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Adjusting Pizza Dough Recipes For High Altitude

Butter cake with berries

Photo: Meredith

High Altitude Cooking FAQs

Why is high altitude a problem when cooking?

Lower air pressure at high altitudes causes the air bubbles trapped in the batter to rise at a faster rate. When this happens, the cakes rise very quickly and high…then fall over. As a result, you will end up with a dry, dense cake.

What high altitude cooking adjustment should I make?

  • It may be necessary to change the proportion of ingredients in a recipe.
  • You may also need to increase the cooking temperature.

Most cake recipes need no modification below or up to 3,000 feet. Beyond that, recipes often need to be adjusted slightly, by decreasing yeast and sugar (or both) and increasing liquids. Butter, which melts in the oven, is considered a liquid; eggs, however, aren’t: they act as a stabilizer in baked goods.

10 high-flying cooking recipes that actually work


The best tips for baking cakes and quick bread at high altitudes

Avoid dry cakes and quick breads with these tips:

For cakes with baking powder:

  • Don’t beat the eggs too much. Excessive beating adds too much air to the cake.
  • Slightly raise the cooking temperature; the faster cooking time will prevent the recipe from rising too much. At elevations above 3,500 feet, the oven temperature for batters and doughs should be approximately 25 degrees F higher than the temperature used at sea level.
  • Slightly decrease the amount of baking powder; this also prevents the recipe from rising too much.

For leavened coffee cakes:

Yeast cakes rise faster at high altitudes, so watch your dough closely and judge the rise time based on the change in dough mass, not how long it takes. The rising time for yeast cakes should be shortened.

More tips for cooking at high altitudes

  • Cakes tend to stick more when cooked at high altitudes, so always grease your pans well and dust them with flour, or line them with parchment paper.
  • Only fill the pans halfway with the batter, not the usual 2/3, as high-rise cakes may overflow.


High altitude cooking chart

Follow the table below for more specific adjustments. When adapting a recipe for high altitude, always start with the smallest setting, then add more changes later and only as needed. It’s a good idea to make note of how you’ve modified your recipes until you know what works best for your particular location.

Setting for 3000 feet:

  • Reduce yeast: For each teaspoon decrease 1/8 teaspoon.
  • Reduce Sugar: For each cup, decrease 0 to 1 Tbsp.
  • Increase liquid: For each cup, add 1 to 2 tbsp.
  • Increase the oven temperature by 25 degrees F.

Setting for 5000 feet:

  • Reduce yeast: For each teaspoon, decrease by 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon.
  • Reduce Sugar: For each cup, decrease 0 to 2 tablespoons.
  • Increase the liquid: For each cup, add 2 to 4 tbsp.
  • Increase the oven temperature by 25 degrees F.

Adjustment for over 7000 feet:

  • Reduce yeast: For each teaspoon, decrease 1/4 teaspoon.
  • Reduce Sugar: For each cup, decrease 1 to 3 tablespoons.
  • Increase liquid: For each cup, add 3 to 4 tbsp.
  • Increase the oven temperature by 25 degrees F.

More to explore

Get recipes for quick cakes and breads


High Altitude Cooking FAQs

Why is high altitude a problem when cooking?

Lower air pressure at high altitudes causes the air bubbles trapped in the batter to rise at a faster rate. When this happens, the cakes rise very quickly and high…then fall over. As a result, you will end up with a dry, dense cake.

What high altitude cooking adjustment should I make?

  • It may be necessary to change the proportion of ingredients in a recipe.
  • You may also need to increase the cooking temperature.

Most cake recipes need no modification below or up to 3,000 feet. Beyond that, recipes often need to be adjusted slightly, by decreasing yeast and sugar (or both) and increasing liquids. Butter, which melts in the oven, is considered a liquid; eggs, however, aren’t: they act as a stabilizer in baked goods.

10 high-flying cooking recipes that actually work


The best tips for baking cakes and quick bread at high altitudes

Avoid dry cakes and quick breads with these tips:

For cakes with baking powder:

  • Don’t beat the eggs too much. Excessive beating adds too much air to the cake.
  • Slightly raise the cooking temperature; the faster cooking time will prevent the recipe from rising too much. At elevations above 3,500 feet, the oven temperature for batters and doughs should be approximately 25 degrees F higher than the temperature used at sea level.
  • Slightly decrease the amount of baking powder; this also prevents the recipe from rising too much.

For leavened coffee cakes:

Yeast cakes rise faster at high altitudes, so watch your dough closely and judge the rise time based on the change in dough mass, not how long it takes. The rising time for yeast cakes should be shortened.

More tips for cooking at high altitudes

  • Cakes tend to stick more when cooked at high altitudes, so always grease your pans well and dust them with flour, or line them with parchment paper.
  • Only fill the pans halfway with the batter, not the usual 2/3, as high-rise cakes may overflow.


High altitude cooking chart

Follow the table below for more specific adjustments. When adapting a recipe for high altitude, always start with the smallest setting, then add more changes later and only as needed. It’s a good idea to make note of how you’ve modified your recipes until you know what works best for your particular location.

Setting for 3000 feet:

  • Reduce yeast: For each teaspoon decrease 1/8 teaspoon.
  • Reduce Sugar: For each cup, decrease 0 to 1 Tbsp.
  • Increase liquid: For each cup, add 1 to 2 tbsp.
  • Increase the oven temperature by 25 degrees F.

Setting for 5000 feet:

  • Reduce yeast: For each teaspoon, decrease by 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon.
  • Reduce Sugar: For each cup, decrease 0 to 2 tablespoons.
  • Increase the liquid: For each cup, add 2 to 4 tbsp.
  • Increase the oven temperature by 25 degrees F.

Adjustment for over 7000 feet:

  • Reduce yeast: For each teaspoon, decrease 1/4 teaspoon.
  • Reduce Sugar: For each cup, decrease 1 to 3 tablespoons.
  • Increase liquid: For each cup, add 3 to 4 tbsp.
  • Increase the oven temperature by 25 degrees F.

More to explore

Get recipes for quick cakes and breads


Video about Adjusting Pizza Dough Recipes For High Altitude

High Altitude Pizza Dough

The hardest part about making home made pizza is the dough, but it’s not hard at all. You can make the perfect pizza dough at home with a little practice and following this recipe. I’ve been making pizza at home and grilling that pizza for years and wanted to share that recipe with you.

We live at 4800 feet, which creates some challenges in baking compared so sea levels. If you live at a similar altitude, give this recipe a try and see if you get better results in your pizza dough.

Cast Iron Pizza Pan: https://amzn.to/2JmkId1
Pizza Peel : https://amzn.to/2JFU4Lt
Stand Mixer: https://amzn.to/2xTqSMb

Checkout our other videos on grilling and making pizza in our playlist:

Pizza Dough
Makes 3 – 10 inch pizzas

1 3/4 cup Water
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup wheat flour
1 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 C unbleached bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all the ingredients together with a stand mixer using the dough hook, kneed 4 to 5 minutes. The dough should be fairly soft and tacky, but not sticky. Place dough in a greased bowl with a lid or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (or up to 2 days). 2 to 3 hours before you want to make the pizza, take the dough out of the fridge. Let it sit at room temperature for two hours. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and shape into a 5’ish inch diameter disk. This will make it easier to shape into a pizza later. Place the disks on a floured surface and cover with a damp towel to rise for an hour. Stretch the dough into 10 to 12 inch rounds (depending on preference), top, bake, eat, and enjoy.

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