The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking in high altitude

Pletynka's picture

Baking in high altitude

Do you see any difference or need to adjust recipes when baking in high altitude? I just baked in 7,400 feet and the dough felt much wetter than I expected. Not sure if that was my mistake or if the high altitude causes things behave differently. 

MichaelH's picture

Baking at altitude requires adjustments in ingredients and oven temps. There are hundreds of sites that will give you guidance. Suggest you so a search

etheil's picture

The only difference I've encountered when baking bread has to do with using commercial yeast. I normally use 2/3 instant yeast compared to what the recipe calls for. I haven't really noticed a difference with sourdough. Having said that, I've not done a lot of baking at sea level so I'm not sure if my process at 5280 would be successful at 0.


MtnNewf's picture

I've been baking at 9200 ft for 12 years, now.  I reduce the yeast by at least 1/3 (or you can do an extra rise).  A friend at 6300 ft reduces the yeast by 1/4.  I find that it will take less flour (or more water); the flour in my kitchen is, generally, much drier than the flour in a more humid climate.  I start with about 1/3 less flour and go by feel.  The other thing that I really notice is that at sea level (or close to it), I can cover rising bread with a kitchen towel, but in our drier atmosphere here, I have to cover it with plastic wrap, or it will end up with a crust on it by the time it finishes rising.  From the Colorado State Extension website:

"High altitude has its most pronounced effect on the rising time of bread. The shortened rise period can interfere with flavor development, thus less yeast may be used or the dough may be punched down, allowed to rise a second time, and punched down again before molding into loaves or rolls. Watch carefully to prevent over-rising. Allow dough to rise until just double in bulk, as over-proofing can result in a heavy, dry loaf or misshapen or collapsed loaf.

"Flours tend to be drier and thus able to absorb more liquid in high, dry climates. Therefore, less flour or possibly additional liquid may be needed to moisten the dough to the proper consistency."

Skibum's picture

Courtesy of King Arthur Flour:

Living and baking at 4,420 feet above sea level, this has been most useful.

Happy baking! Ski