Monday, August 3, 2015

High Altitude Tips for Ruidoso / Ruidoso Downs Area

At the bottom are High Altitude Recipes for:

Yellow Cake
Peanut Butter Cookies 
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Corn Dogs 
Thin or Thick Pizza Crust


It will take me a while to add my favorite recipes and tips that I've learned cooking in high altitude since 1990. I'll just add some here and there and hopefully help someone else learn how to cook in the mountains. I'm copying and pasting from old WordPerfect documents. I found the recipes and tips from all over the place and some is just what I learned by doing!

HIGH ALTITUDE HELPS FOR BAKING

High altitude baking and cooking are different.  The reason:  lower atmospheric pressure due to a thinner blanket of air.  As altitude increases, atmospheric pressure decreases, and this in turn causes:

∙    water to boil at 202.6 degrees F at an altitude of 5,000 feet rather than at 212 degrees F as it does at sea level.  AT 7,000 FEET water boils at 198.7 degress F. At 9,000 FEET water boils at 195.5 degrees F.
∙    leavening (baking powder, soda, cream of tarter) to expand more.
∙    yeast doughs to rise too rapidly and too high.
∙    sugar solutions to become more concentrated in frostings, candies, jellies and baked products.  (makes cakes coarse and crumbly)
∙    faster evaporation of liquids in all cooking processes.
∙    drying out of normal moisture in most food products.

High altitude has the greatest effects on baking.  In baking recipes, each ingredient bears a definite relationship to the others, and the quality of the finished product depends on a delicate balance of ingredients achieved through the proper quantity of each.

The reduction of atmospheric pressure at high altitude allows leavening agents--air, steam and carbon dioxide-- to expand more than at sea level. Air can be controlled most easily, simply by not over beating egg whites.
IN MOST CASES, PUT EGGS IN RECIPES LAST AND BEAT JUST ENOUGH TO MIX WELL.

Bread rises faster and must be watched. 

Popovers puff out too rapidly and thereby loose their steam.

Cakes rise excessively and are coarse-textured and crumbly or fall.

∙    ALWAYS use FRESH double acting baking powder.
∙    Shortening should be a high grade like Crisco or use REAL butter.  Do NOT substitute margarine for butter or shortening and if you do, use a high-grade margarine.
∙    Sugar should be extra fine granulated.
∙    Flour should be High Altitude Flour or cake flour, or if you don't have that,use plain Gold Medal or Pillsbury, not the coarser store brand.  NEVER use self rising flour or any "special" flour other than High Altitude or cake flour.
∙    Beat shortening and sugar until real creamy.  Do NOT under beat.
∙    Excessive mixing when adding flour and liquids or after adding them will dry out the batter and toughen texture.
∙    Extra large eggs are best to use.  Adding extra water is not as good as using large eggs. AVOID over beating eggs.  Put in last and beat just enough to mix.  In some recipes, eggs beaten too much will cause it to fall.
∙    Pure vanilla extract, or lemon extract, etc should be used.  Do NOT use imitations.
∙    Do not substitute anything for real chocolate, other than carob.
∙    Oven temperature should be increased.
∙    As soon as you get cake out of the pan, cover with something while it cools so that it will not dry out.
∙    As soon as cookies are not hot, put in canister.  If they are soft cookies put them in canister almost immediately.
∙    When baking yeast breads, make sure that the dough does not rise more than double its bulk.  Because dough rises faster, flavor doesn't have time to develop.  Punching down the dough twice (instead of once) will improve flavor as well as texture.
∙    Convection Ovens work the best.  Things also actually brown in them.  You do have to adjust the temperature.  Subtract _____ from the normal high altitude.  Cook things ____ degrees higher than convection oven cookbook recommends.


PIE CRUST bakes BEST in glass pie pans!
I'll post the best directions for making pie crust as soon as I can.
 
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Hungarian High Altitude flour at Walmart is the BEST to use for cakes, cookies and breads.

HIGH ALTITUDE       GOLDEN LAYER CAKE

375 degrees F                from an older Betty Crocker Cookbook                      25 to 30 min

1-1/3  cups extra fine sugar
1/2 cup shortening or butter
2  teaspoons baking powder
1  teaspoon salt
2-1/3  cups high altitude flour   
1  cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1½ teaspoons vanilla  

         or  1 teaspoon each of vanilla, almond, and butter flavorings 
         (Wilton butter flavoring in the cake decorating dept usually tastes best)
2  eggs

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease and flour baking pan, 13x9x2" or 2 round layer pans 9x1½".  Measure all ingredients except eggs into large mixing bowl.  Blend ½ minute on low speed, scraping bowl constantly.  Beat 3 minutes on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally.  Just barely mix in eggs, but mix well.Pour into pan(s).

Bake layers 25 to 30 minutes, rectangular about 30 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.  Cool.  Cake will get done before it has barely browned.

High Altitude tips:
A fine grained name brand sugar works better than most store brands which are usually coarser. NEVER EVER use self-rising flour. If you use shortening, Crisco works best. Cake flour is better if you do NOT have Hungarian High Altitude Flour but the cake will still be good with regular flour. Real vanilla is better than imitation vanilla. Cake stays more moist in a dry climate if you put it in an air tight container as soon as possible. You don’t want the cake so hot that the container sweats but close!


High Altitude  Peanut Butter Cookies

These cookies are NOT chewy and NOT hard, just light and kind of flaky or melt in your mouth, not sure how I should describe them except that this is the way I like peanut butter cookies. 

It works best with Hungarian High Altitude Flour that used to be available at Walmart in Ruidoso but not sure at the moment. Hope they don't discontinue it again... it makes a BIG difference. I DO prefer regular Crisco shortening over other brands and do NOT use butter. I use butter in most everything else but it makes the cookies hard.

I now use the Wilton insulated cookie sheets and parchment paper and the Oneida cookie scoop, it is the perfect size for me. Oh and I very seldom waste time on the regular sized recipe, I DOUBLE! :)

375 degrees F at 10 to 12 minutes and only have on ONE shelf in the middle, don't have a pan on each shelf, doesn't work as well.

Regular Recipe (Double Recipe)
1/2 cup shortening (1 cup)
1/2 cup extra fine sugar (1 cup) - extra fine does work best
1/2 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar (1 cup)
1/2 cup peanut butter (1 cup
1-1/4 cups Hungarian High Altitude Flour (2-1/2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon baking SODA (NOT powder) (1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt (1 teaspoon)
1 egg (2 eggs)  

Beat shortening, sugars and peanut butter well. Gradually beat in dry ingredients with mixer, if it gets too stiff, use a spoon. Add eggs last, mix in well but NOT beaten. 

Form cookies on UNGREASED cookie sheet or on parchment paper on a cookie sheet with cookie scoop, cookie press or roll up balls and smash flat with floured fork or fingers.

Note: I use a Kitchen Aid stand mixer and it works well with this cookie dough. A small hand held mixer might not work well with this dough



In regular oven bake at 375 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes. The higher the altitude, the longer you might have to bake them. Usually 12 minutes works for ME at 6,000 feet in my electric oven. If you have a gas oven, it might vary. They kind of puff up and when they kind of settle to level, they are usually perfectly done in my oven.

Put on cooling rack to cool and quickly put in something air tight (Tupperware, zip lock, etc) so they don't dry out and get hard. 
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High Altitude  Chocolate Chip Cookies


It works best with Hungarian High Altitude Flour available at Walmart in Ruidoso BUT it might be discontinued. Hope they don't discontinue it again... it makes a BIG difference. I DO prefer regular Crisco shortening over other brands and do NOT use butter. I use butter in most everything else but it makes the cookies hard.

I now use the Wilton insulated cookie sheets and parchment paper and the Oneida cookie scoop, it is the perfect size for me.  Oh and I very seldom waste time on the regular sized recipe, I DOUBLE! :)

375 degrees F at 10 to 12 minutes and only have on ONE shelf in the middle, don't have a pan on each shelf, doesn't work as well.

Regular Recipe (Double Recipe)
1/2 cup shortening (1 cup)
1/2 cup extra fine sugar (1 cup) - extra fine does work best
1/2 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar (1 cup)
1 TABLESPOON water (2 TBSP)
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (1 teaspoon) REAL vanilla works better than imitation

1-1/4 cups Hungarian High Altitude Flour (2-1/2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon baking SODA (NOT powder) (1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt (1 teaspoon)
1 egg (2 eggs)  
6 ounces of semisweet chocolate chips (12 ounces or whole package)
1/2 cup chopped pecan or walnut meats (1 cup) 






Beat shortening and sugars well. Gradually beat in dry ingredients with mixer, if it gets too stiff, use a spoon. Add eggs last, mix in well but NOT beaten. 

Form cookies on UNGREASED cookie sheet or on parchment paper on a cookie sheet with cookie scoop, cookie press or roll up balls.

Note: I use a Kitchen Aid stand mixer and it works well with this cookie dough. A small hand held mixer might not work well with this dough



In regular oven bake at 375 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes. The higher the altitude, the longer you might have to bake them. Usually 12 minutes works for ME at 6,000 feet in my electric oven. If you have a gas oven, it might vary. They kind of puff up and when they kind of settle to level, they are usually perfectly done in my oven.

Put on cooling rack to cool and quickly put in something air tight (Tupperware, zip lock, etc) so they don't dry out and get hard.  



 Pam, this is for you!

High Altitude       Corn Dogs

390-395 degrees F Deep Fryer (400 degrees sea level)

1 TABLESPOON shortening
1 egg
1/3 to 1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup corn meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 baking powder (1/2 teaspoon sea level)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (or couple teaspoons regular mustard)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon red pepper/cayenne

Mix together shortening and dry ingredients. Blend in egg and milk to get a moist but not extremely runny mixture. High altitudes need the mixture to be more wet than sea level altitude. 

Generously wet your hands under the faucet and DO NOT dry. Pick up hot dog and wrap dough around hot dog and deep fry until golden brown.  Turn a couple of times to get evenly fried.

It takes a little trial and error to figure out best consistency. If the dough is too thick, and if too much dough is on the hot dog, it won't cook all the way through and won't puff up much at all.  

Wet your hands each time for each corn dog. Yes, it gets messy but makes great corn dogs. If you don't wet your hands first, the dough stays stuck to your hands.

Dough is enough for about 4 to 6 corn dogs.\

Hungarian High Altitude flour works best.

I personally like Armour Beef Hot Dogs best but that isn't available here. Hebrew National All Beef Hot dogs are close.

High Altitude Thin or Thick Pizza Crust - altered from a Tupperware cookbook 
375 oven 20 to 25 minutes

2-1/2 to 3 cups flour
1 cup warm water (115 degrees)
2 TABLESPOONS cooking oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 package (2-1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast - do NOT use fast rising or bread machine yeast. It rises too fast and you don't have good results. At this altitude, regular yeast rises twice as fast as it does at sea level. At least that is my experience. Besides, Fleischmanns and Red Star Yeast both told me that when I got my bread machine and wanted help with that and other high altitude baking to NEVER use fast rising or bread machine yeast, bread machine yeast IS the same as fast rising.
    
If you have a bread machine, this works well to put it in the bread machine on a dough and rise cycle. If you use it, water doesn't have to be warm AND the water goes in FIRST, then the rest.

If you are using a stand mixer, use a dough hook. 

In bowl, combine half of flour, all the yeast and salt. Stir in warm water and oil. Beat at low speed for a minute and high until blended well. Mix in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer and then with a spoon as it gets too thick. (Or use a dough hook on the mixer). Knead in enough remaining flour to make stiffer dough that is smooth and elastic. 

Gather up dough in ball and return to bowl and let rise in warm place for 10 minutes. Roll out dough on floured wax paper or silicone or plastic mat. Roll out as much as possible before putting on pizza pan. It will keep shrinking on you, put into the pan and finish rolling out if necessary or push into shape with your fingers. 

For thin crusts you can get one 14 inch pizza and one 10 inch crust. Fpr thick crusts, you can get one 14 inch and one 8 inch or 6 inch pizza crust

For the thin, let rest in warm place 10 minutes, put toppings on and put into oven. For the thick crusts, rest about 20 minutes, then put toppings on and put into oven. 

TIP: I keep yeast in the freezer and don't have to worry about it expiring. I always buy it in the jar. Before putting a package of yeast in the freezer, I think I'd put the unopened package in a zip lock bag first.

Pizza Sauce
For thin layer of sauce on 14 inch & 10 inch pizza. Double the recipe for more pizzas.

8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon chopped onion or 2 teaspoons onion powder (either is optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/4 pepper
** 1 pound shredded cheese either mozzarella  or cheddar
** I doubt I use this much cheese but this is what the original recipe I started with said.
Mix spices with tomato sauce and pour over crust. Top with meat and then cheese.

My favorite toppings. Sausage and Hamburger pizzas are also good if you use BOTH cheeses as toppings.

PEPPERONI Pizza: Pepperoni & mozzarella cheese
SAUSAGE Pizza: Cooked sausage and cheddar cheese and thinly sliced bell pepper
HAMBURGER Pizza: Cooked hamburger and cheddar cheese and thinly sliced bell pepper


Mini Chocolate Fountain

1 pound of Chocomaker Chocolate wafers
Start with 2 tablespoons coconut oil
Melt in candy melter and get smooth, NO lumps at all and make sure it will flow well off the spoon before putting into chocolate fountain.

Dip:
strawberries
peanut butter cookies
pretzels
pineapple chunks
bananas
marshmallows
peanut butter filling in balls

be careful about crumbs on cake and brownies, will clog up fountain