Altitude Baking Myths?
altitude bakers can find ubiquitous bookmarks listing rules,
do’s and don’ts, tips for success...but do they
really work? Are they myth-taken? When I put popular tips
to the test in actual mountain-top kitchens, I was in for
a big surprise...many of the rules were wrong! Don’t
bake on a mountaintop before reading this chapter.
“Always substitute extra-large eggs for medium
or large eggs when baking at high altitude.”
Right and Wrong. Sometimes a large egg is just the right amount,
but sometimes bigger is better, adding extra liquid and protein
to a batter. It all depends on what the batter needs. An egg
yolk is all fat (and contains an emulsifier), the whites are
protein (which add strength, but too much white can dry out
a batter). One large egg=3 tablespoons of liquid, and extra-large
egg = 4 to 5 tablespoons liquid. Egg grading and size vary,
so you can’t depend on an extra-large egg for an all-purpose
sea level, raise baking temperature 25 degrees”.
Wrong. It depends upon what you are baking, and the specific
altitude. Raising the heat can cause a cake to crust over
on top before it bakes inside, or it can make cookies spread
too fast and burn. Sometimes using moderate heat for a longer
baking time is a better solution.
reduce leavening as altitude rises.”
Right and Wrong. Through 5,000 feet, leavening in cakes can
sometimes be the same as at sea level; at higher elevations
you usually need to cut back on chemical leaveners slightly.
Ratios of baking powder to baking soda must be carefully balanced.
Yeast breads rises more quickly above 5,000 feet; yeast quantities
can be reduced slightly and/or dough can be refrigerated to
slow rising, or punched down more often.
or packaged mixes always work at high altitude.”
Wrong. They don’t work properly over 6,500 feet.
YOURSELF ON THESE – RIGHT or WRONG?
• Reduce fat in all rich cake recipes as altitude increases
• Make no adjustments to pie crusts, pie fillings, or
cookie recipes at altitude
• Watch out for cake batters overflowing their pans
at high altitude
• Use smaller pans when baking at all high altitudes
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