When I was a child, the high altitude baking instructions on the back of a cake mix box made me giggle. I’d picture a little house on the tippy top of a mountain with clouds all around it, and a lady inside trying to bake a floppy, flat cake. While that’s not exactly how it goes, baking at high altitudes can certainly be a challenge. If you want to avoid that floppy, flat cake, consider these tips to help you along the way.
Know Your Issue
High altitude baking means you’re 3500 feet (or higher) above sea level. Air pressure is lower at higher altitudes, which can make baking a challenge. Check out the handy chart featured on the King Arthur Flour website, which describes what you need to change in your recipes and why. Not only do the amount of your ingredients need to be changed, but each recipe is different, so you need to determine what you want to bake and go from there.
Trial and Error
Not every recipe is the same when baking at high altitude. Microclimates can vary in the mountains, which means your successful recipe might differ from your neighbor’s a few miles away. Try following the guidelines found online in recipe conversion charts. Take notes on what you’ve done and write down what you think might need to be changed for your next attempt. Trial and error will be your greatest asset here.
Determine Your Altitude
So what is the easiest recipe to bake? Well, there is no one easy recipe out there, since baking can vary so much between altitudes. But AllRecipes.com offers some great advice on choosing the right recipe based on your altitude, including tips for those above 7,000 feet.
Ask for Help
Let’s face it, sometimes you need some help from the experts! If that’s the case, check out Colorado State University’s Complete Guide to High Altitude Baking. You can purchase it online. Or swing over to Susan Purdy’s site, HighAltitudeBaking, and check out her many recipes, resources, charts and more. Her book, Pie in the Sky, is an essential part of baking at high altitudes.
Share Your Resources
Ask people you know who also live at high altitudes what their secrets are. There are plenty of internet sites where high altitude bakers share their quick tips and successes. Try visiting TheKitchn.com for advice from fellow bakers, or AllRecipes.com for basic high altitude recipes and reviews. And when you come across a recipe that works for you, consider sharing it with others, too!
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