Baking above sea level


So part of my Colorado adventure has been the challenges of baking in high altitude. My first couple attempts, well they failed. The first time I made a cake it literally crumbled when I took it out of the pan. It turned more into a dirt cake. And though I’m a much better chef than baker anyway, I am determined to make this work.  My super researching skills found me this way awesome chart that I wanted to share from (now if only I can memorize it):


Adjustment Reason for Adjustment
Oven temperature Increase 15 to 25°F, except when baking chocolate or delicate cakes, which might burn.
  • High temperatures help to “set” the batter before the cells formed by leavening gases expand too much.
  • Cookies may or may not need a temperature increase.
Baking time Decrease the amount of time your recipe bakes. Higher oven temperature.
  • Reduce baking powder by 1/8 teaspoon at 3,000 feet, or more at higher altitudes.
  • Reduce baking soda in quick breads by 1/4 of total amount, but use at least 1/2 teaspoon for each cup of acidic liquid (i.e. buttermilk, citrus juices, etc.)
  • Adjustments in the amount of yeast are generally not made. Instead, the cook must carefully watch that the dough does not rise more than double its size. The faster rise also means flavor doesn’t have time to develop. Punching down the dough twice will improve flavor and texture.
Prevents excess rising, which:

  • stretches the cell structure, producing coarse, irregular texture;
  • causes dough to sink in the center, and
  • results in low volume.
Sugar For each 1 cup of sugar, decrease up to 1 tablespoon at 3,000 feet, more at higher altitudes. Because of faster liquid evaporation, sugar solutions become more concentrated, which affects the texture of baked goods.
  • For each 1 cup liquid, add 1 to 2 tablespoons at 3,000 feet, more at higher altitudes.
  • In cookies, add 1/2 to 2 teaspoons water per recipe.
  • If biscuit dough seems dry, add 1 tablespoon liquid per one cup flour.
Liquids evaporate faster in all cooking processes.
  • Add 1 to 4 tablespoons at 5,000 feet, more at higher altitudes.
  • Cookie dough used in a cookie press may need less flour.
  • For self-rising flour, use only high altitude-adjusted recipes.

2 thoughts on “Baking above sea level

  1. So you should definitely get two key books, both amazing books for high altitude baking. The first is simply called “Baking at High Altitude” (The Muffin Lady’s Old Fashioned Recipes). The second is “Pie in the Sky” (love the name!) and this one is phenomenal and tells you all the variances at differing altitudes, from sea level to 10,000 feet! They’ve been my salvation in the world of baking.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s