High Altitude Baking is a CHALLENGE.
I bake in Loveland, Colorado, at about 5000 ft in elevation. Sometimes that can do some funky things to the texture or composition of my baked goods.
I bet you’re reading this because you’ve had some frustrating results with high altitude baking too.. cookies that spread too thin, caved in breads, dry and crumbly cornbread – sound all too familiar??
Check out my tips and tricks below for some ideas on how to adjust your high altitude baked goods recipes, for masterpieces instead of flops!
Quick breads and quick bread muffins:
I have had great success with quick breads and quick bread muffins in high altitude. I rarely make any adjustments, however if you are at an even higher altitude than I am, and your recipe does not turn out, check out the following tips:
- Bread collapsing in the middle and not looking like the correct shape? Try decreasing the baking soda and baking powder a bit (you can omit the baking powder entirely and reduce the baking soda at least 1/4 tsp).
- Did your brownies look perfect until the middle sunk in too far? Try decreasing both the baking powder and baking soda (you can omit the baking powder entirely and reduce the baking soda 1/4 tsp). You could also try adding another egg.
Cake, cupcakes, cornbread and bakery style muffins:
- Cake, cupcakes, cornbread or bakery style muffins sinking in the middle and/or turning out too dry and crumbly? Try decreasing the baking soda and omitting the baking powder. For large recipes like cake and cupcakes you can even try cutting your baking soda in half!
- You can also add an extra egg for moisture (which then you may need a bit more flour to compensate for the extra moisture from the egg).
- Typically, the first step in your recipe to make cakes, cupcakes, cornbread or bakery style muffins is to cream together your butter and sugar. Make sure that you cream your butter and sugar together very lightly to create as little air as possible. The more air pockets you have the more difficult it is for the texture to turn out well in high elevation.
- Similar to quick breads and quick bread muffins, I don’t always adjust a cookie recipe. However, I have a particular method for preparing my cookie dough so that my cookies turn out perfectly every time…
- My favorite tip for cookies of any kind is to roll the cookie dough into balls and chill the dough for a few hours before you bake it. This helps the dough to spread out slower in the oven so that it doesn’t spread out too far. This also helps to create a delicious pillow-y middle in your cookie. YUM.
- You can also try adding an extra egg to your cookie recipe, and adding a little more flour to compensate for the extra moisture from the egg. The extra egg will help the cookies stay together better and stay moist and thick.
Other desserts? Pie crusts, tarts, crumbles, yeast dough breads, and other baked goods shouldn’t need any other adjustments.
Baking is a science!
And baking at altitude in particular can be a hard science to figure out.
You may have a recipe flop entirely. Over the years I have definitely had cookies spreading too thin and dry, crumbly cornbread on more than one occasion!
But I urge you to keep trying, ask me questions if you have any, and if your goal is to master high altitude baking then keep working at it!