Many bakers believe
that boxed or pre-packaged mixes will work at high altitude
because they have special high altitude instructions on the
packages. In fact, the instructions have limitations and do
not always work! Read the altitude instructions carefully.
Most boxes say the adjustments work “over 3,500 feet”,
or in some cases “for 3500 to 6,500 feet”. But
if you are trying to bake at 7000 feet, forget it!
PIE IN THE SKY, author Susan G. Purdy tested mixes at 5 altitudes.
In general, she
found that they worked well through 5,000 feet. Above that,
cakes stuck to pans, fell or cratered in the center, and had
dry texture. The fix is simple: change the pan preparation
to include lining with baking parchment or wax paper, and
adjust ingredients. Depending on the altitude and humidity,
you need to add a little more flour and liquid to the batter.
In some cases, it helps to increase baking time as well. For
a detailed account of altitude tests and specific remedies,
see PIE IN THE SKY, page 317.
Want more? Buy Pie in the Sky.