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High Altitude Cooking

High Altitude Cooking

Most recipes are written for sea level.  There isn’t a magical formula on how to adjust recipes for high altitudes.  There are just too many variables depending on your exact altitude, recipe, humidity, etc.  It is best to start adjusting slightly and record your adjustments and results,  then improve on them the next time you make the recipe.

Cooking at Different Sea Levels

Here’s a few of the ways decreased atmospheric pressure (the higher you go) affects almost everything you cook:

1. Boiling Water gets easier.  Water boils when there’s enough energy (heat) in it to overcome atmospheric  pressure.  If there’s less atmospheric pressure, then water will boil at a lower temperature.

2. Evaporation is quicker. In general liquids evaporate faster.  Things dry out faster.

3. The air tends to be dryer.   This affects some ingredients like flour.

4. Rising is faster. Since there’s less pressure holding in gases that cause rising in foods, it occurs really fast.  Anything with yeast, baking powder, or baking soda is going to be really active.  Too active probably.

5. If you are cooking beans regularly - then invest in a pressure cooker.  It takes about twice as long to cook without a pressure cooker.

Adjusting Recipes for High Altitudes:

Here are a few tips:

1. Once you hit about 5,000 feet, decrease the amount of baking powder you’re using by 1/8

2. For most baked goods, raise the baking temperature by 15-20 degrees and decrease the cooking time by a few minutes (this will help the baked item set faster so there’s less of a chance that it will collapse.)

3. Try adding an extra Tablespoon of flour per cup of flour to also help your baked goods stay together and not rise too fast.

4. Since things are dryer, consider adding an extra Tablespoon of liquid per cup of liquid to most recipes.

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