORD_KAREN/TUC_06@bbrown.com
> Subject: Humidity and Looking for  Winter Wheat Recipe
> Date: Mon, 22 Jul 96 09:58:00 -0700
> Hi All,
> I am fairly new to machine bread baking having just purchased my first
> machine (a Welbilt) on Memorial Day.  I had been having great success
> (7 perfect loaves from pumpernickel to sourdough) until last weekend.
> I made a second loaf of a cranberry granola bread that I had
> successfully made the previous weekend.  This time, instead of a
> beautiful well-risen loaf  I got a hockey puck!  The only difference
> from the first time I baked the bread was that  not only was it hot,
> but the humidity had increased (this is traditionally the monsoon
> season here in Arizona).  I plan to buy a temperature/humidity gage for
> the kitchen, but was wondering, is there a humidity level where I
> should just forget about baking or what?   Judging from some of the
> responses, there seem to be mixed opinions as to whether humidity has
> anything to do with proper rising---anyway, I took a break this weekend
> from baking and will continue to read your suggestions.  Also, the only
> other thing I can think of  was that I added the cranberries and the
> nuts about 5 minutes before the signal, because the week before they
> hadn't mixed into the dough very well and were mostly stuck on the
> outside of the loaf.
> By the way, I too would LOVE to have a recipe for the Oroweat Master's
> Best Winter Wheat Bread.  It is by far the best testing commercial
> bread I have ever eaten and if I could duplicate that by hand or
> machine, I would be an extremely "happy camper"!!
> Karen
> Hockey Pucks AreUs

Karen -

While I realize there are diverse opinions, I personally have serious 
reservations as to humidity variations causing the catastrophic 
failure you describe.  I am much more suspicious of something such as 
salt, and possibly cinammon or some other agent, coming in contact 
with the yeast and causing the problem.

I had sporadic problems with "hockey pucks" until a few months ago 
when I read in one of the bread machine books to keep salt and yeast 
separate.  Since then, I put all liquids, oils, butter/margarine, 
salt, cinammon, etc. in the bottom of my breadpan first, then the 
flour, and yeast on top of the flour.  I don't worry about sugar, dry 
milk, etc. coming in contact with the yeast.

The first couple of times I make a recipe I do it when I can check 
the dough frequently, adding additional flour or liquid as necessary 
to attain proper consistency.  You want a dough ball that is tacky 
to the touch, but that does not leave dough on your fingers when you 
touch it.  If you have to add to the original recipe, make sure you 
annotate the recipe so you can duplicate your results.

After baking at least twice and calibrating the recipe, then (if it 
is not a fruit/nut type) I will trust the recipe to my preferred 
delayed bake cycle.

I have not had a single no-rise failure in 6 months after starting to 
do it this way.  This in outside temperatures below 0F with bone-dry 
humidity to 95+F with humidity a fish could breath.  I use a Regal 

Good luck.

Bill Hatcher
Southampton County, Virginia, USA