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High altitude cake baking

Dessert

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5 replies to this topic

#1 chow guy

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Posted 07 October 2004 - 08:32 AM

Peter ,
Thank you so very much for your generous, sage advice. This has been the most informative Q&A I've come across on egullet. Also, thank you for all of your wonderful books. Your generous style and spiritualty instill a sense of connectedness with the prepartion and sharing of food. I teach cooking classes and have put "Sacramental Magic in a Small Town Cafe" on the required reading list for novices (pun intended).

My question is about high altitude cake baking. I live at 5,000 feet and have a cabin at 7,200 feet elevation. Do you have a formula for high altitude cakes? We generally have low humidity which plays a part too, and how does barametric pressure effect high altitude baking?

Many Thanks
CG

#2 Peter Reinhart

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Posted 07 October 2004 - 10:33 AM

Peter ,
Thank you so very much for your generous, sage advice. This has been the most informative Q&A I've come across on egullet. Also, thank you for all of your wonderful books. Your generous style and spiritualty instill a sense of connectedness with the prepartion and sharing of food. I teach cooking classes and have put "Sacramental Magic in a Small Town Cafe" on the required reading list for novices (pun intended).

My question is about high altitude cake baking. I live at 5,000 feet and have a cabin at 7,200 feet elevation. Do you have a formula for high altitude cakes? We generally have low humidity which plays a part too, and how does barametric pressure effect high altitude baking?

Many Thanks
CG

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I wish I could help with that but cakes are out of my depth. I would assume that you need to cut back on the chemical leaveners, as we discussed in the other posting for breads and quick breads. I believe, but can't be sure, that cakes should be treated like quick breads, including lowering the temp 1 degree per 100 feet above sea level (that's my guideline, but not everyone's), and you might want to drop in on a cake bakery and ask them what they do. Most bakers are willing to share such info (or risk you not coming back!). Good luck and let us know what you find. Are there any others of you with altitude tips?

#3 boulak

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 05:52 AM

Greetings,
In response to high altitude baking, at 5,000 to 6,000 feet, reduce your chemical leavening by 50%. For each additional 1,000 foot gain in elevation, you should reduce the leavening by an additional 5% to 10%. If you look at the directions on a box of cake mix you will notice that the instructions for high altitude baking direct you add more water and more flour. That in effect would dilute the power of the leavening. Another concern would be if you are using the creaming method, take care not to overcream, and mix lightly when adding the eggs. If too much air is incorporated, it may have the same effect as too much chemical leavening. Some texts indicate that the sugar and/or water content should be modified, but I have not found this necessary when staying within the guidelines above. Good luck.

#4 Peter Reinhart

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 09:32 AM

Greetings,
In response to high altitude baking, at 5,000 to 6,000 feet, reduce your chemical leavening by 50%.  For each additional 1,000 foot gain in elevation, you should reduce the leavening by an additional 5% to 10%.  If you look at the directions on a box of cake mix you will notice that the instructions for high altitude baking direct you add more water and more flour.  That in effect would dilute the power of the leavening.  Another concern would be if you are using the creaming method, take care not to overcream, and mix lightly when adding the eggs.  If too much air is incorporated, it may have the same effect as too much chemical leavening.  Some texts indicate that the sugar and/or water content should be modified, but I have not found this necessary when staying within the guidelines above.  Good luck.

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Thanks Boulak, great tips!

#5 chow guy

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 11:21 AM

Greetings,
In response to high altitude baking, at 5,000 to 6,000 feet, reduce your chemical leavening by 50%.  For each additional 1,000 foot gain in elevation, you should reduce the leavening by an additional 5% to 10%.  If you look at the directions on a box of cake mix you will notice that the instructions for high altitude baking direct you add more water and more flour.  That in effect would dilute the power of the leavening.  Another concern would be if you are using the creaming method, take care not to overcream, and mix lightly when adding the eggs.  If too much air is incorporated, it may have the same effect as too much chemical leavening.  Some texts indicate that the sugar and/or water content should be modified, but I have not found this necessary when staying within the guidelines above.  Good luck.

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Thanks for the tips! Does anything change again aafter 7,200 feet?

#6 boulak

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 12:45 PM

Thanks for the tips! Does anything change again aafter 7,200 feet?

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Yes, continue to reduce the amount of chemical leavening at 5% to 10% every 1,000 feet. Above 10,000 you may need to adjust the sugar and/or liquid.





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