High Altitude Baking — All your questions answered
This text is an excerpt from the book, Pie in the Sky, by Susan G. Purdy
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!
In 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.
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