Best Tools for High Altitude Baking
First, if you want to read all the posts that I think have a specific value in high-altitude baking, you can find them in my High-Altitude section. This includes recipes for things that I have found are particularly difficult to bake at altitude, and also a post about common high-altitude baking misconceptions. I have found that there’s some easy changes when it comes to converting a recipe to work wherever you live, and this area is a great place to start!
So, onto today’s post. I know you guys have probably seen a lot of posts about best baking tools, or blogger’s favorite baking tools, and trust me, I’ve got some favs. But today I’m going to talk through some of the tools that I find most valuable for high-altitude baking.
Listen, I’m not going to lie, it’s NOT all about the tools. I think there’s some easy recipe changes that don’t involve specific tools to make your recipes work, but this list encompasses some of my favorite items that make it easier to make it work up way up here.
So, let’s jump in- here are the best tools for high altitude baking:
- Instant Read Thermometer: These are pretty cheap, and they make a lot of things easier. Whenever you’re making a Swiss meringue buttercream and need to get the temperature of those egg whites, or if you’re making candy. But where it really shines for baking at altitude is in bread making. You need to make sure your yeast is bloomed at the right temperature to start, and you also may need to check the temperature of the bread once baked to make sure it’s done. Regardless, the absolute easiest choice is an instant read thermometer. I have this one, and it’s simple, affordable, and gets the job done.
- Non-Stick Baking Spray: I’ve recently started using this Pam Baking Spray, and it’s seriously impressive. It’s the only spray I’ve ever found that actually works for cakes, even intricate bundt pan cakes. This isn’t something I’ve tested, but there’s a lot of rumors out there that cakes are more prone to sticking to pans in high-altitude areas. Whether it’s true or not, AND whether you’re at altitude or not, cakes that stick to the pan are a serious bummer.
- Oven Thermometer: I put off buying this for a long time, thinking it didn’t really matter. But once I started to get down to the details with high-altitude baking, it became clear that oven temp is a big deal. You may need to adjust your oven temperature to adapt certain recipes, plus some ovens are CRAZY wrong! In my case, I found that my oven does reach the right temperature, but it takes way longer than it says- about 10 minutes longer than when the preheated ding goes off. Good to know you guys, seriously.
- Flavor enhancers: Baking at higher altitudes often presents flavor problems. I find this is most relevant to chocolate flavors, but it carries through to other areas as well. You want to make sure you’ve always got some flavor enhancing ingredients in your pantry and ready to go- here’s my most used:
- Vanilla extract: This is an easy one- of course vanilla is probably the most used extract out there. But it’s good to note that it enhances the flavor even in non-vanilla centered recipes, like chocolate cake for example. Also, since there’s a lot of fluctuation in the vanilla market today, it can be a big deal to find something affordable and flavorful!
- Instant espresso powder: Again, I use this to enhance the flavor of chocolate desserts on a regular basis. It won’t make things taste like coffee (unless you want it to) and it just gives recipes a bit more depth of flavor sometimes. It’s great in oatmeal cookies, chocolate cake and frosting!
- Dark cocoa powder: Seriously, did I mention chocolate cake issues? It drives me insane! Here’s what I’ve found when it comes to cocoa powder- this option from Hershey’s can be used to equal-swap regular cocoa powder in recipes, so it’s simple, and it offers a lot more flavor. The way I see it, this is how you achieve that strong chocolate flavor you’ve seen in bakeries and boxed mixes when you’re baking from scratch up high.
- Correct measuring tools: Okay, okay, I know this tool isn’t limited to just baking at high-altitude. BUT, it can be really important to measure correctly here, and small adjustments in leavening agents, flour, and liquids can make a big difference in what you end up with. Here are my favorites for each type:
- Liquid measuring cup: This is a basic, and you want something that is big enough to easily hold most measurements that you’ll need. That being said, I own them in a ton of sizes- one cup, two cup, four cup, and eight cup.
- Dry measuring cups: I also own multiple sets of dry cups because okay, maybe I bake too much. Because flour alone is such a big factor in baking at altitude, you gotta get those dry measurements right guys!
Alright, that’s my list. Baking at altitude doesn’t have to be complicated, but having the right tools can make a big difference!
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