High Altitude Baking HELP
Posted: 09 December 2007 01:50 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Can anyone give some advice on high altitude baking? I’m baking at 4300 ft, I have no problems with bread, cakes are a nightmare! Most of my cakes sink in the middle, I have tried decreasing baking powder, increasing the oven temp. 15 degrees, and adding more flour. It is impossible for me to make any cake with a streusel topping, the cake simply consumes the streusel like a volcano! As you can tell I’m very frustrated:-)
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you

Suzy

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Posted: 09 December 2007 02:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Rose recommends the book “Pie in the Sky” by Susan Purdy for high altitude baking.

I also looked in the Cake Bible, and here are a few suggestions (although I don’t think you are supposed to do them all.  It is trial and error by recipe and cake type):

Decrease sugar (but not in Rose’s recipes because the sugar is already reduced)
Decrease baking powder
Increase eggs
Raise oven temperature by 25 degrees
Decrease butter for butter cakes
Add slightly more flour
Increase liquid (if cakes are too dry)

The general principle here is that you want to strengthen the structure.  Eggs, flour, and increased baking temperature contribute to structure while butter, sugar, and baking powder weaken it.  You would add more liquid because water boils at a lower temperature at higher altitudes.

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Posted: 09 December 2007 09:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Suzy - 09 December 2007 05:50 PM

Can anyone give some advice on high altitude baking? I’m baking at 4300 ft, I have no problems with bread, cakes are a nightmare! Most of my cakes sink in the middle, I have tried decreasing baking powder, increasing the oven temp. 15 degrees, and adding more flour. It is impossible for me to make any cake with a streusel topping, the cake simply consumes the streusel like a volcano! As you can tell I’m very frustrated:-)
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you

Suzy

Yes! Suzy,

I don’t have any problems with baking sourdough breads but when it comes to baking quick breads or cakes I do have a problem. So I quit baking them, then I heard about the book
“Pie In The Sky” by Susan G. Purdy, then I quickly ordered the book from Amazon. I’ve been baking up a storm since I got the book and have been revising my own old recipes with the help of her book. The book is great! Buy the book you won’t be sorry.

My elevation level is at 4200 ft. and she recommends that I choose my recipes from the 5,000 ft. level. You would also be baking at this level too.
She starts the baking levels at Sea level, 3,000 ft. 5,000 ft. 7,000 ft. and up to 10,000 ft.

In Susan’s testing, she discovered that there are no all-purpose remedies: each recipe is unique and requires special adjustments, but there are some general guidelines for high altitude baking that you can read about in her book. Susan even tells tells you where to place the oven rack for the best baking level, and which baking pans to use for the best results.

Susan Purdy will supply you with all the info…you will need to know to be successful in high altitude baking. [Quote from inside book-cover] Baking can be a challenge at best, or a total disaster. More than thirty-four of the fifty United States, plus many Canadian regions, have cities and towns at altitudes of more than 2,500 ft. yet there are hardly any cookbooks that address the special needs of these bakers. Until now. Award-winning cookbook author Susan Purdy has finally written the first ever foolproof guide to high-altitude baking.

Chaconey

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Posted: 10 December 2007 11:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thank you so much for the info.  I will order the book:-)

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Posted: 13 December 2007 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Ahhh! The joys of baking at high altitude! Indeed, “Pie in the Sky” is your best bet for high altitude baking—every recipe is throughly tested for each major altitude marker.

I live in Denver at 5,280 feet, and I have always struggled with cakes (quickbreads are generally not a problem, only requiring decreasing the leavening agents and sometimes adding an extra egg to heavy quick breads—like banana bread).

One important thing for baking cakes: you can’t use cake flour. There just is not enough protein in cake flour to offset the difference in air pressure, so cakes will always sink at high altitude if they are made with cake flour. Purdy uses and recommends all-purpose flour (bleached, I believe).

It’s a wonderful book, and gave me many “ah-ha!” moments

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Visit my blog: The Mile High Baker at http://www.milehighbaker.blogspot.com

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Posted: 16 December 2007 10:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thank you all so much for the advice, I have ordered the book:-)

Happy Holidays
Suzy

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