Cooking and Baking in High Altitude Places

With the increase in height from sea level, the atmospheric pressure changes. The higher the altitude, the lower is the atmospheric pressure which causes rapid evaporation. Because of lower boiling point of water, steam cooking can take a much longer time. This means foods require more water to get cooked and foods require more heat, to cook a bit longer than that of sea level.

On the other hand dry heat cooking like grilling and roasting shall not be affected as moisture content is not involved in these processes. Altitude does not alter the way air is heated and therefore a recipe like the roasted chicken shouldn’t require any adjustment in the procedure.

Prone to low humidity at higher altitudes, moisture in foods evaporate much more quickly when cooked. This moisture can be retained by covering the food while cooking. A tight fitting lid on the pot can help save gas as well as retain water content for further cooking.

One may also notice the fact that microwaves also take longer time to cook at higher altitudes. This happens because microwaves cook by exciting the water molecules in food and high loss of moisture is a basic drawback in foods at high altitude.

No one wants to lose out on making the best cakes and serving them to their loved ones with their own hands make their most precious moments memorable. Unfortunately, high altitudes have a lot of effects on baking in comparison to the rest of cooking processes.

Baked goods using leavening agents like yeast, baking powder, baking soda, egg whites, or steam tend to rise excessively, and then fall due to lower air pressure. Thus less leavening agents are to be used as elevation increases.

The three basic principles for high-altitude baking are

Reduce baking powder
Reduce sugar and increase liquids
Dry ingredients, especially flour, should be stored in airtight containers in this low humidity.

Due to faster evaporation, it is advised to increase the amount of liquid in batters and dough. This can be done by adding an extra egg. Decrease the use of baking powder while constantly increasing the amount of liquids. The baking temperature should also be increased by 15 to 25 degree Fahrenheit to help set the batter consistently. The same principle helps one make delicious cookies.

Muffins and biscuits generally develop a bitter or alkaline flavour, which can be counteracted by decreasing the baking soda or powder.

Every recipe is special and every recipe is different. Your plum cake is a lot different than a pineapple one. Any or all the above adjustments may be essential. One should maintain a good log of what rectifications were made for each recipe to serve the best possible. Experimentations at the last moment may prove extremely disastrous.