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When buying cake mixes, look for high altitude baking instructions on box. Your quick breads will vary from muffin-like to cake-like in structure. The cell structure of biscuits and muffin-like quick breads should be firm enough to withstand increased internal pressure at high altitudes without need of adjustment. Be cautious, though, as a bitter or alkaline flavor can result from inadequate neutralization of baking soda or powder. To avoid this, reduce baking soda or powder slightly and this can often improve your results. The quick breads with a cake-like texture will be more delicately balanced and can often be improved at high altitudes when you follow adjustment recommendations given for cakes.
You can also take advantage of a variety of charts available for high altitude baking. These will come in handy and help you determine what adjustments to make according to how many feet above sea level you are. The higher altitude more adjustments are needed.
The following guidelines may be used as a general rule of thumb. Remember to test each recipe, first, for best results:
3,000 to 4,500 feet: decrease baking powder 1/4 tsp per required tsp decrease liquids by 1 Tbs for each cup required
5000 to 6000 feet: decrease baking powder by 1/4 tsp for each tsp. required decrease sugar by 2 Tbs for each cup required increase liquid by 2 to 4 Tbs for each cup required
6000 feet and above: decrease baking powder by 1/4 tsp - 1/2 tsp for each tsp. required decrease sugar by 3 to 4 Tbs for each cup used increase liquid by 2 to 4 Tbs for each cup used
Altitudes over 10000 feet: same as 6000 feet, but add an extra egg to recipe
High altitude baking can be fun. As you experiment, you will come up with formula that works for you at your level of elevation. You should begin with suggested adjustments and then make minor tweaks here and there. Your good efforts will produce quality baked goods, sure to please even gourmet in all of us.
About the author: Lauren Danver is the owner of All Kitchen Supplies, where you can find all types of discount kitchen products. She also recently relocated from living at sea level to over 5,000 feet!