The art of humidity control in baking
Explore how humidity control in baking impacts texture, rise, and crust with Invoq Chef Darren Pickup’s insights on combi and bake ovens
Humidity plays a significant role in the texture, rise, and crust development of baked goods. Invoq Chef at Lincat Group, Darren Pickup, has experimented a great deal with combi and bake ovens in relation to recipe creations, and thus also with the use of humidity control.
– Darren explains
Humidity is important in baking – especially for the proving phase. It helps pinch the dough, adds moisture and controls the atmosphere inside the cooking vessel for an overall quality bake,
Crust development is another aspect, where humidity can have great impact. Depending on which crust thickness you desire, the moisture level inside the oven can be the trigger for your output. Darren shares: “A high humidity level will slow down your crust formation keeping the dough’s surface moist for a longer time. This can lead to a crust that is softer and more delicate or a crust with a thinner texture.”
Enhancing Baking with Precision Humidity and Temperature Control
Cooking with humidity can also replicate the alternative use of a bain-marie (water bath). Through the combination of steam and temperature control, the moisture level created in the oven chamber will prevent excessive drying or browning of delicate dishes as e.g. a bread and butter pudding, where the use of humidity helps for a gentle preparation ensuring that the custard does not overcook and the stale bread absorbs better and does not dry out.
Perfect Humidity for Ultimate Bread Pudding Texture
Try out Darren Pickup’s recipe for a lovely, moisture bread and butter pudding and experience how the humidity level in the Invoq Bake oven, which ensures a perfect bread absorption, contributing to a rich and indulgent texture.
By maintaining optimal humidity levels, the flavours of the custard, butter, and the additional ingredients can be fully developed and enjoyed.
Mastering Texture, Rise, and Crust: The Essential Role of Humidity in Baking
Humidity affects the texture of baked goods by influencing the moisture content within the dough or batter. In a high-humidity environment, the moisture in the dough is retained, resulting in a softer and more tender texture. On the other hand, in a low-humidity environment, moisture evaporates more quickly, leading to a drier and denser texture.
Humidity has a direct impact on the rise of baked goods, particularly in yeast-based recipes. During proving yeast ferments and produces carbon dioxide gas, which causes the dough to rise. In a high-humidity environment, the moisture in the dough keeps it supple and pliable, enabling the gas to expand easily and promoting a good rise. In contrast, low humidity can cause the dough to dry out and form a crust, impeding the rise and resulting in a denser texture.
Humidity significantly influences crust development in baked goods. A high-humidity environment during baking delays the formation of a thick and crisp crust. The moisture in the oven creates a steamy atmosphere that keeps the dough’s surface moist for a more extended period, allowing the interior to continue expanding before the crust sets. This can result in a softer or thinner crust. Conversely, a low-humidity environment promotes quicker evaporation of surface moisture, leading to faster crust formation, thickening, and a crisper texture.