Baking with Altitude: A Fluffy Obsession
posted by: Christina Antus
- Adding more flour. This is supposed to help strengthen the structure of baked goods. In my case, it turns my flat, crumbly cookies into fluffy cookies I can crack cement with.
- Decreasing sugar. Increasing evaporation and sugar equals weak baked goods. If my end goal is to bake a cookie consisting entirely of crumble that’s the pastry equivalent of eating sand, then there are no sugar adjustments required.
- Extra liquids. Adding more liquid in Colorado keeps everything from drying out—this applies to people too. I can increase liquids by adding one to two tablespoons for every 3,000 feet of elevation. Then, adding 1 1/2 teaspoons more for every additional 1,000 feet of elevation. Since math is more of a disability than a learned skill for me, I just toss in a few extra eggs or some water so that I can get the same results as not adding anything.
*Note: If you live at 14,000 feet and don’t increase liquids properly, your cookies will disintegrate before they even get into the oven.
- Turn the heat up and the baking time down. Increasing the oven temperature helps set the foundation of baked goods before they have a chance to dry out. So, if I bake cookies at a higher temperature, they’ll set faster. This obviously means I don’t have to bake them as long, but I have to remember they takes less time. So, my dream of getting fluffy cookies usually end with a pretty realistic ball of carbon formerly known as cookies.
- Baked goods rise easier.
- Baked goods lose moisture faster.
- Baked goods mess with your psyche.
Christina lives in Denver with her husband, three kids, and two cats who still haven’t caught the red dot. She spends her time obsessing over how to bake fluffy cookies at high altitude and trying to predict the unpredictable weather patterns of the Front Range. When she’s not writing, she’s neglecting laundry, making mediocre meals for her family and answering the same question 147 times in a single minute. You can find her hiding in the closet and eating candy at www.christinaantus.net