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Photo by mntgoatchick

Cooking Level: Expert

Living In: Collbran, Colorado, USA

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mntgoatchick is asking: (1 answer)
Is there ANYWAY you could add a conversion button for different altitudes? There are some GREAT recipes on here but altitude makes a huge difference especially with cakes, sweetbreads & candies..I'm so frustrated trying to bake cakes but they always flop...I'm turning to box mixes these days because of my altitude. Thank you in advance for your help and responses

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Last updated: Nov. 12, 2012 1:30 pm
Posted: Nov. 11, 2012 7:02 pm
Answered by: Lindsay
Nov. 11, 2012 7:07 pm
I know very little on this subject. However, my mom lives in Denver and told me that she had the same problem for a really long time after moving there. She told me that they sell "high altitude flour" at the grocery store. I never even heard of it. Have you tried that?
Nov. 11, 2012 7:08 pm
She says she no longer has problems now that she uses that flour. Hope this helps.
Nov. 11, 2012 7:42 pm
Lindsay, I've never heard of that and/or seen it....thank you so much for your suggestion! I live at 7000 ft... :) I know there is a link on this site for high altitude, but I feel that it would be so much simpler just to have a recipe, put in your altitude and select a button to convert the changes.
Nov. 11, 2012 9:06 pm
I have used the high altitude flour before. The brand name is something like Hungarian High Altitude Flour. But I personally don't think there is much difference... It would be great if they could have that button feature though!
Nov. 12, 2012 7:10 am
Merlion, thank you I hope they seriously think about the button as well.
Nov. 12, 2012 7:32 am
goatchick, the staff at Allrecipes doesn't check this for suggestions. You are reaching other members just like you. Look at the bottom of the page and click on Contact Us to send your suggestions to the site staff.
Nov. 12, 2012 8:34 am
Thanks Janet, didn't know this.
Nov. 12, 2012 9:18 am
You may have already found this site but passing it along just in case. The table in this link shows the adjustments at several different elevation levels *** ***. So if AR created such a button, they would likely have to develop it so that each users elevation level is entered in someway. For now, it looks like a calculator may be the way to adjust particular ingredients.
Nov. 12, 2012 11:22 am
ConkyJoe, thats exactly what I'm hoping they will do. I've sent them a request, so I'm hoping I hear something. I've got all links on the net in my favorites regarding H.A. recipes. Thank you.
Nov. 12, 2012 1:24 pm
Here is a link for high altitude that I do use:
Nov. 12, 2012 1:30 pm
I love this article: Above 3,000 feet in altitude the lower atmospheric pressure will affect cakes. There may be excessive rising which stretches the cell structure of the cake, making the texture coarse, or the cells can break before they set causing the cake to fall. This can usually be corrected by decreasing the amount of leavening agent and by increasing the baking temperature 15 degrees to 25 degrees. Because water in the batter evaporates quicker here, there is more of a concentration of sugar in the recipe which weakens the cell structure. Therefore we usually recommend decreasing sugar and increasing liquid. The cakes most likely to fall are those wonderful sweet, sticky, gooey rich ones. These super rich cakes may require reducing shortening by 1 or 2 tablespoons or by adding an extra egg. Some recipes will work fine without changes, others will take some experimenting. Here's a table* to give you a starting point. Adjustment 3,000 ft. 5,000 ft. 7,000 ft. Adjustment 3,000 ft. 5,000 ft. 7,000 ft. Reduce baking powder, for each tsp., decrease 1/8 tsp. 1/8-1/4 tsp. 1/4 tsp. Reduce sugar, for each cup, decrease 0-1 Tbsp. 0-2 Tbsp. 1-3 Tbsp. Increase liquid, for each cup, add 1-2 Tbsp. 2-4 Tbsp. 3-4 Tbsp. Angel food and sponge cakes use air for leavening. It comes from beating air into the eggs. Beat only until they form peaks that fall over - not stiff and dry, which cause the cells to collapse. Again, use less sugar and more flour and a higher baking temperature. We're often asked why we don't just add more flour and water to cake recipes like they do with box mixes. Isn't this more complicated. Have you ever tried to take some of the leavening or sugar out of a box mix? The only option on a box mix is to strengthen the cell walls by adding flour and water. High-altitude conversion tips: To convert standard recipes into those which can be used for high-altitude baking: Use 5% more flour - to disperse the leavening action and slow down the rapid rise of the cake. Use 20% more water - to counterbalance the rapid evaporation of liquids at high altitudes and the extra flour added to the cake batter. Bake about 25 degrees higher - to help "set" the cake's crust. Reduce baking time about 20% - prevent overbaking at the higher temperature. Fill pans 1/3 to no more than 1/2 full - to avoid batter overflow caused by rapid cake expansion. Use cold water and large cold eggs - to give cake extra strength. Generously grease and flour cake pans - to prevent cake from sticking. Since high altitude cakes rise higher, remove top oven rack to prevent cake from sticking to it. Have oven calibrated by a serviceman periodically, since some thermostats are affected by altitude. High-altitude cookie adjustment only cookies with lots of chocolate, nuts or dates need adjustment: reduce baking powder/soda by 1/2. At very high altitudes, a slight reduction of sugar may help. This is the fun part. Since I got the information from multiple places, they all have a hint as to what is best. At best this information will help you. Trial and error may be the thing for some baking. Thanks to the folks at the Colorado State University (Boulder), the University of Leavening agents, just need a smidgen of a decrease (1/8 t.) from about 400-9500 feet. Above that then yes, decrease by 1/4 t Sugar: I have yet to decrease sugar by more than 1 T per cup, actually I just measure it to just below the cup line in the measuring device. Liquid: from many that I have met or spoken to, those below about 4500 feet inform me that there are no true adjustments. However adding up to 4 T more of liquid without adding any extra flour could result in a soggy product. I suggest adding approx. 1-2 T per cup and a tad more above 9500 feet. 1-2 T of additional flour is a definite adjustment, especially for cookies otherwise they will become much too flat rather than nicely rounded with sustenance.
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