Good Question: Did Hot Humid Weather Affect My Brownies?

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I made a double batch of Cook's "Best Brownies" which I've made at least a half dozen times without incident. My kitchen was 90+ degrees yesterday and the cooking time went from a normal 24 minutes to a panic-inducing 32 minutes - and they still came out undercooked.

The simple answer could be that my oven isn't working. But I'm more curious to find out (for future company picnic desserts) if the weather plays such a drastic role in baking. If so, what adjustments should be made? - Winnie

We've had problems in the past with high humidity baking, and even if they have no effect on the final product, heat and humidity certainly have an effect on the cook!

We have a couple unrelated notes on your question first. It does sound quite possible that your oven is not holding at the right temperature. We always use an oven thermometer and it has saved many baking projects from our old oven's temperament.

Also, you mentioned a double batch of brownies? Did you bake in two normal sized pans, or one slightly larger pan? This could have really affected baking time as well.

And yet it could still be the humidity too; hot air can hold quite a lot more moisture than cold air, and this could have affected your brownies. When there is more moisture to bake out it's going to take longer. We tend to think that it would affect yeast-breads rising and baking more, however, and that probably it was only one factor in the problem here.

We are not kitchen scientists, though - anyone else have a good answer to this question?

(Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/Brian Daly)

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.

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