Frequently Asked Questions

Question

Q

Do you have tips for high altitude baking?

Answer(s)

A

If you have problems with fallen cakes, soft candies and collapsed breads, adjusting the recipes for Utah’s high altitude will give you picture-perfect culinary delights. Consider these tips.

Cakes:

  • If using a cake mix, follow the directions on the box for high altitude baking. If making a cake from scratch, several things will help. Decreasing the leavening agent keeps the product from over rising and collapsing. Decreasing the sugar reduces richness and sustains structure. Adding liquid helps maintain structure since quick evaporation occurs at high altitudes. Start with the adjustments below, making one change at a time.
  • Adjustment 3,000 feet 5,000 feet 7,000 feet
  • Baking powder- For each teaspoon, decrease by 1/8 teaspoon 1/8-1/4 teaspoon 1/4 teaspoon
  • Sugar- For each cup, decrease by 0-1 tablespoon 0-2 tablespoons 1-3 tablespoons
  • Liquid- For each cup add 1-2 tablespoons 2-4 tablespoons 2-4 tablespoons

Breads.

  • If using a bread machine, decrease the yeast by 1/8-1/4 teaspoon.
  • If making bread by hand, reduce rising time. Let bread rise only until double in bulk. Do not let it over rise.
  • Add more liquid if needed since flour looses moisture in dry climates.
  • If making quick breads, reduce the baking powder or soda by one fourth.

Candies.

For the best quality candies, calibrate and adjust your thermometer for altitude. Do this by placing your thermometer in boiling water for 10 minutes. Read the level on the thermometer. For example, if the thermometer reads 203 F, subtract this from 212 F (the boiling temperature of water at sea level). This leaves a nine degree difference. Then subtract that number from the temperature called for in the recipe. Example: If the recipe calls for 246 F, subtract nine to get a cooking temperature of 235 F. Cook candy to the newly adjusted temperature.

Posted on 22 Apr 2005

Pauline Williams
Family & Consumer Sciences and 4-H Agent, Salt Lake County

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