When I first moved to altitude, everyone seemed to talk about the changes needed to cook here. There were lots of suggestions about baking particularly (use less yeast and sugar–more salt for bread), but also about cooking anything at all (cook longer and with more liquid) and I paid attention. To be sure, some baking required a bit of adjustment — a few things never did come around — but the biggest hurdle was lack of humidity. Leave a piece of bread on the counter for a few minutes (say the phone rang when you were about to make a sandwich) and you’d return to dry bread–as if you left it out all night in Chicago or were drying bread for stuffing in Miami. Bake cookies, leave them to cool on the rack a couple of hours instead of a couple of minutes, and you’d have rocks. All Colorado cookies are biscotti is how I look at it. Cookies must be eaten, stored in very tightly-sealed containers, and/or frozen as soon as they’re cool. More than one Colorado baker has just thrown in the towel at Christmas. You simply can’t eat them before they’re stale. My method is to freeze every batch, taking out just the number of cookies you’ll eat — or give away– at one sitting. It works, but you need a big freezer –or a freezing garage– if you’re a happy baker in December.
Aside: There are those that will tell you it’s more attitude than altitude. I might agree, though I beat an extra egg into my corn and tea breads and I always bake with extra-large eggs no matter what. I also cut the amount of sugar in many baked goods–even things like a mashed sweet potato casserole. Continue reading