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)

Bakery Business Tips That You Should Employ

While managing a bakery business isn’t easy, it is more challenging to do all the things required that will ensure that your bakery business does wonders. Read below to know how you can further run your bakery business better.

Have a Clear Finance Sheet

Having proper bakers insurance in place is one way you can keep your ovens hot and cash registers overflowing. The bakeries which plan and prepare for emergencies are the ones that are always prepared and can move on to further expansion. Hence, budget your restaurant operations carefully. Maintain a detailed expense sheet about how much goes into maintenance, buying of raw materials and paying your staff every month. Once you have your total monthly expenditure, then you can calculate your profit margin and invest the extra profit made, back into your bakery business.  Your bakery is your dream. Don’t let a potential finance issue turn your dream of running a successful bakery into a nightmare.

Diversity Attracts

Bring out innovative bakery items, and it will be a sure thing to attract customers. You can innovate not only with the items but also with the format of your store. For instance, mobile dessert food trucks have become popular in many cities. It is also seen that companies often contract with bakers to provide catering services. Catering for birthdays and anniversaries is a great way to come into the limelight as well.

To capture the crowd that hovers on social media platforms, you should also consider adding an online storefront and selling your baked goodies through the internet.

Having big dreams is always good, but make sure that you dream of the things that you are capable of achieving. Hence, when diversifying, make sure to assess your capabilities, workflow management, and the costs associated with expanding your bakery business. A steady expansion is more sustainable than a rapid rise, and the former is expected to have a more significant impact on the healthy growth of your bakery business. You don’t want to create an unsustainable surge in business and then immediately deflate like a balloon.

Having a Website is a Must

To have a legitimate online presence, it is imperative for your bakery business to have its website. An optimized and well-designed website as per the SEO norms will help people searching for bakery products find your bakery easily. Once, your bakery business becomes easily accessible to all your customers, it will automatically help you to boost your sales. Optimizing your website to make it SEO friendly is not an easy task, and hence it is recommended that you get some professional help for this.

Create a Social Media Following

is the best way to attract and capture the immense crowd who are hovering on these various platforms. Hence, make sure that you have created business pages on social media and update and optimize them on a regular basis. Post regular photos and videos that will reflect the happenings of your restaurant. You can even receive reviews and feedbacks from these pages that will help you to hone the operations of your bakery business further.

Integrate with Online Delivery Platforms

Considering that most of your customers would now like to order food than to go out and dine. Hence, it becomes imperative for your bakery business to allow your customers to order online from your store. So, what you can do is, integrate with Zomato, Swiggy, Foodpanda and UberEat like platforms which will help your products to reach the doorsteps of your customers. Not only should your restaurant be visible on these platforms, make sure that people can order directly at your restaurant through your restaurant website as well. This will reduce any scope for you on losing your potential clients.

Use Technology to Manage Your Bakery Operations

The operations of a bakery business are entirely different from that of a regular restaurant. The production of the baked items and managing the semi-produced and the final baked items can become tedious unless you use a proper Bakery Management System.

Another major challenge of running a bakery business is ensuring a consistent service of fresh baked goods. Of course, there would be times when you would not be able to able to sell off all the items produced in a day, yet which are good enough to be still sold the next day. Keeping track of the items which are fresh and which are stale or expired becomes a task. You can make use of technology to solve this problem. Use an integrated Inventory Management System that allows you to manage the Shelf Life of each item. You can assign the expiration date for each item in the POS that will enable you to sell only the products that are still good to be sold.

Network with all the Local Business

Your bakery business must enter into collaborations with all the local businesses in the vicinity. This will help you to increase your sales further. For example, we have seen, that during birthdays people tend to deliver their loved ones cake and flowers as a surprise if they are not in the same city. So, why don’t you collaborate with a local florist and help people order flowers and cakes and get it delivered as a package at the desired place? This will make your bakery business a one-stop point of contact for all those who want to surprise their loved one with some extra indulgence.

Try to Stand Out in the Vicinity

Try and bring specific innovation in your bakery business which is not present in your vicinity. This will keep you ahead of your competitors. Consider offering gluten-free options or becoming the only nut-free bakery in your area. If your bakery business is the only one providing a doughnut and coffee combo, then it is a sure thing that you would attract customers. Hence, do market research, try and analyze what are the that are yet not exploited to the fullest and then bring about changes accordingly.

Offer Free Samples to the Passersby

Be prepared before you start!

This may seem incredibly obvious, but honestly, it’s something that is easy to forget if you’re in a rush. First, read through an entire recipe before you start baking. This will make it far less likely for you to miss a step or mix up the steps. Also, you’ll know exactly what ingredients you need, which will ensure that you don’t realize halfway through a recipe that you’re missing something essential. Believe it or not, that has happened to me far more often than I’d like to admit. Second, measure out your ingredients individually before you combine them. This can really help if you are an inexperienced baker because it just makes the entire process more organized. It also increases the likelihood of a perfect final product, and who doesn’t want that?

Throw away your cup measurements and use a scale!

If you live anywhere other than the US, you can probably skip this tip, as you hopefully already bake using a scale. But if you do use cups, please invest in a scale instead*! Why should you do so? Well, scales are far more accurate when it comes to baking. For some recipes, exact measurements are not as important, but for certain baked goods, you don’t want to accidentally add far more flour or sugar than the recipe calls for. Sadly, this can easily happen with cup measurements. Another benefit of using a scale is that you can bake many more of the recipes you find online (since only the US uses cups).

If you choose to continue using cup measurements, that’s completely fine, but just make sure you are measuring your ingredients properly. So, for flour, you need to fluff up the flour before you scoop it up with your cup. Then, you should level it off so it’s the correct amount. For brown sugar, make sure you pack the sugar into the cup, while for regular granulated sugar, you do not need to do so. At the very least, these tips can ensure that your cup measurements are reasonably accurate!

Just as a note: we always bake using a scale, so if you are making our recipes, they will turn out best if you measure by weight!

*Links marked with a * are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Preheat your oven and BE PATIENT!

In many ways, baking is not the same as cooking. But this is especially true when you are using the oven. When you cook something, it is usually fine to put it in the oven before it is fully preheated. For example, I often do this if I’m making roasted or baked potatoes, since it doesn’t affect the final product. However, when it comes to baking, patience is key! Wait for the oven to preheat fully, even if you are in a rush! If you don’t, you could ruin the baked good you just spent so much time on. There is nothing worse than ending up with a collapsed cake or flat loaf of bread and knowing that a little more patience on your part could have made the difference!

Furthermore, when it comes to ovens, you should get as familiar with your oven as you possibly can. What does this mean? You should understand all the settings on your oven and how they function. Recognize any unusual quirks of your oven, like if it runs a bit too hot or too cold or if anything is broken or damaged. These are all things that can impact how long something should bake in your oven, as well as the temperature you should choose. As you bake more and more, this will come naturally, and you will know exactly how to bake anything in your particular oven!

If your butter or eggs are not at room temp – use these tricks!

As I mentioned above, patience is key when it comes to baking. If a recipe calls for softened butter and room temperature eggs, take them out the night before or a day before you are going to bake. However, if you’re anything like us, this is easier said than done. We’ve all been there – you go to bake a cake and both your butter and eggs are in the fridge, rock hard! Well, don’t worry. We have a tip for each that will require a little bit of patience but should do the trick!

For eggs, the tip is super simple. Place eggs from the fridge in a bowl filled with hot water (not boiling, just as hot as your tap water can get is fine!). Leave these for 10 minutes. The water should cool down, so empty it and refill with another round of hot water. Leave this for another 10 minutes. By then, your eggs should feel room temperature. If they don’t, just refill with hot water and let them sit until they are warmer!

Butter is a bit trickier to soften. Realistically, no tip we can give you is exactly foolproof, so leaving your butter out for about a day is probably the best strategy. However, there are a few things that you can try! I often just microwave the butter, but this is very difficult to get right, and you really need to keep an eye on it. The butter can go from soft to melted in a split second, so heat it up in 5 or 10-second intervals. Alternatively, you can use your body heat to soften the butter. Spend about 15 minutes holding the butter (in the packaging, obviously) if you have warm hands, or put it in the waistband of your pants. This sounds weird, but if you buy sticks of butter (like in the US), it probably sounds a bit less weird 😂 Finally, a third trick is to pour boiling water into a mug, let it heat the mug through, then empty it and place it upside down on top of the butter. If you let this sit for a few minutes, the butter should soften.

Use the poke test to check how your dough is proofing!

Thanks for reading today’s blog post! We hope that these tips will help you out as you bake at home. Let us know down below in the comments if there are any baking tips that have been a game-changer for you!

An experienced baker on what newbies need to know.

Chocolate chip muffins. (Photo, Erik Putz.)

A baking frenzy is about being given a specific set of rules that might initially challenge us (you crazy sourdough warriors!) but once mastered will ensure results that turn out exactly as expected—when literally nothing else is.

Below are some tips—things that are rote for experienced bakers but might not be for a newbie.

Read the recipe through before you start

Yes, a thousand recipe sites will tell you how to make anything you want. But when it comes to baking, like with advice, you want to trust the source. If I’ve never made something before I look to experts like Martha Stewart, Tara O’Brady, Ina Garten, Smitten Kitchen or a publication with a test kitchen, like Chatelaine. Because I know that not only do they test their recipes, they know how to write a recipe that works as a teacher to me, the student. And as I’ve discovered with distance learning, teaching is a finely-honed skill.

A good recipe will list the ingredients in the order they are used. It will be clear if an ingredient is optional or essential, and it will list the oven temperature at the top so you remember to preheat. It will give baking indicators as well as time, (’til golden, ‘til glossy, ‘til doubled) since not all ovens heat the same and people mix, whip and stir differently.

And when I read reviews online I’m not looking for praise: those are good signs, but I want to know if multiple people experience the same problem (the muffins didn’t bake through, the cake collapsed, the brownies were too runny to slice), which will usually indicate I should pass on it.

Trust the baking indicators

The beauty of these visual cues is they teach you to use your senses and recognize when something is sufficiently baked, ready to serve or risen enough for next steps. You’ll become sure of yourself and won’t take the strawberry-rhubarb pie out of the oven until the filling is bubbling—even if it takes an extra 10 minutes. Baking will start to become second nature.

Using ingredients at room temperature is not just a suggestion

Many baking recipes will ask for butter and eggs at room temperature. I can’t count the number of times I’ve gone to make something and realized my butter is fridge-hard (but there are hacks!). Ignoring these instructions can mess with your results. Cold eggs from the fridge will separate easier, but a room-temperature egg will gain way more volume than a cold one. Room-temperature butter will trap more air pockets when being creamed with sugar, so your cake is fluffier and your cookies don’t spread too thin on the sheet. And when it comes to adding yeast, if your liquid isn’t warm the yeast won’t bloom—but very hot water can kill it.

Avoid substitutions (seriously)

Each ingredient in your recipe has a purpose, the egg to hold a batter together or the flour, which provides structure.

There is a certain spontaneity allowed in cooking—switching out chicken for pork, adding extra jalapeños or leaving out the fresh herbs you forgot to buy—that just doesn’t fly with baking. As an exact science, in baking, the combination of ingredients work together in specific ways. Adding fresh blueberries to a batter may taste great, but it adds moisture. Baking powder and baking soda are not the same thing and different grades of chocolate act differently when heated. Like math, the sum of a recipe’s ingredients add up to success. So don’t sabotage yourself by winging it.

The trifecta: carrot cake, banana bread and lemon loaf. Photo, Erik Putz.

Bake on the centre rack of the oven

If you’ve just started baking, or haven’t baked in a while, check your oven to make sure the rack you’re using is in the middle. This is standard for most baking, as it generally provides the most even heat. Unless a recipe specifically asks you to change it, assume this is the norm. For pizza crust, you might be asked to use the bottom rack (the heat for baking generates from the bottom element of your oven), which will help the crust brown nicely, but cookies baked on the low rack are much more likely to burn.

Avoid doubling (or halving) recipes when baking

If you like to freeze home-baked goodies for future use, or you’re baking for your neighbours and family, you might be tempted to double your recipe. This will work for dishes such as soups, stews or spaghetti sauce, but it can mess up your baking. In any recipe using baking soda or baking powder the ratios for these ingredients don’t scale up exactly by 2. Since both ingredients are vital to leavening, things could go awry. Using larger dishes can also alter baking times—but don’t necessarily double them.

Plus, even when careful, it’s very easy to forget to double every ingredient if you’re only keeping track in your head. When doubling my cooking, I usually note the revised amounts on a pad of paper and then start measuring, scratching off each ingredient as it’s added.

Learn how to measure correctly

If you have a scale (see tool tips below) it will go far in helping your baking succeed every time. Here’s a fun quarantine activity: have two people both measure 1 cup of flour using dry measures, then you weigh each person’s scoop (or just dump them out side by side). You might be surprised at how different the volumes are.

Too much flour can result in cakes or cookies that are dry and crumbly or a pie crust that won’t hold together—or is too tough. Basically, simply measuring your flour incorrectly can ruin every other effort you’ve made.

Even without a scale here’s how to properly measure flour

Always use the dry measures—the ones that look like scoops— vs a wet measuring cup (think, the Pyrex measuring cup we all grew up with). Each dry measure holds a specific amount, and they are created to allow you to fill them to the brim and then level off the top.

“Spoon and scoop”: Start by fluffing up the flour in the bag or container you’re measuring from—use a fork and stir the flour up so it’s not compacted. Then spoon flour into your dry measure (do not pack it) and with the flat end of a knife, level off the top by sweeping the knife over the edges of the cup.

Note for brown sugar: Unlike flour, when you see a measurement for brown sugar in a recipe, it assumes you are packing the sugar into the measuring spoon.

Test your yeast

Yeast has a shelf life of three to six months. If you just started baking like a maniac in the last few months, you want to make sure your stock of yeast is actually capable of doing its job and delivering fluffy, airy carbs ASAP.

Add a single pack of yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons) and 1 tsp sugar to 1/2 cup warm water. (The water should be about 115F, or very warm but not so hot that you can’t hold your fingers in it). Stir and let sit. The mixture should bubble and have a yeasty aroma in 5-10 minutes. If it doesn’t, you need a fresh batch.

To extend a yeast’s shelf life, store it in the fridge or even in the freezer. (Don’t worry—you can use it straight away when baking.)

Three tools worth investing in

Some recipes will only give measurements in cups and teaspoons, but many will also provide weights (or look for a recipe or cookbook that does). Using a scale (prices start at about $20) has two advantages, the first being accuracy, since your ingredients will be exact down to the gram. (It will also take the guessing out of what “loosely packed” really means.)

Second, using a scale saves on clean-up. You aren’t using several measuring spoons or cups, and everything can be measured into the same bowl (aside from separating dry and wet ingredients as per the recipe).

Oven thermometer

A non-stick cooling rack (under $10) takes you across the finish line. Whether it’s cookies, a bundt cake or your banana loaf, using a cooling rack allows steam and heat to escape from underneath, as well as the sides and top. Trapped heat or steam can cause moisture and could soften any crispness or create sogginess.

Also, leaving cookies to cool on the baking sheet can overcook them, as they will continue to bake on the hot metal.

If a recipe says “allow to cool,” there’s good reason for it

Many baking recipes will ask you to wait til your creation is cooled either before removing from the pan or before slicing it (and always before icing anything). As hard as it is to resist this seemingly annoying step when so close to double chocolate brownie heaven, remember that your baking is still doing its thing while cooling down—removing it too early can result in tearing or leaving a 1-inch layer on the bottom of the pan or dish. Once cool, you’ll get a cleaner cut from your brownie, zucchini loaf or chocolate cake recipe. And bread or rolls are still releasing steam and completing the baking process as they cool down. So, delightful as warm bread is, the structure and flavour improves as it cools and it will become easier to slice when it’s room temperature.

Photo, Erik Putz. Food styling, Irene Ngo. Prop styling, Rayna Marlee Schwartz.

Make sure your baking dish is the size specified in the recipe

So you’ve read through your recipe and realize your trusted loaf pan is bigger than the one the recipe specifies. This will affect cooking time as the batter volume will be spread over a larger area, so it will bake faster (or vice versa if using a smaller dish). If you decide to go for it, I usually take 10 minutes off the cooking time (in either scenario) and check the loaf or cake to see if it’s done, and/or cooking evenly.

For beginners, it’s best to look for recipes that fit the equipment. Find a Nanaimo bar recipe that uses the 8” pan you have versus trying to adapt to a 9” size. It may not seem like a big difference, but it can very much affect your outcome—especially on a first try when you don’t know what to expect.

“1 cup chopped walnuts” is not the same as “1 cup walnuts, chopped”

Be mindful of reading ingredient measurements correctly. In the first example, you chop enough walnuts to measure to 1 cup. In the second example, you measure one cup whole walnuts, and then chop them. (In the first example, the recipe uses more nuts.) Anything after the comma is done AFTER the ingredient is measured.

Can I freeze my baking?

If you’re finding comfort (and volume!) in baking, keep in mind that many baked goods can be frozen (good news if you’re a household of one or two).


If you’ve been practising your sourdough skills, bread, buns and focaccia freeze very well once cooled. When defrosted they will maintain their freshness. I usually wrap the frozen bread in foil—which I reuse—and warm the bread in a 300F oven til soft. Or, slice your bread before freezing, then pull out slices as needed.


Quick breads (banana, pumpkin, carrot) can be frozen as loafs or sliced and then frozen for individual snacks. Make an extra batch of pancakes, crepes or waffles and freeze the second half once baked. (Make sure anything you’re freezing has completely cooled.)

Freeze before baking

Scones, muffin batter, biscuits, cookie dough (the dough itself or pre-shaped balls) and pie dough can all be frozen raw. Most individually portioned can be baked from frozen—just add a few extra minutes to bake. Cinnamon rolls often need to be thawed and allowed to rise before baking (or some recipes suggest you pre-bake them lightly before freezing). Look for a recipe that includes freezing instructions if that is your goal.

Freezing Individual portions

If freezing individual portions (such as scones) place them on a cookie sheet and into the freezer til solid, then you can gather them into a freezer bag or container and store (otherwise they will all freeze together in a chunk).

Please don’t measure over the bowl

I can’t be the only one to have cursed (and maybe cried) after ruining a batter by measuring vanilla extract or oil over a bowl and pouring waaaaaayyyy too fast.

Steamy or rainy weather can wreak havoc on everything from your home to your hair. And baked goods are no exception. That’s because humidity—a measurement that tells us how much moisture is in the air—can be a baker’s worst nightmare. But sometimes, you have to bake, and it can’t wait for good weather. These tips will help ensure your cookies and breads turn out great even during the Dog Days of Summer!

Humidity Affects Ingredients’ Performance

On muggy or rainy days, when humidity is extremely high (think 70 percent or more), your dry baking ingredients like flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda actually soak up moisture from the surrounding air. If you’ve ever seen your flour clumped or “caked” together, this is the reason why. And this tiny amount of extra moisture is enough to alter the quality of your cookies, cakes, candies, and breads in not-so-good ways.

But before you throw in the kitchen towel, try these easy tips to weatherproof your baked goods on the most humid of days.

Lessen the Recipe’s Liquid

To help counterbalance the additional moisture your dry ingredients soak up from the air, try reducing the amount of liquid in the recipe by about one-quarter. (For example, if your cake recipe calls for 1 cup of milk, reduce it to ¾ cup. Reserve the other ¼ cup.) If your cake batter looks too dry once all the ingredients are mixed together, add a splash of milk from the amount you set aside. Do this one tablespoon at a time until your batter softens to the desired consistency.

Store Flour and Sugar in the Refrigerator or Freezer

If flour and sugar are stored in the refrigerator or freezer rather than your pantry, humidity can’t get to either one as easily. As an added benefit, keeping these ingredients cool also helps keep them fresher longer, as well as bug-free. Just remember to always return your flour and sugar to room temperature before mixing! If you don’t, your breads and cakes won’t rise.

Increase Baking Time

Have you ever tested for doneness after the shortest baking time, only to find your baked goods are still a tad underdone? The extra water in your ingredients is likely to blame. To correct this, leave your goods in the oven to bake for an additional 3-5 minutes (which allows extra time for the liquid to cook off). To avoid overbaking, continue testing for doneness every couple of minutes.

Run a Fan or the A/C

To help lower humidity levels in your kitchen on these dog days of summer, first, close all kitchen windows. Having them open only invites humid air indoors. Next, run a ceiling fan, dehumidifier, or your home’s air conditioning system for at least an hour before you start baking. Cooler air isn’t able to hold as much moisture as warm air, so doing this helps push any extra moisture out of the room.

Check our Best Days To Bake for even better results in the kitchen!

Store Baked Goods in an Airtight Container, Or in the Fridge

Even after baking, there’s still a chance humidity could ruin your fresh-baked goods. When left out at room temperature, they can absorb moisture, which can turn your crispy ginger snaps into sticky, soft, or stale inedibles that you’ll end up tossing in the trash. To avoid this, be sure to cover or store cookies, cupcakes, and cakes in an airtight container or in the refrigerator. A spot next to the flour will do nicely!

Weigh In

Got any other “bad weather” baking tips and tricks? We’d love to hear them!

About the author

Tiffany Means is a freelance writer and a degreed meteorologist. She specializes in weather forecasting and enjoys making the subject of weather (and the science behind it) more relatable. She currently resides in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

  • Mint Images / Britt Chudleigh / Getty Images
  • Teresa Short / Getty Images
    To measure your ingredients properly, that means weighing them. This mostly refers to the flour, since it’s the main ingredient in baking and one that is notoriously difficult to measure properly using volume measurements like cups. As a corollary, look for recipes that list the ingredients in grams instead of by volume. Sure, you can do the conversion, but chances are if a recipe is written that way to begin with, it’s going to work better.
  • mariannehope / Getty Images
    Top priority here goes to chemical leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda, because they lose much of their effectiveness after six months or so, meaning your baked goods won’t rise the way they should. But spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves will also lose their potency, especially if you buy the pre-ground kind, so it’s important to use fresh ingredients.
  • Robert Rowe / EyeEm / Getty Images
    Doughs and batters are made with flour, and flour contains gluten, which becomes increasingly firm and elastic the more you stir it, beat it, knead it, and so on. With a pizza dough you might want that, but with pie dough, not so much.
  • Meal Makeover Moms / Flickr CC 2.0
    This is not to say that blueberry banana bread won’t be delicious. It might. But given how easy it is to find a recipe for blueberry banana bread, you’re better off using that one than trying to wing it on your own.
  • kimberrywood / Getty Images 
    Be sure to calibrate your oven. The issue here is that the temperature in your oven might not actually be what you set it to. If you set your oven to 350 F, but it only heats up to 320 F, or maybe it hits 380 F, your recipe isn’t going to turn out right.

    Repairing the oven might be a major undertaking, but the solution is to get an inexpensive oven thermometer. Set your oven to 350 F and see what the thermometer reads. If it’s different, you can adjust accordingly.

  • Julia Khusainova / Getty Images
    Be sure to use a light-colored pan. The reason for this is that dark-colored pans absorb more heat than light-colored ones, which can actually cause the bottoms of your cakes or cookies to burn. The assumption is that recipes are written and tested for light-colored pans. If dark-colored ones are all you have, you can lower the temperature or play with the cooking time, but this violates rule #1, so it might be better to invest in some new pans.
  • happy_lark / iStock / Getty Images
  • MAIKA 777 / Getty Images
    Recipes often remind you to do this, but when you’re mixing batter in a stand mixer, you’re trying to mix the ingredients together as thoroughly as possible, and this doesn’t happen if significant parts of the mixture, like butter, eggs, or sugar, are stuck to the sides of the bowl. Fortunately, it’s a simple matter to stop the mixer every 30 seconds or so and scrape the mixing bowl—as long as you remember to do it.
  • Jeremy Woodhouse / Holly Wilmeth / Getty Images
    Definitely keep the oven closed. It’s tempting to look inside to see how things are going, but it’s just not a good idea. If you’re baking a cake, the influx of air, or even the vibration of the oven door, can cause it to fall. Not to mention, you let all the heat out, which is obviously going to affect the baking.

    Some cooks recommend rotating pans of cookies midway through cooking, but the benefit you gain isn’t worth the lost heat. Keep it closed.

Reviews with images

5.0 out of 5 stars

Finally ended my frustration baking in NM

Finding no other good solutions, I somewhat grudgingly ordered Pie in the Sky. I am so glad now that I did. However, just after ordering the book, I took a relocation with my company back home to Florida. Thus I began a frantic rush to bake as many recipes from the book as I could in the next two months before moving. I have managed to bake the Red Door Pecan Pie, biscochitos, Alpine angel cake, Mom’s Blueberry Muffins, Blueberry Scones, Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies, Celestial Challah, baguettes, Honey Whole-Wheat Bread, Breckenridge Biscuits and Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake. I have posted most of the photos to the Amazon product listing. All of these were baked in Las Cruces, NM at 4510′ above the EGM96 geoid (e.g., above equivalent sea level) using the 5000′ recipes, and most came out fabulously with very little trouble.

Other minor problems involved the baguettes overbaking according to internal temperature before gaining any external color, a lack of browning on the biscuits, and an a strange shape with my honey whole wheat bread. Very little bread dough shaping instructions are given, and I need to review
The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread
for instruction. Some of the more complicated recipes such as the angel food cake and coffee cake came out flawlessly on the first attempt and were a huge hit with family and friends.

Of course, the key to this book is providing the recipes with columns for sea level, 3000 feet, 5000 feet, 7000 feet and 10,000 feet. One other feature I liked about this book was a description with illustrations of different pans and utensils. Not everyone picking up a baking book may know what a tube pan is. Additional chapters on altitude baking myths, baking science and general adjustment guidelines for commercial mixes and other recipes round out the book. I actually enjoyed Purdy’s introductory chapter on her adventures in creating this book.

I have a couple of negative comments other than the pecan pie baking times and lack of bread forming instructions that keep from giving the book five stars. Hopefully, these can be easily addressed before another printing. The most glaring omission was a list of the recipes in the table of contents. This addition would not take much additional effort or pages and would proved eminently useful when scanning for something to bake. The index is pretty thorough, but you have to know that the recipe for which you are looking already exists in the book to find it. There is more than one place, I believe, than just the biscochitos recipe where the oven rack and temperature simply say, “Divide the oven into thirds,” rather than saying where to place the rack. I don’t know if the rack should go one-third from the top or one-third from the bottom. In addition, I felt that book was bit expensive for one of its kind.

31 people found this helpful

4.0 out of 5 stars

I wish there were more pictures and visuals.

There are like 4 pages of photos in the entire book. I’m very visual so a cookbook appeals to me with many photos! I will use it as a high altitude reference but I’m really disappointed! The gorgeous cover made me think it would be full of photos.

If you live high, this is your baking book

Recently gave a copy to a dear friend. My own copy is well worn, with middle columns for alternate elevations at which I’ve lived. This book is indispensable if you bake at altitude. Not just the recipes but the information.

THE Reference Book for Baking at High-Altitude

Muffins: Blueberry, Cranberry/Pecan, Apple/Oat, Raisin/Bran

Quick Breads/Scones/Bisquits/Popovers: Soda, Corn, Apricot/Almond, Lemon/Poppy Seed Breads; Current, Blueberry Scones; 1 Recipe each for Bisquits and Popovers

Yeast Breads: White, Challah, French Baguette, Multigrain

Cakes: 1-2-3-4 (with both Spice & Coconut variations}, Chocolate Buttermilk, Devil’s Food, Butter, Apple, Gingerbread, Applesauce, Honey, Upside-Down Apricot, a variation on Pound Cake, Ginger Bundt, Pumpkin Bundt, Carrot, Cheesecake, Angel Food, Chocolate Sponge, Orange Sponge, Walnut Torte, Streusel Coffee Cake, Lemon, Mocha Chiffon, and a Flourless Chocolate Truffle Cake

(Cake Recipes include, on each page, Icing/Glazing/Sauce recipes to go with them as well: Honey Cream, Coconut, Bittersweet Chocolate, Mocha Buttercream, Rum/Lemon Sauce, Sugar Glaze, Cardamom Honey Sauce, Raspberry Sauce, Ginger/Honey Glaze, Snow White Glaze, Cream Cheese, Mango Glaze, 7-Minute Icing that takes 15 minutes at high-altitude, Hazelnut Toffee Cream, Tangerine Mousse Filling, Lemon Curd Filling, Sabayon)

Cookies: Sugar, Peanut Butter, Gingersnaps, Oat, Oatmeal/Raisin, Chocolate Chip, Mexican Wedding, Shortbread, Biscottis, Brownies, Rugelach, Trail Bars

Pies: Apple, Pecan (with variations), Cobbler, Plum Crumb, Peach Crisp, Pumpkin, Lemon Meringue, Mocha Mousse, Fig Tart

Souffles: Orange w/Grand Marnier, Chocolate

25 people found this helpful

3.0 out of 5 stars

Not for me

There is a lot of info in this book for multiple high altitude levels, however the recipes in the book weren’t for me. I was looking for a book with some basic recipes and necessary modifications based on altitude, that I could then customize. Lots of background in this book on the author’s journey and lots of unique recipes, but after I looked through the book, not one I’d turn to frequently so I returned and went with another option.

If you love to bake, regardless of what altitude you live at, you’ll want to check this book out!

I grew up in Minnesota (970 ft), and baking was something I enjoyed doing from an early age. When I moved to Colorado (5,300 ft) baking wasn’t so easy. I tweaked a few recipes over the years, but it just wasn’t the same. . .until now.

I’ve never read a cookbook, outside of the recipes themselves, so I have nothing to compare this book too in that regard. However, I really enjoyed reading about Susan’s journey in perfecting the recipes at various altitudes, and the debunking/supporting of various high altitude baking myths and tricks. Susan talks about proteins and fats and how adding more of this and less of that can help strengthen your baked goods. This was all very educational for me.

All the recipes I’ve tried so far have been delicious! I’m looking forward to trying more of the recipes in this book.

1. Mom’s Blueberry Muffins – These were light, fluffy, and had such a wonderful taste. Easily my favorite!

2. Spicy Santa Fe Corn Bread – This had such great flavor, and I plan to make these again in the fall with hatch chili’s.

3. Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Bittersweet Chocolate Icing – The cake was light, fluffy, and moist and after the blueberry muffins it’s my next favorite recipe. I’m not a big fan of bitter things, so I was hesitant to make the bittersweet icing. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but I think next time I’ll try the mocha buttercream icing.

4. Trout Dale Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies – A tasty and chewy oatmeal cookie – delicious!

5. Black-and-White Chocolate Chip Cookies – These are so good they will bring a tear to your eye. Be careful because it’s difficult to eat just one. 🙂 I love how Purdy doesn’t use too much sugar in her recipes!

6. Breckenridge Biscuits – I’ve never made biscuits from scratch before and these were not only easy to make but insanely delicious! Purdy gives you tips on how to keep the texture of the biscuit light and fluffy.

26 people found this helpful

My Go-To Reference Book for Cooking in High Altitudes

4 people found this helpful

Great book! I wish I had found it sooner; it would have saved me a lot of frustration. I had given up on cupcakes, they always cratered on me and I had to fill them in with extra frosting. After reading the section on cakes, my very first batch of cupcakes was perfect. I can’t express the satisfaction it gives to pull something out of the oven and it looks perfect, and 10 minutes later, it STILL looks perfect. I have tried several of the recipes, and I loved them all, and they all came out great.

The recipes are given in graphs so you can pick your elevation and add the appropriate measurements, bake at the correct temp, and which racks to use. But Susan Purdy goes beyond giving you great recipes adjusted for your elevation. She gives you the science behind it, so you can take any of your favorite recipes and adjust them accordingly. And she makes it very easy to understand.

The one thing I wish she had included would be information on adjustments for cupcakes. But honestly, I learned so much from this book, I was able to figure it out. For instance, in the Chocolate Buttermilk Cake recipe (fantastic!) I learned that not only do you spray the pan with vegetable spray, but line it with parchment and spray the parchment as well, and then dust with cocoa. I never would have thought of that, but it makes perfect sense. So for cupcakes, I sprayed the cupcake pan and the cupcake liners and dusted them with cocoa. Brilliant! The cupcakes came out of the liners beautifully without leaving half of the cupcake behind. So this is more than a cookbook, its a bit of a textbook too. Whatever your elevation, this book will make you a better baker.

3 people found this helpful

Top reviews from other countries2.0 out of 5 starsReviewed in the United Kingdom on July 1, 2014I bought this book because I have moved to Nairobi which is 5,450ft above sea level. I consider myself to be a competent baker from the UK but baking for me in Nairobi is like I’ve never mastered the art in any shape or form. I bought this book as a result of the reviews and although the science of more or less fat/eggs/sugar/temperature etc is very useful I am disappointed in the recipes and how American centric it is. All the recipes have been tried and tested in various altitudes in the USA but I find it difficult / impossible to create many of the dishes using ingredients from my local supermarket. I appreciate that is my problem and not the authors but if other reviews had mad it clear that this book was written for the American market then I would have understood that it was probably not relevant to me. I’ll keep looking as I love baking and hope that I can find something with more globally understood text.One person found this helpful5.0 out of 5 stars
pie in the sky
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 22, 20102 people found this helpful5.0 out of 5 stars
Even works in a mud oven!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 11, 2016I took this book with me to a village at 4000 feet in the eastern Himalayas. We had no oven, so had to build one from mud. But then we started making cakes from this wonderful book. So far have made the honey cake, the apple cake and a chocolate cake – all with great success. Highly recommended!.One person found this helpful5.0 out of 5 starsReviewed in the United Kingdom on January 8, 2013This was a present for my sister in law for Christmas, she is moving to Colorado in August and wanted to try some altitude cooking, she was very pleased with it.5.0 out of 5 starsReviewed in Germany on September 29, 2016I bought this book because I was going to Santa Fe, New Mexico to make a wedding cake for my brother & sister in law. I had never been anywhere at high altitude, let alone baked anything, and I was very worried. This book saved my life! It’s written for the home cook, not for the serious home cook or semi-professional like Rose Beranbaum’s books, but it has a lot of useful info and the recipes are very clear. I was able to make the cake with perfect success and it was genuinely delicious.

Are you new to baking or just want to improve your baking skills? These baking tips for beginners are the perfect place to start to become a better baker.

Baking Tips for Beginners

You’ve likely heard it said that while cooking is an art, baking is a science. And that’s true! Baking requires precision and attention to yield the best results.

If you’re new to baking, it can be intimidating. But the good news is, there are some things you can do to make your baking journey a smooth one.

While there are many rules of baking, these are the basics – the ones you need to keep in mind every time you bake. Even if you’ve been baking for years, it’s always a good idea to brush up on the basics.

Are you ready to improve your baking skills? Let’s do this!

That may seem like an obvious thing, but I mean that you should read the recipe thoroughly. Do the ingredients need to be prepped first? What kind of pan do you need and how should it be prepared? Is there an idle step (like chilling cookie dough) that will add extra time? Taking the time to assess what you need in terms of ingredients, equipment, and time will go a long way toward making your baking successful.

If the recipe calls for room temperature ingredients or melted ingredients, be sure to budget time for doing that. Setting out butter, eggs, sour cream, or any other cold ingredients is often a good idea. Letting melted ingredients like butter or chocolate cool slightly is also usually best. For the most part, having ingredients at similar temperatures will make mixing easier and give you a better result.

Prep Your Ingredients

The French phrase “mise en place” is often associated with baking. It simply means to put everything in place. In baking, that means gathering all of your ingredients and equipment before beginning to bake.

Getting everything together in this way serves a couple of purposes. First of all, it means that your baking process will go more smoothly. Secondly, it ensures that you have everything you need. You don’t want to get halfway through your recipe only to realize you’re missing an ingredient!

In addition to gathering and measuring your ingredients, be sure to get your equipment ready. Prepare your pans, usually with cooking spray, parchment paper, or silicone mats. Along with mixing bowls, mixing spoons, and your hand mixer or stand mixer, get out any scoops, spatulas, or other tools you’ll need. And make sure you have plenty of counter space for your baking project as well as any space that may be needed in your refrigerator or freezer.

Measure Ingredients Accurately

An exception here is brown sugar. Pay attention to how the recipe describes its measurement. Usually, it should be firmly packed, meaning that (unlike flour) you should really pack it down into the measuring cup. Because of differences in how bakers will do this, measuring by weight is far more accurate.

It’s also important to use the right kind of tools for measuring. You’ll need dry measuring cups as well as liquid measuring cups. To measure liquid ingredients, be sure to check the measurement by getting your eye level with the measurement line.

You’ll also need a set of measuring spoons for measuring small amounts of ingredients, like salt, baking powder, baking soda, and extracts.

Don’t Make Substitutions

As you become a more experienced baker, you’ll understand better how ingredients work and how to make substitutions. Until you feel more comfortable, you’ll have better success if you don’t make any changes.

Of course, some swaps are fine. If you’re making chocolate chip cookies with pecans and you want to use walnuts instead, that’s not going to make a difference beyond taste. Making changes to ingredient quantities and substituting ingredients will likely give you a less than stellar outcome.

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