The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Tips for high altitude baking?

beurre's picture

Tips for high altitude baking?

Hello! I’ve lived at sea level for most of my life, but will soon be relocating to a place at much higher altitude (~ 7000 ft). This is high enough that I will probably need to make adjustments to my usual recipes...

I know there are general resources available online, but I was hoping folks from TFL with experience baking at high altitude might also have advice ... 

When trying out a recipe for the first time, are there certain changes that you always make? Or do you test a recipe as written before making any changes?

Are there any rules of thumb that you swear by? Or common suggestions that you rarely observe?

Any favorite books or blogs?

I’m also curious to see documentation of experiments to modify recipes! (or just your favorite high-altitude recipes, of course)

Abelbreadgallery's picture

I live in Mexico, I bake at 6500-7500 ft high. Many years ago I lived in Barcelona near the sea. There are not big changes, if you bake in higher places (Bogotá in Colombia or La Paz in Bolivia) you will feel the consequences of the air pressure in the baking process, due to the gas expansion. But at 6500-7500 ft there's not a big impact. That's my experience. 

Dutchman's picture


I spend my time at sea level and 7,000 ft and had these same questions at the start.  There are sources that recommend less yeast, varying the amount of water, or varying the temperature.  I've tried most combinations and basically agree with our Spanish friend that it doesn't make too much difference.  I use the same recipes and conditions at both locations but tend to use a dutch oven at altitude, primarily for convenience.

The big change, however, is that water boils at around 198 °F in the mountains so if you are looking for an internal loaf temperature over 200 to indicate when baking is done, you'll be making toast!  Monitor times and adjust until you like the result.

Good Luck!

gavinc's picture

You may find this useful. It's Chef Jacob Burton from Stella Culinary School.

High Altitude baking and cooking, the science, tips and tricks.




JerrytheK's picture

I live near Denver, CO at about 5,600 feet. I've not noticed any real difference in break baking when using book recipes. As someone else mentioned, for temperature-based recipes, I have to keep in mind that boiling point here is only about 201 degrees F. I generally get a finished loaf's temperature just shy of 202 degrees.

Anything boiled (pasta for example) takes longer to cook. I've lived at near 9,500 feet and cooking pasta's nearly impossible.

As with any bread baking, experience and a good notebook of what you're doing will be your best friends.