baking in high altitude

Asked June 3, 2017, 7:55 AM EDT

To test for doneness (bread, cakes and pies) I use an instant read thermometer. I moved to an area of about 5000 feet - will my baked goods be done at a lower temperature? Some things I make seem dry. I used to bake things to 200 degrees.

Also, I'm now baking some gluten free things, will there be a difference in internal temperature for those? Thanks

Denver County Colorado

1 Response

End Temperature of Baked Products at High Altitude

All great questions. As for the answers it depends, and more research is needed about this method for determining the end temperature of various baked goods at varying altitudes. What I can tell you is that our state specialist found a reference to baking sour dough bread to 195° F at 7,700 feet and another state specialist, who bakes at 10,000 says 188°F works for her sour dough bread.

My suggestion is after reviewing the information below and on the links provided you experiment a little. When you are satisfied with the final product, check the temperature for future reference when baking the same type of product. Better yet, share the results with me, so we can expand our knowledge on this method that is gaining in popularity.

From King Arthur:

“What we learned about using a thermometer with yeast bread:

  • Use a thermometer (I like the Thermapen) to assess the doneness of pan breads, freeform loaves, and soft rolls. A temperature of 190°F at the center will yield bread that’s fully baked (soft and moist) but not over-baked (tough and dry).

  • For thin/crusty bread with a dry interior, like baguettes, small crusty rolls, or focaccia, rely on crust color to determine the point of optimum doneness.

  • Due to certain inherent characteristics of rye flour, rye bread tends towards excessive moistness, and should be baked to an internal temperature of 205°F to 210°F.

  • Gluten-free yeast bread needs to bake to 205°F in order to gelatinize its starches, which “lock up” and provide the bread’s structure.

  • Bakers working at high altitude should reduce the desired internal temperature of their breads by about 5°F, to account for water’s lower boiling point.”

    From Serious Eats:

    “Lastly, when we bake bread the starches in our flour—which, as we mentioned in previous posts, form the majority of our flour—gelate, meaning they absorb water and solidify. As Emily Beuhler and Harold McGee discuss, this process is what offers bread it's final structure, and forms the majority of what we actually eat. This process begins around temperatures of 140 degrees and continues up to temperatures of around 180 degrees. This part of the baking process is why it's reciprocally important to let our loaves cool before slicing, or we end up eating gummy feeling bread.”

    Here’s a link to more end temperature information. It says meat but also has baking temperatures.

    Here’s the link the CSU High Altitude Food Preparation Guide

    Here’s a link to the CSU Farm to Table website containing lots of information and recipes on gluten free cooking.

    I hope this information is helpful.