Baking has become an increasingly popular activity, and many people now follow their favorite bakers online and prepare tasty treats at home during Covid-19 lockdowns. Every good baker knows that the quality of the ingredients are key if they want to create the perfect breads, cookies and cupcakes. But, one of the ingredients that is often overlooked is the water used in these baking recipes. In this article, we will take a closer look at how untreated tap water can affect your baking efforts.
Baking with Hard Water
One of the major obstacles that any baker has to overcome is hard water. Ingesting hard water is not harmful to health, but it can ruin your baking efforts. This is especially true when it comes to getting the perfect dough for bread, cookies, and donuts. Doughs that are made with hard water tend to be too dense due to the reaction that takes place between the minerals that cause hard water (calcium, magnesium, and iron) and the yeast. These minerals can also make the structure of the gluten tougher, and they may delay the yeast fermentation, which leads to a tough and unpalatable pastry.
Baking with Chlorine
Most public water supplies are disinfected with chlorine or chloramine, which is chlorine mixed with ammonia. These chemicals have been used to clean public water supplies for many decades, and they are still pretty effective. But, when it comes to baking, chlorine is not a great ingredient. The most common odor or taste associated with chlorine is that of a swimming pool. Another key problem is that chlorine can slightly increase the acidity of the water, and this can prevent yeast from rising. Again, this will make your breads and other treats tough and flat.
What is the Solution?
After reading about how hard water and chlorine in public water supplies can affect your baking efforts, you may be despondent. But, don’t despair; it is possible to improve the quality of your water by removing chlorine and making your water softer.
Many people have made the decision to install a water filtration system to remove a wide variety of contaminants from your incoming water supply, including chlorine. Installing an ion exchange water softener will get rid of the minerals that cause hardness (calcium, magnesium, and iron). The mineral ions are exchanged for sodium (salt) ions that make the water softer and easier to use.
There is no need to worry about extra salt in your cooking and baking when using water softened in this way. The quantities of salt added are minute, and they are only a concern if a doctor has recommended a low salt diet. Even if there is someone sensitive to salt in your home, you can still opt for potassium chloride instead. This is still a salt, but it is a valid option, and it is not as noticeable as sodium.
If you’re interest in a water filtrations and/or water softener for your home, contact your local water treatment specialist for expert help and advice.
By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.