I do a lot of baking at home for friends and acquaintances. For the most part I produce a Filipino dinner roll type bread called "Pandesal". Each batch yields around 12 dozen rolls. In the past I would make up the rolls on half-sheet pans and place them on my kitchen table (around 8 or 9 pans) and cover them with a thin plastic sheet during the final proof. Recently I purchased a half height bun pan rack to save space in my kitchen. I try covering it with the same plastic sheets, but there is still some openings in it. What I have noticed is that the rolls are taking a bit longer to rise and do not rise as much in the oven as before. I think it might have something to do with moisture loss or "drying out" of the rolls during the final proof.
I guess my question is this: does the drying out of the outer skin of the unbaked dough prevent even rising or cause reduced rising when in the oven? I had no issues before I started using the rack. I thought that I could cover the rack better to prevent any drafts and then maybe place a pan of warm water on the bottom of the rack to help keep the rolls moist and elastic. Any suggestions?