Tips for Baking @ 4k

Welcome to Baking at 4,000 ft. Here you will find tips to help you turn out a perfect loaf of bread every time. I use only organic flour, butter, farm fresh eggs and raw milk.  We do our best in the Hall family, to avoid pesticides, genetically modified organisms and other health affecting toxins.

The first thing you need to remember the darker the pan, the better. Light colored aluminum pans don’t bake well in the mountains, if that’s all you have, just remember things can burn and still appear undercooked. Use a thermometer.

Sourdough Croissants

Sourdough Croissants with Ham, eggs and cheese.

You will notice the last thing to be added to each recipe is the flour.  That is where we will make most of the recipe adjustments.  After doing this for awhile you will be able to judge the dough from sight and touch.  You can really feel a good dough when you begin to roll it out.

I always add about two tablespoons of liquid. So, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of water, use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons.  The same goes for milk. When it’s raining in the mountains, I don’t even attempt to make bread because it’s just not right.  The bread is always dry.

We are attempting to develop a really good sourdough croissant, I’ll let you know when I’ve finished.


English Muffin Recipe

English MuffinsRecipe: English Muffins
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Weather: Cloudy, rainy, intermittent rain
Temperature: Indoors 70 °F, Outside 58.7 F
Humidity: Indoors 39%, Outside 58%
Barometric Pressure: 26.15 inHg
Baking Time: 0
Baking Temperature: °F
Customization:  I added about a tablespoon extra of water, 1/2 teaspoon more Real Salt. I also dropped the temperature down from 325 to 300.  They took a little longer but they felt better.

Cook half of the dough as English muffins and the other half as English-muffin bread!


  • English Muffins2 (1/4-oz.) pkgs, active dry yeast (2 Tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110F)
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 butter, melted
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5-1-2 to 6 cups all purpose or bread flour
  • cornmeal

In large bowl of electric mixer, dissolve yeast and sugar in water.  Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.  Add milk, honey, butter, salt and 2 cups flour.  Beat at medium speed with electric mixer 2 minutes or, beat 200 vigorous strokes by hand.

Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Clean and grease bowl;  set aside.  Knead dough 6-8 minutes or until smooth and elastic.  Place dough in greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover with a slightly damp towel.  Let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until slightly more than doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.  Generously sprinkle cornmeal over 2 greased baking sheets; set aside.

Do not punch down dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough until 1/2 inch thick.  Use a 3-inch cutter to cut dough into rounds.  Place on prepared baking over tops of rounds.  Place on prepared baking sheets. Gather up remaining dough; reroll and cut into rounds.

Generously sprinkle cornmeal over tops of rounds.  Lightly press cornmeal into surface of each round. Cover rounds with waxed paper.  Let rise until doubled in bulk, 30 to 45 minutes.  Preheat a griddle or large heavy skillet over medium-high heat or, preheat electric griddle or skillet to 325 F.  Sprinkle cornmeal over griddle.  Do not grease. Bake muffins on hot griddle or skillet.  Use 2 forks to split muffins.  Toast before serving.  Makes about 20 English muffins.


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Rice Noodles

Rice Noodles

This isn’t exactly baking, but we’ll get to that.

Recipe: Rice Noodles ‘n Chicken
Time: 4:00
Weather: raining
Temperature: 50.5
Barometric Pressure:  26.26
Humidity: 85
Baking Time: x
Baking Temperature: x
Customizations: None

I made two batches today. The first batch was under-cooked I steamed them for about 3 minutes forgetting that things take longer at 4,000 feet.

When I made them a second time, I cooked them for 6 minutes and they were perfect.

I used organic Sunflower oil, the lady said to use vegetable oil (no substitutions), next time I’ll try to find some organic vegetable oil and see if that works better. I noticed when I put the slurry into my pan it wouldn’t spread out the way it was supposed to, so parts of the noodles were thick, and parts of it were thin.

I fried garlic and chicken, added the noodles and medium soy sauce. It really needed some green onion — next time.

From Wikipedia on high altitude cooking.

High altitude cooking is the opposite of pressure cooking in that the boiling point of water is lower at higher altitudes due to the decreased air pressure. This may require an increase in cooking times or temperature and alterations of recipe ingredients. For home cooking, this effect becomes relevant at altitudes above approximately 2000 feet (600 m). At that altitude, water boils at approximately 208ºF (98ºC) and adjustments sometimes need to be made to compensate for the reduced air pressure/water boiling point.

It goes on to say…

A pressure cooker is often used to compensate for the low atmospheric pressure at a very high elevation. Under these circumstances water boils at temperatures significantly below 100 °C (212 °F) and, without the use of a pressure cooker, may leave boiled foods under-cooked.

I did not know that.  Well, we will learn as we go.

If you want to try it on your own. For the rice noodles use:

  • 1 c. rice flour
  • 2 T. wheat starch
  • 2 t. tapioca starch (flour)
  • 1.5 c chick broth or water