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Jan 1, 2012 10:43 AM

High altitude baking

One third of us live at altitudes above 4,000 feet. I live at 8,450 feet. Water boils at 194 degree! Does anyone have some tried and true recipes for any kind of baked goodies for high altitudes?

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  1. All recipes -- or in other words, all baked goods -- can be made successfully in high altitude locations. You just have to make the necessary adjustments.

    Some basic parameters to keep in mind.

    First, leavening agents tend to work too quickly at higher altitudes, so by the time the food is cooked, most of the gasses have escaped, producing a flat baked good For cakes leavened by egg whites, beat only to a soft-peak consistency to keep them from deflating as they bake. Also, decrease the amount of baking powder or soda in your recipes by 15% to 25% (1/8 to one 1/4 teaspoon per teaspoon specified in the original recipe) at 5,000 feet, and by 1/2 teaspoon or more at 7,000 feet and above (can you go higher than 7,000 feet?).

    For both cakes and cookies, adjust your oven temperature by 15-20°F or so to set the batter before the cells formed by the leavening agents expand too much, causing the cake or cookies to fall. Decrease the baking time as well.

    Remember to reduce sugar for each cup decrease up to 2 tablespoons at 6,000 feet and 1 to 3 tablespoons for 7,000 feet or higher.

    Lastly, remember to adjust the liquid. Flour tends to be drier at high elevation, so increase the amount of liquid in the recipe by 2 to 3 tablespoons for each cup of flour called for at 5,000 feet, and by 3 to 4 tablespoons at 7,000 ft.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Thanks for the info. However, I'm looking for some recipes that have already been adjusted and tried. Guess I'm just a lazy baker!

      1. re: FromMyCabinDoor

        If sloth is your motivating factor, then why not just buy the baked good you want to eat?

    2. I struggled with this for a long time -- I live at 8500'. I make very good bread using the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day recipes without modification! I do measure the flour by weight, though.

      I have made Alton Brown's popovers without modification. I make brownies and cookies without change. I did a few fruit tortes without change.

      What do you want to bake?

      1. Look for the baking book "Chocolate Snowball" by Letty Halloran Flatt. The recipes come from a ski resort in Utah, and each recipe has a note about high altitude adjustment.

        1 Reply
        1. re: babette feasts

          Thanks, that sounds like help in the right direction.

        2. I grew up in Seattle, obviously sea-level, but when DH and I met and were first married we lived in Leadville CO for several years (10,152 elevation ) and all I did was follow recipes that had adjustments for high-altitude.
          Back then, it never occurred to me that I couldn't make anything I wanted, BIL used to say "your cakes are so moist I could almost drink them !!" Best compliment ever. I made plenty of Artisanal breads from scratch... Candy, you name it.
          And you should have seen the decrepit kitchens I had to work in back then !!!! Hee Hee
          My giant oversize mixing bowl and my hand mixer were my best friends.
          And my pressure cooker !!! I learned to use that baby and it was essential for things like beans and some meat dishes.
          Fun times.
          Good luck, it is a skill you will develop and be proud of !!!!
          I am sure you will get lots of great ideas here :-)