Altitude Adjustments

At high altitudes, atmospheric pressure is much lower than at sea level. This factor must be taken into account in cake baking. Formulas must be adjusted to suit different baking conditions over 2,000 or 3,000 feet (600 or 900 meters) above sea level.

Although general guidelines can be given, the exact adjustments required vary for different kinds of cake. Many manufacturers of flour, shortening, and other bakery ingredients supply detailed information and adjusted formulas for any given locality.

In general, the following adjustments must be made above elevations of 2,000 or 3,000 feet (600 or 900 meters). See Table 32.3 for more specific adjustments.

Leavening

Leavening gases expand more when air pressure is lower, so baking powder and baking soda must be decreased.

Creaming and foaming procedures should also be reduced so that less air is incorporated.

Percentage Adjustment

Percentage Adjustment

Ingredient

Baking powder

Flour

Eggs

Sugar

Liquid

Increase or Decrease

Decrease Increase Increase Decrease Decrease Increase

2500 Feet (750 m)

5000 Feet (1500 m)

7500 Feet (2300 m)

To make adjustments,multiply the percentage indicated by the amount of ingredient and add or subtract as indicated. Example: To adjust 1 lb (16 oz) eggs for 7,500 feet:

Tougheners: Flour and Eggs

Cakes require firmer structure at high altitudes. Both eggs and flour must be increased to supply proteins for structure.

Tenderizers: Shortening and Sugar

Shortening and sugar must be decreased so that the structure of the cake is firmer.

Liquids

At high altitudes,water boils at a lower temperature and evaporates more easily. Liquids must be increased to prevent excess drying both during and after baking.This also helps compensate for the decrease in moisturizers (sugar and fat) and the increase in flour, which absorbs moisture.

Baking Temperatures

Increase baking temperatures about 25°F (14°C) above 3,500 feet.

Pan Greasing

High-fat cakes tend to stick at high altitudes. Grease pans more heavily. Remove baked cakes from pans as soon as possible.

Storing

Wrap or ice cakes as soon as they are cool to prevent drying.

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