Surviving the Summer Heat: Challenges Faced by Professional Bakers and How to Overcome Them

As the summer season approaches, it brings with it a host of challenges for those who love to bake and indulge in sweet treats. The soaring temperatures, humidity, and changes in environmental conditions can all have a significant impact on the ingredient quality, shelf-life, taste, texture, and appearance of baked goods, confectionaries & desserts.
From melted frosting to soggy cakes, from moulded breads to liquidified ice-creams, from transportation concerns to critical storage conditions, the list of summer-time challenges for a bakery business can seem overwhelming.
Let us explore various challenges that a professional bakery business may encounter during the summer season and look at some useful tips to help deal with them. 

Temperature Control
Elevated temperatures significantly reduce the shelf life of baked goods. This is because heat can speed up the growth of bacteria, yeast, and mould. Heat can significantly impact the production cycle of breads by reducing the proofing time when not regulated. This will have an enormous impact on the quality of the baked breads. Higher temperatures also may also impact the properties of fat in the baked products and can significantly affect the form, texture, and other aspects of baked goods. This may also cause the frosting to melt, or the dessert to spoil more quickly.
Therefore, it is important to store baked products continuously in a cool, dry place at around 18-21°C (64-70°F). Confectioneries such as chocolates & candies should be stored in a cool, dry place at a temperature between 15-20°C (59-68°F). Desserts like cakes and pastries should be stored in a cool, dry place at a temperature around 15-18°C (59-64°F).
To avoid heat and humidity from harming the quality of the delicacies, maintain a regulated temperature using air-conditioning system and dehumidifiers. Schedule manufacturing to avoid the hottest and driest hours of the day and utilise cold ingredients if feasible. The temperature of the water used in preparing the batters and doughs should also be maintained at a temperature between 22°c-26°c to avoid major process issues.
Professional bakeries should have a reliable air conditioning system that can keep the temperature inside the bakery between 68-75°F (20-24°C). This will help to maintain the quality and consistency of the baked goods.

Ingredients & Product Storage
During the summer, some ingredients such as butter, milk, doughs, chocolate, batters, and eggs can melt or spoil quickly. Often, if temperatures are not maintained during the entire supply chain, the products can be of inferior quality at the point of purchase and hence can spoil rapidly. Avoid leaving ingredients out in the heat by storing them in a cool, dry place and away from sunlight. For very fragile products, consider investing in portable cooler, advanced refrigeration systems or climate-regulated freezer appliances. Maintain reduced ingredient inventories and increase purchase frequency to avoid risk of ingredient spoilage.
Proper storage and temperature control can also extend the shelf life of bakery ingredients and baked products, reducing waste and saving money. Maintain controlled temperatures and humidity in cooling area for baked goods. Shift cooled products to refrigerated areas if not required for immediate consumption. Higher temperatures and humidity can accelerate the spoilage of these products, causing them to go bad more quickly. Proper storage and temperature control can slow down the deterioration process, allowing them to last longer.

Seasonal Demand & Menu
Provide a selection of lighter, fruit-based delicacies & entremets that are appropriate for the summer palette. Experiment with different taste combinations and add fresh seasonal fruits, herbs & berries into your favourite treats.
During the summer, customers may be looking for baked goods that are lighter and have an airier texture, such as sponge cakes, mousses, and meringues.
Fruit-based desserts such as pies, tarts, and sponge cakes are popular during the summer because they are light and refreshing. Some popular summer fruits include strawberries, blueberries, peaches, and mangoes.
Ice Creams and sorbet are always popular during the summer months because they provide a refreshing and cool treat on hot days. Popular flavors include vanilla, chocolate, coconut, raspberry, strawberry, mint, and lemon. Cold brews, frappes, and iced coffees are popular beverages during the summer months because they provide a refreshing and cool caffeine boost. Flavoured syrups such as chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and hazelnut are also popular additions to cold coffee beverages.
Soft serves, gelatos and frozen yogurt is a popular alternative to ice creams that allows the businesses to be more creative and add up a variety in their menu

Schedule Adjustments + Supply & Delivery Management
The summer heat can affect the rising time of the dough and the baking time of some products. Professional bakeries should adjust their schedules accordingly to account for these changes.
Prepare ahead of time and stock up on seasonal goods before they run out. Search for substitute components for seasonal products or try to extend the season by utilising frozen or preserved fruits. For other items, limit inventory stockpiles to avoid risk of ingredient spoilage. Increase the procurement frequency to ensure you get fresh items regularly. If products or ingredients are being transported over long distances, prefer reefer vehicles for transportation.
Products should be packaged in materials that protect them from light, moisture, and temperature fluctuations, and labelled with appropriate storage and handling instructions.
Humidity Control
High humidity can affect the texture and shelf life of baked goods. High humidity can cause baked goods/desserts/ confectionaries to become stale and soggy. Low humidity can cause baked goods to dry out and become hard. Therefore, it is important to store baked products & confectionaries in a location with low humidity, around 60-70% relative humidity.
Professional bakeries should invest in dehumidifiers to keep the humidity levels in check. Maintain a closed and controlled environment in production and cooling/packaging areas. A humidity level between 50-60% is ideal for most baked goods.

Quality Control
Due to the elevated risk of spoilage and substandard quality of raw materials, quality control should be more stringent during the summer months. Quality control starts from the selection of raw materials and should include strict environmental control other than process control.
Temperatures at various key areas in the production process should be tracked and monitored. Regularly test the quality of the desserts by tasting and evaluating them to ensure they meet your standards.
Regular testing of the shelf life of products is important to ensure that they are safe and maintain their quality over time. This involves storing products at the recommended temperature and humidity levels, and periodically evaluating their sensory attributes (e.g. appearance, taste, texture) to determine their freshness and quality.
In conclusion, the summer season can present unique challenges for those in the baking, confectionary, and dessert industries. With high temperatures and humidity, it can be difficult to maintain the quality and freshness of baked goods and sweets. However, by taking certain precautions, such as adjusting recipes, using appropriate packaging and storage methods, and utilizing refrigeration and freezing techniques, these challenges can be overcome. With a little creativity and ingenuity, it is possible to continue producing delicious treats that satisfy even in the hottest of summer months. Don't let the heat get in the way of your love for professional baking.
Swissbake® is a Swiss-founded manufacturer and premium bakery and confectionery ingredients. Whether you are an independent professional baker running your own bakery business, bakery, café, restaurant, QSR, pizzeria, flight kitchen or food service establishment, we have the right products to help you step up your bakery offerings and grow your business. For more information on our products and services, kindly contact us on +91-22-3529 3500 or WhatsApp us on +917447331888 or email us at