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The Necessity of Water Quality in Baking & Tips to Maintain It

Water is an essential and often overlooked ingredient in baking. It plays a crucial role in your baked goods’ results – from delicate pastries to hearty loaves of bread. While many home bakers may use tap, its quality can significantly impact your finished product’s taste, texture, and appearance. In this post, we will discuss the importance of water quality in baking and share tips on using the best for your doughs and batters.

Why Water Quality Matters in Baking

  1. Taste: The flavor of water can vary greatly depending on its source and treatment. Minerals, chemicals, and impurities can affect your baked goods taste. For example, water with high chlorine levels can leave a distinct taste in your bread. In contrast, water with high levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium can result in a bitter aftertaste. A balanced and neutral taste is essential to ensure your baked goods have a clean and consistent flavor.
  2. Texture: The mineral content plays a significant role in gluten development, ultimately affecting your baked goods’ texture. Hard water, with high levels of calcium and magnesium, can lead to stronger gluten development, resulting in a chewier texture. Conversely, soft water can weaken gluten structure, creating crumbly and less elastic dough. Understanding the mineral content and how it affects gluten development can help you make the desired texture in your loaves of bread and pastries.
  3. Yeast Activity: The success of yeast-based doughs depends on the fermentation process, which is greatly influenced by quality. Yeast needs a balanced environment to thrive, and certain water minerals and chemicals can inhibit or encourage yeast activity. For example, high chlorine levels can slow the fermentation process, while trace minerals like zinc, potassium, and magnesium can help improve yeast performance. Using water with the right balance of minerals can help ensure a successful rise in your dough.
  4. Appearance: The quality can also affect the appearance of your baked goods. For instance, high mineral content can cause discoloration in your dough, resulting in a less appealing finished product. Additionally, water quality can impact dough hydration, which affects how your dough behaves during baking – such as its ability to brown and form a crust. Using water with the appropriate mineral content can help you achieve the desired appearance in your baked goods.

Tips for Ensuring the Best Quality for Baking

  1. Test: To understand your tap water quality, request a quality report from your local water provider or use a home water testing kit. These tests can provide valuable information about its mineral content and overall quality.
  2. Filter: If the tap water has a strong taste, odor, or high levels of chemicals like chlorine, consider using a filter. Various types of filters are available, including activated carbon filters, reverse osmosis filters, and distillation units. Choose a filter that best suits your needs and budget.
  3. Use Bottled Water: In some cases, bottled water may be the best option for baking. Opt for balanced, neutral-tasting water, and avoid those with added flavors or high mineral content. Check the label for information on the source and treatment process.
  4. Adjust: If you know that the water in your area is particularly hard or soft, consider adjusting your recipes to account for the effects on gluten development. It may involve adding more or less water to your dough or using different types of flour to achieve the desired texture.


The water quality used in baking is an often overlooked yet vital component to success in the kitchen. By understanding the impact of quality on your baked goods’ taste, texture, and appearance, you can make informed decisions about the best water to use for your recipes. Taking the time to consider quality can make a noticeable difference in the outcome of your baking endeavors.

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