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Nutrition and Food Safety|University of Wyoming Extension

Baking and Food Storage - Altitude Adjusters

If you are a newcomer to the mountain area of Wyoming, you may wonder why your potatoes take longer to cook or why your cakes continually fall. Recipes from low altitudes usually need to be adjusted at altitudes above 3,000 feet (see chart). These adjustments are made in time, temperature and/or ingredients.

Here's Why:
High altitude means lower air pressure, which decreases water's boiling temperature from 212oF at sea level to 203oF at 5,000 feet and to just 199oF at 7,200 feet. This variation affects cooking of vegetables, eggs, candies, and internal structure of baked products because water and liquids evaporate faster and leavening gases in breads and cakes expand more.

Do not assume your sea level recipe will fail. Try it first because it may need little or no modification. This is especially true of meats and vegetables cooked with dry heat (in the oven). Even with making recommended altitude adjustments to sea level recipes, the quality may never be the same as when it was prepared at sea level.

Following is a list of "Altitude Adjusters" which you may find helpful in high-country food preparation:

#1: Adjusting Cake Recipes

#2: Adjusting For Foods Cooked in Water or Steam

#3: Adjusting Quick Bread Recipes

#4: Adjusting Candy, Syrup and Jelly Recipes

#5: Adjusting Cookie Recipes

#6: Adjusting Pudding and Cream Pie Filling Recipes

#7: Adjusting Deep Fat Frying Temperatures

#8: Adjusting Yeast Bread Recipes


Source: Altitude Adjusters by Karen Kettlewell Harrington, University of Wyoming Extension Publication B-734, 1981, with adaptations from UW Extension Cent$ible Nutrition cookbook.

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