High-Altitude Baking

The Italian Alps. Photo Courtesy Travel GGG

What a wonderful Christmas we had while visiting Colorado – fresh brisk air, snow, friends and family.  And as is our tradition, we baked.

The challenge this year was the high altitude and how it would affect favorite breads, cookies, and quick breads.  While there are many terrific high-altitude baking books available, any baker understands the comfort one has with tried and true familiar recipes.  Aren’t there a few simple adjustments to compensate for the altitude?

We baked using recipes from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible and The Pie and Pastry Bible, Nancy Silverton’s Breads from the La Brea Bakery, Carol Field’s The Italian Baker, and King Arthur Flour’s Bakers Companion and Cookie Companion.

Here’s what we learned about high-altitude baking this Christmas in the Rocky Mountains:

High altitude, among other things, can significantly affect baking outcomes.  With higher altitude comes lower air pressure and typically drier atmospheric conditions.  Altitude begins to affect baking results at around 3,000 feet – a level where the baker must begin to make recipe modifications.

Below are some helpful tips when you’re baking at a high altitude:

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