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Thread: High Altitude baking
December 9th, 2008, 11:44 PM #1Recipe Buddy
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High Altitude baking
What do I do differently to bake bread at high altitude. I'm at 5600ft and my bread could be used as a door stop.
December 10th, 2008, 06:54 PM #2
Re: High Altitude baking
Will this help?
High Altitude Bread Baking
High altitudes (over 3,000 feet above sea level) are much drier than lower altitudes, and have less air-pressure (to say nothing of sudden fluctuations in barometric pressure).
This environment can prove challenging for bread bakers because it causes the dough to rise too fast and then collapse, and because dry ingredients, especially flour can result in a coarse texture and impair flavor. When high altitude baking observe the following guidelines. Some experimentation and the occasional judgment call are necessary.
Reduce yeast by 25% to combat over-rising of the dough.
Increase salt by 25% to slow the rise of the dough & discourage sinking.
Add water to the flour, 1 tsp at a time, to counteract dryness; use quality flour.
Reduce sugar by 1/3 to prevent the collapse of the bread’s center.
Reduce oven temperature by 20-25%, but bake for the same length of time.
High Altitude Baking
Baking at high altitudes, 3,500 feet above sea level or more, requires some adjustments to standard recipes. Here are some general guidelines:
Because there is generally lower humidity at high altitudes, flour tends to dry out more quickly and may absorb more liquid in a recipe. Store flour in an airtight container.
At any altitude above sea level, the air pressure is lower. This lower air pressure allows baked foods to rise faster. Leavening agents such as yeast, baking powder and baking soda create large gas bubbles that expand rapidly. The large bubbles can weaken the structure of baked goods and cause cakes and breads to collapse unless recipe adjustments are made. In addition, too much sugar can weaken the structure of baked goods.
Water boils at a lower temperature than at sea level (as elevation increases, the boiling point is reduced 2 degrees per 1,000 foot increase) so foods take longer to cook. Liquids evaporate faster at high altitudes so foods such as cooked frostings and candies will become harder more rapidly.
If no high altitude adjustments are given in a recipe, here are some suggestions to try:
Use the chart below to adjust the cake ingredients listed. Try the smaller amounts first; make any necessary adjustments next time around. When baking a cake, increase the oven temperature about 20 degrees and decrease the baking time slightly to keep if from expanding too much. If given a choice, use the largest pan size suggested. For cakes leavened by air, such as angel food, beat the egg whites only to soft peaks. Otherwise, your cakes may expand too much (because the air pressure is less). If you're making a cake that contains a large amount of fat or chocolate (a cup or more) you may need to reduce the shortening by 1 or 2 Tbsp. and add an egg to prevent the cake from falling. The leavening, sugar, and liquid in cakes leavened with baking powder or baking soda may need adjustment, too (see chart below).
Ingredient 3,000 Feet 5,000 Feet 7,000 Feet
Liquid: add for each cup 1 to 2 Tbsp. 2 to 4 Tbsp. 3 to 4 Tbsp.
Baking powder: decrease for each teaspoon 1/8 teaspoon 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 teaspoon
Sugar: decrease for each cup 0 to 1 tablespoon 0 to 2 Tbsp. 1 to 3 Tbsp.
Biscuits and Muffins
Biscuits and muffins are more stable than cakes and need little adjustment at high altitudes. If you feel it is necessary, experiment by slightly reducing the sugar and baking powder and increasing the liquid.
Cookies usually need little adjustment at high altitudes. Try increasing the oven temperature about 20 degrees and slightly decrease the baking time. This will keep your cookies from drying out. For cake or bar type cookies, reduce the sugar called for in the recipe by 3 Tbsp. per cup. If given a choice, use the largest pan size suggested.
At high altitudes, flours tend to be drier and therefore may absorb more liquid. If dough seems dry, add more liquid and reduce the amount of flour the next time you make the recipe. Yeast breads will require a shorter rising time and should rise only until double in size to prevent them from collapsing during baking. Allow unshaped dough to rise according to recipe directions; punch dough down. Repeat rising step once more before shaping dough.
Quick breads often need 2 to 4 Tbsp. additional flour and a higher baking temperature.
For more information on cooking at high altitudes, contact your county extension agent.
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