Baking GF muffins

Asked November 4, 2019, 12:48 PM EST

My pumpkin GF free muffins look different than when I bake at the Calif coast. How do so adjust my recipe or bake time

Deschutes County Oregon

2 Responses

Thanks for contacting Ask an Expert!

Baking at higher altitudes can be a challenge!

Recipes, equipment and techniques can be adapted to have successful results. Baking is more of an exact science with lots of variables, so it is difficult to give you specific recommendations that will be successful the first time. You may need several tries with some detective work to find out what works.

Most people find good success with a one or two small changes at your altitude. First, reduce the leavening, like baking powder or baking soda, by 1/2. The leavening creates carbon dioxide and too much of it, caused by less air pressure (at higher altitudes), means your batter is rising much more quickly than it does at sea level or lower altitudes. When the growing bubbles in the batter are completely formed they pop and the batter drops down. At sea level and lower altitudes, eggs coagulate - get firm - at certain temperatures for certain lengths of time. This is what changes the batter to a cookie, cake or loaf. In the lower altitude baking recipes, the air bubbles form to the correct uniform size at the same time the eggs set up. At higher altitudes, the air bubbles pop before the eggs get hot enough to coagulate.

If that doesn't completely solve the problem, adjusting your oven, too, can be helpful. Usually, an increase of temperature by about 20-25 degrees F helps. However, everyone's ovens are different. Warm spots, cool spots, air circulation blocked by over-filled racks are some of the things that may cause temperature changes. Try to get your baking pan or baking sheet in the center of the oven. If you have more than one pan, stagger the pans so one is not directly on top of the other or that they are about 2-3 inches apart on the same rack and from the edges of the oven.

Sometimes, but much less frequently, the oven is too hot and the eggs set up before the bubbles can completely form. If you think that is what is happening, you might try reducing the temperature by 20-25 degrees F.

If you have a convection oven, turn off the fan for baking. The increased air circulation will dry out the outside of the item while it is baking and keep it from rising to the full height.

I find that gf products need about 5 to 10 more minutes to bake completely. If you are using the very large size muffin tins, you might want to change to a smaller size if you think the outer edges are getting too brown.