High Altitude Cooking
Here's the rub. Electric stove. Ypes! Serious cooks want the efficiency of gas cooking. The pots and pans provided were flimsy/low quality. And then, enter a difference in the altitude on which we had based all our cooking techniques.
Cooking times and amount of liquid may vary for certain foods depending upon local altitude. Water boils at 212° F. at sea level, but the temperature is lower at higher altitudes because the air is thinner. For instance, the temperature is 198° F. at an altitude of 7500 feet above sea level. This means that cooking times must be lengthened at higher altitudes. Temperatures vary also according to the current barometric pressure. The Tucson, AZ, elevation is 2,643 feet above sea level (at the airport).
Approximate boiling point of water (a decrease of about 1 degree for every 540 feet of altitude):
We've experienced problems cooking both rice and dried beans, staples of our diet, using the same cooking times and amount of liquid we used in Fremont, CA, at 13 feet.
We've found that cooking pinto beans absolutely requires the use of a pressure cooker in Tucson. According to the manual for our pressure cooker, the cooking time and amount of liquid for pinto beans should be increased by 5% for every 1000 feet above 2000 feet. It doesn't seem like much, but for Tucson that equates to increasing the water by 1½ tablespoons and adjusting the cooking time from 25 to 26 minutes, a 3% adjustments. Mere a slight increase in both pressure cooking time and liquid appears to achieve the results we prefer in taste and texture.
We have not experienced much difference in most baked products except when making Popovers. I did learn that earlier problems may have been caused by over beating the eggs into the flour, salt and milk mixture. The instructions have been modified from the original. Also one article suggests using extra large eggs may achieve popovers that are fluffier/higher. Biscuits, cornbread and yeast breads have not presented much problem.
Making candies, jellies, yeast breads, cakes, cookies and even cooking meats may require adjustments for higher elevations. Changes are required for leavenings, sugar and liquids, cooking times and temperatures. Baking pans must be thoroughly greased to prevent sticking.
As general rule for candies and jellies reduce the final temperature by 2 degrees for every increase of 1,000 feet in elevation.
Since yeast breads rise more quickly at higher altitudes watch closely until the dough has double in bulk rather than judge by time. For quick breads don't over beat the eggs (See note on Popovers above.). Raising the baking temperature and amount of baking powder slightly, particularly if you are above 3000 feet. See recipe instructions on packaged mixes.
For cakes the following adjustments may be required plus a slight increase of 15° to 25° in the baking temperature: