HOUSTON (CW39) – Baking is not a piece of cake when weather is in the recipe book. I spent the day with Michelle Morris, chef and baking instructor at Well done Cooking Classes in Houston. I came here to get the know on the dough!
Michelle says, “Baking is a science, so you really have to measure. Your ratios really matter. If you are doing savory cooking, you can just throw things in there, and it can still come out good! If you throw in some extra baking powder, however, it can have an adverse effect on anything we do.”
Michelle adds that, “It is not only the atmosphere, but the ambient temperature, how it feels outside, your cooking vessel, your elevation. Are you cooking at a really high elevation that you need to adjust the temperature?”
Many of you know that I grew up in South Louisiana, Chauvin to be exact. I am fond of all the best Cajun dishes! However, when making pecan pralines, we realized that whenever the weather was rainy or extra humid, they wouldn’t set right. I thought this might have been just another old wives’ tale, “Moisture makes your pralines turn out bad?”, but Michelle assured me otherwise. Turns out some sweet treats don’t like the heat and humidity!
“The more humid the air is, the more moisture it can hold on too. It is tough to work with things, like candy, or things that have a high butter content. As they start to sweat, they start to melt down, and that is where you see a lot of the breakage.”, says Michelle.
They are delicious, but a lot of work! A lot of butter goes into making croissants.
“That butter needs to be extremely cold.”, Michelle says.
She added that, “When you do laminations, which is when you’re rolling and folding the dough, this gives those flakey layers to a puff pastry or a croissant… If your butter is too warm it doesn’t create steam which creates those little pockets of air that you need in your dough.”
At the end of the day, it will all taste the same, the weather will simply impact the looks of your finished product!