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Baking at 8250′

The comfort of baking

The first thing I baked when the Coronavirus moved into our lives was a batch of cinnamon rolls, my foremost comfort food. I use a recipe in an ancient copy of Joy of Cooking that a boyfriend gave me when I was in college. As my comfort baking has continued, I’ve been dragging out old recipes, and recently I found this pamphlet that I had forgotten about.

When I moved to Nederland 45+ years ago, my mother gave me this 28-page pamphlet from the Colorado State University Extension Service that was originally published in 1948. My copy is from May 1959. Mile-High Cakes, Recipes for High Altitudes starts with general information and includes recipes for 5,000 feet, 7,500 feet, and 10,000 feet. As you can tell from the picture of the cover, I used it a lot, and I learned a lot from it, mostly that everything is different up here, from the reactions of the ingredients to the baking times. It even talks about cooking in a woodstove, which was helpful because at the time I was living in a one-room log cabin and cooking on an old workhorse of a woodstove.

A few good cookbooks

Of course, you don’t have to ransack your bookshelves to find good cookbooks about baking at high altitudes. Here are a few.

Pie in the Sky: successful baking at high altitudes: 100 cakes, pies, cookies, breads, and pastries home-tested for baking at sea level, 3,000, 5,000, 7,000, and 10,000 feet (and anywhere in between), by Susan Gold Purdy
Who needs a description with a title that long?  (hard copy)

The High Altitude Cookbook, by Beverly Anderson Nemiro  (hard copy)

High Altitude Baking : 200 delicious recipes & tips for perfect high altitude cookies, cakes, breads & more
This is the updated version of my old book with more than just cakes.  (hard copy)

Bread Baking For Beginners: Bread Baking Cookbook, by Angela Pierce
Bread isn’t as tricky as cakes at high altitude, and kneading the dough can be meditative.  (ebook)

The gluten-free almond flour cookbook, by Elana Amsterdam  (hard copy)


Kay Turnbaugh is the webmaster for Nederland Community Library and a local author.

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