Baking at High Altitudes? Think Twice!


Many of us can bake cakes or cookies at our current residence. However, what happens if you need to bake at a higher altitude of around 3,000 feet? The general process will stay the same, but a couple of key concepts must be mastered in order to make quality baked goods at altitude.

1. Increase Baking Temperatures Slightly

Simply put, things at higher altitudes evaporate quickly. Raising the heating temperature might seem like it will further speed up the process of evaporation, but what is really happening is that with the extra heat, the structure of your final product is becoming stronger.

2. Don’t Bake For So Long!

This point definitely builds off of point one. If you increase the baking temperatures in your oven, you do not need to bake for as long as the recipe requires. Let me rephrase that. If you do choose to bake for as long as the recipe requires, your final product will not be as good as it would have been had you baked for less time.

3. Add More Flour Than Required

This is one tip that I follow religiously whenever I visit my in-laws at higher altitudes in Colorado. As you probably already know, flour makes things rise. However, at a higher altitude, things are not as likely to rise at a predictable rate. The extra flour allows you to add extra structure to your baked goods that will be handy when baking at altitude.

4. Add More Liquids

If you add water or other liquids into your baked goods, increase the amounts when baking at altitude. As stated previously, the process of evaporation at elevation occurs at a much faster rate than at sea level, especially when you are baking at an increased temperature. Adding extra liquids will accommodate for the liquids lost during the extra evaporation.

5. Beat Eggs to a Foam

A lot of my friends forget to do this and then they wonder why my high altitude foods with eggs are better than theirs. Beat eggs more than you would at sea level when you are at a higher altitude. This might seem like an odd concept to grasp at first, but at altitude, when more liquids are evaporating, a less beaten egg might become hard during the baking process. Beating them to foam will fix this problem.

There you have it. If you ever find yourself in need of baking at a high altitude, you are prepared to do so. Just remember the five steps listed above and your products will turn out just fine.

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