It has been very hot and humid.
Every year, around this time, about a few weeks, we get high humidity and more rain.
Since we live in the dessert, we love seeing rain however, Humidity is pastry’s enemy.
It was 25% humidity which is very high for dry Las Vegas.(even though the normal comfort level to human the body is 30-50% according to some researchers)
When I think about it, in my home in Japan, 25% humidity was dry!!!
It is amazing that the human body can adjust to the surroundings!! I used to think it is too dry in Las Vegas.
My skin got dry really bad , looked like snake skin one time.
Now, I am so used to this weather, that it is hard to breathe when the humidity is higher.
In SUZUYA’s kitchen, we struggle with some difference in making pastries when the humidity is higher. It affects baking, decorations, and proofing dough… some adjustment is always necessary.
One example is that whipped cream doesn’t whip the same. We feel the whipped cream seems softer when humidity is higher. If we whip cream as we normally do, it gets over whipped. So we stop whipping when it’s softer that normal. For some reason, it is softer in texture but it stabilizes like normal. On a normal day, if we stop whipping the cream that soft, it doesn’t stabilize. It is still like liquid.
Another is making our signature macarons: When we make macaron batter we need to let it sit and dry the surface before baking. Thats how macaron gets a crispy surface skin on top but stays soft and chewy inside. When it’s humid, this takes longer than usual. It also bakes slightly different as well.
For some of our cakes we use tempered chocolate. Tempering is a technique where we warm and cool the chocolate to make it a certain temperature where it is crisp and shiny when it sets. When humid, chocolate reacts very differently, as chocolate doesn’t like moisture. I usually have to reach a lower temperature than normal to get the results I am looking for.
We also need to pay special attention to the refrigerators around this time. There is a lot more condensation than usual. Every time we open the showcase, the surface glass gets whiter and harder to see the cakes from outside.
Working with food, we need to feel how it reacts to weather and temperature changes, so that we can make the appropriate changes to keep the product consistent.
I hear some chefs say ” experience matters” .
Over time, you experience more situations and changes.
I learn everyday, because each day has different challenges.