High Altitude Baking
Does anyone know of any good high altitude baking sites?
My pies turn out ok in Mexico City, but I'm struggling with brownies and cookies. I have tried adjusting the recipe, but just can't seem to get it. If anyone can point me in the right direction, it would be much appreciated.
I baked professionally at 7,000' in Santa Fe, NM, for many years by following these adjustments:
Increase the oven temp. by 25 deg. F.
For each one teaspoon of baking powder or baking soda called for in a recipe, decrease by 1/4 teaspoon (25%)
Increase liquid by 3-4 tablespoons for each one cup called for in the recipe. "Liquid' includes the amount of egg called for
Decrease sugar by 25%. (By volume, a cake recipe should call for one part sugar to two parts of flour for baking at 7,000').
I learned this from Joy of Cooking. I hope this helps you.
I found a book called "Pie in the Sky" and she adjusts each recipe for sea level, 2500 ft, 5000 ft, 7500 ft, and 10,000ft. It's an amazing book that also explains what adjustments you should make to your own recipes.
I found this to be the biggest help here in Colorado.
I hope this helps.
I live in DF and have struggled with this too. Haven't found one particular website with all the answers. I've had the most problems with bread -- sometimes it rises, and sometimes it doesn't. Although that could be because my apartment is drafty. I've had no problems with pies, pancakes and muffins. Made brownies once and they were fantastic.
My best advice would be to not trust any recipe 100 percent, and be cautious with the amount of flour and liquid you add. Sometimes I end up adding more flour than the recipe calls for, because the dough is too wet; sometimes it seems like I need more liquid. I know that's kind of a lame answer.
Dane, that's a situation not confined to Mexico City or high altitude. It's near universal. Baking is an art based on a science. Precision in measuring is important when making cakes and to a lesser degree, cookies, but bread dough has a wider latitude of tolerance.
(I can imagine this thread getting moved to Home Cooking or something like that because it's not Mexico-specific.)
Other factors are evenness and control of oven heat; type and size of baking pan, color of baking pan, and as I mentioned before, sugars, flours and fats.
For example, Mexican "Azúcar Mascabada" is not equivalent to the brown sugar in the U.S. It may be challenging to find baking shortenings similar to Crisco. I've found that Manteca Vegetal "Cristal" is very close.
I once attempted to make pizza crusts with a retail white flour that was probably intended for flour tortillas. The results were disastrous.
The altitude is among the least of the factors in baking at home in Mexico.
Wwe live at 7000 feet asl near Pátzcuaro. I've made very little change to my baking, other than the baking time seems to need an increase.
Have had little or no problem with brownies, but when I followed the Nestle's Toll Hous choclate mosreses cookie recipe, they were greatly improved over what I'd made earlier at the same altitude.
There are other factors, especially sugar and shortening, that may impact your results.