The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Going Nuts on the Oregon and California Trails

Noche's picture

Going Nuts on the Oregon and California Trails

Here were some of the frustrations for those baking sourdough bread on the Oregon and California Trails.

Coast to Coast Elevations - Boston 10 feet; Harrisburg, PA 320 feet; Ft. Leavenworth, KS 772 feet; Ft. La Rame or Ft. Laramie, Wyoming 4,200 feet; South Pass on the Wyoming Continental Divide 7,550 feet; Salt Lake 5,600 feet; Twin Falls, Idaho 3,700 feet; Boise, ID 2,600 feet; Top of the Blues - Kamela, Oregon 4,500 feet; End of Trail Willamette Valley, Oregon 344 feet; Truckee, California – 5,840 feet; End of the trail Sacramento, California – 25 feet.

Fuels Divided into East Coast, Mid Continent and Western areas: hardwoods with a coal (long lasting); chips (dung) no coal and whatever - squaw wood, sage, pine, grass - short lasting or no coal.

Boiling Temperature of water vs. altitude: Boston - 212 degrees; South Pass - 199 degrees; Kamela, Oregon 204 degrees; Willamette Valley, Oregon and Sacramento, California – end of trail - 211 degrees.

Making it work at South Pass, Wyoming – altitude vs. cooking – going up hill they needed more water (evaporation is faster at high altitudes), flour, salt and increased cooking times; with less fat and leaven. Going down hill the needed was for less water, flour, salt and less cooking time with an increase in fat and leaven. The University of Nebraska says that for every 1,500 feet of altitude change, it requires a recipe change.



Floydm's picture

Just like in cookbooks, when not stated assume that most of us are near sea level. It is asking too much to expect everyone to include their altitude in their recipe (just as it would not be fair to expect Europeans or Canadians to post recipes in Imperial measurements or Americans to post in metric). As with all of us, you should think of the recipe as a set of guidelines which will need to be adapted to your conditions, not an exact formula or prescription.