High Altitude BakingWritten by Lauren Danver
High altitude baking can be a real adventure for cook, with a number of challenges to keep you on your toes. The higher you are in elevation, less pressure there will be. How does this affect your baking creations? Low air pressure creates increased evaporation of liquids during baking process and this can cause your cakes to fall. Baking at high altitudes means a few more adjustments so that your baked goods will come out perfectly, ready to tempt finest of taste buds.
Start by following high altitude recipes by letter. For some bakers, this will work out fine. For others, changes will be necessary. Begin with making adjustments to your oven temperature by 15 - 25 degrees F. Next, adjust ingredients in your recipe. For cakes that are supposed to rise, using either yeast or baking powder, you will need to make some changes.
If you are using yeast during high altitude baking you will have to make sure that dough rises slowly. For cakes using baking powder make certain not to over-beat eggs. You will also have to decrease amount of baking powder used.
A decrease in atmospheric pressure will cause gases to expand easier. For your lovely meringue toppings, meringue (angel) pie shells, angel and sponge cakes, follow following suggestions: Whip egg whites to medium-soft peaks instead of stiff peaks. Add more stiffening with a bit more flour and a bit less sugar. Also, with your increase in oven temperature by 25 degrees F, batter will have a better chance to set before air bubbles or leavening gases have chance to become too expansive.
When preparing puddings and cream-pie fillings above 5,000 feet, using a double boiler will not provide you with maximum gelatinization of starch. You can simply use direct heat rather than a double boiler.
High altitude will affect rising time of bread most. At high altitudes, rising period will be shortened. To maintain development of a good flavor in your breads, you will need to preserve longer rising period. Punch bread dough down twice to give time for flavor to develop. Remember that flours tend to be drier and able to absorb more liquid in high, dry climates. Use less flour when bringing dough to proper consistency. You may want to experiment a bit with this for best results.
The World's Best PicklesWritten by Janette Blackwell
I knew they were world’s best pickles moment I tasted one. That first taste took place around 1950, and I’ve tasted a lot of pickles since, am a pickle hound in fact, but I’ve never come across anything else as good.
They came to us by way of my Uncle Ronald Smith, who was an electrician in Bitterroot Valley of Montana where I grew up. One day he was doing electrical work for a Bulgarian family, and they rewarded him with a sample pickle. He liked it so much he got recipe and gave it to his wife Gladys, who gave it to Grandma Glidewell, who made it and gave some to me, and I thought I’d died and gone to pickle heaven.
And thus, although they became an old Glidewell family recipe, they are really an old Bulgarian family recipe. The Bulgarian family, whose name I do not know, told Uncle Ronald that in Bulgaria, when first heavy frost kills tomato vines, they put all their end-of-garden vegetables –- including those green tomatoes -- into a barrel, fill barrel with pickling brine, and eat best pickles in world all winter. It turns out, though, that pickles’ travel from Bulgaria to U.S. was only one leg of a more ancient journey. Because I mentioned them to an Iranian woman, and she said, “My family has always made pickles like that! Exactly like that, except we add tarragon.”
Iran being new name for ancient kingdom of Persia, who knows how many centuries these pickles go back?
There’s more: I later lost recipe’s brine proportions. Gave some thought to its travels between Persia and Bulgaria, looked in an Armenian-American cookbook (Treasured Armenian Recipes, published in 1949 by Armenian General Benevolent Union) and there they were, under “Mixed Pickles No. 2.” Turns out world’s best Armenian pickles are just like world’s best Bulgarian and Persian and American pickles, except they include dill, and sometimes green beans and coriander seed.