The Fresh Loaf

A Community of 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.


G. Marie's picture
G. Marie

Colorado State University has some great information on high altitude baking. 

The most important take away for breads is that at higher altitudes is that you can use less yeast. Your bread will rise faster since there is less atmospheric pressure. So you can use the same amount of yeast and punch it down to let it rise longer or cut back the yeast. I always cut back the yeast.


Abelbreadgallery's picture

You can also delay or accelerate fermentation with Hydration, with quantity of salt, the temperature of the dough ... High altitude has a little impact, we have tools and knowledgement to manage the situation.

bsumberg's picture

I also live at 7000 ft and find no difference in bread baking. Of course, I tend to use a starter or a small amount of yeast and long fermentation so don't have an opinion on amount of yeast. Where the real difference is, is cakes and things using chemical leavening. You will find all kinds of formulas that add or subtract liquid and flour but what has worked for me is to use half the recipe requirement of baking powder/soda. With this adjustment cakes don't rise to high and then fall. Bobbie