Baking at High Altitudes

Want more high-altitude baking tips? Check out the video below!

What ingredients to adjust when you’re baking 3,000 feet above sea level!

Measure Twice, Bake Once.

Whether you live in a sky-reaching locale like Colorado, as our friends at Mermaids Bakery and Pie House do, or you’re just visiting one, you may have noticed that when you’re thousands of miles above sea level your desserts can end up. . .well, a bit flat. So what goes wrong? Well, it’s all about sea level, and being too far above it. Never fear, though, with some quick adjustments baking in the clouds can be a breeze.

The reason why a cake tends to fall in high altitudes is because of the lack of air-pressure. With less air-pressure pushing down on the cake the natural gasses (CO2) created while baking, escape faster then usual. So, essentially, in this scenario, the CO2 escapes before the cake can set, leaving the cake with no air pockets to support itself. Neat, huh? So then, midway through baking the cake loses its structure and. . .boom! It falls flatter than a bad note in the first round of American Idol.

To prevent this from happening, all you need to do is add less leavening ingredients. . .things like baking powder, yeast, or sugar. Additionally, because of the higher altitude you will experience lower humidity which can dry out flour, so you can fix this problem by adding a little extra liquid to the recipe to make the cake stay nice and moist.

Here are some measurements you may want to follow when you’re cooking at various elevations.

3,000 ft

If you’re cooking 3,000 feet above sea level, reduce your baking powder by 1/8 of a teaspoon for every teaspoon required. Remove 1 tablespoon of sugar for each cup, and increase all liquids by 2 tablespoons for each cup. Turn the oven up by an extra 25° F to ensure the cake cooks evenly.

5,000 ft

When cooking 5,000 feet above sea level, decrease your baking powder by 1/8 of a teaspoon for every teaspoon required. Remove 2 tablespoons of sugar for each cup and increase all liquids by 3 tablespoons for each cup. Again, crank up the oven an extra 25° F.

7,000 ft or more
And if you’re cooking 7,000 feet or higher, decrease your baking powder by 1/4 of a teaspoon for every teaspoon required. Remove 3 tablespoons of sugar for each cup, increase all liquids by 4 tablespoons, and turn the temperature up by an extra 25° F.

Remember, if you modify a recipe make sure to keep an eye on the oven to make sure you don’t burn whatever you’re baking. Now that you know how altitudes can affect baking you are one step closer to making moist, fluffy and most importantly delicious desserts in the sky.

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