High elevation and (in my opinion) ugly results....

Discussion in 'Professional Pastry Chefs' started by aprildb, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. aprildb

    aprildb

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    Hi all...

    OK, my problem is this: I just started in a bakery in Santa Fe. I'm making everything from scratch in addition to  vegetarian/sometimes gluten free baking.

    We are at 7500 feet with low humidity. The GF cakes DO NOT want to bake. I have a GF/dairy free 10" carrot cake (rice flour) to do that ended up dense and after 2 hours still was gooey. I was following the recipe that my boss had. What can I do to lighten it? (and particularly to get the damned thing to bake!)

    The other organic items, like scones and particularly my foccacia and croissants have a dry unpleasant look no matter what I do. They taste ok, just...I am not happy with the look.

    I've tried spraying with water (as the owner instructed  me to do), oiling, buttering...nothing seems to work.

    ACK!

    I passed physics in school with an A+. What is UP with this...? (lol)

    Thanks

    April
     
  2. aprildb

    aprildb

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    Anyone?
     
  3. katbalou

    katbalou

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    you may need to try different flour mixes. rice flour alone could be too heavy. post the recipe and i'll try to pick it apart for you
     
  4. titomike

    titomike

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    No clue about the elevation issue.

    Folding in some egg white beaten with a little sugar will lighten a dense batter which may help with both problems. If your recipes uses eggs, separate them and boost the whites a bit.

    You may need to start with a high temp to get the egg action happening then lower it to finish....choux paste styles.

    I use achocolate cake recipe with 11/2 cups of oil & this technique.....light, moist with an incredible shelf-life.

    Just a stab in the dark...good luck!
     
  5. durangojo

    durangojo

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    i  live just up the road from you in durango, colorado...elevation 8500.. i am certainly no baker and i have no clue about the physics of things, but i make all the desserts for our restaurant and it took time and patience to figure it all out...this is what i know...do not beat or whip the eggs...a gentle mixing is good...they seem to expand or something in the oven...i actually decrease the amount of eggs...i use a slightly lower temp oven( 25 degrees) when baking in a bain marie, a slightly higher temp for cakes(25 degrees), i add a wee bit more flour, and shorten the baking time as well...there are several bakeries around that you could call and ask...or maybe ask your boss what she does and how it works for her...bakery i get my bread from and the owner robert is a true baker, is 'serious delights', in durango. #(970) 403-1517...'baked in telluride' is a great bakery in telluride, and i think they are at about 10,000 ft.....surely they could help...have to google the number..its a challenge, but once you figure it out, you figure it out across the board...hope this helps

    joey

    what bakery in santa fe?
     
  6. aprildb

    aprildb

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    Hi, and thanks. It's a little 50 seat plus walk-ins cafe called Treehouse. I grew up with my mom's obsession with health foods and I must admit if they tasted like this I would have been a lot more open to the idea.

    Asking doesn't seem to work very well. I think it's more of a use your gut thing that you can't explain or show to anyone else. I have baked successfully at 6600 feet following the provided recipes like I've been doing now so I don't know what that magic difference is in that last 1000 feet. Hmmmm....

    So I'm on a mission from God.

    Forget what I said about low humidity. Apparently we just hit the monsoon season (late) and now everything i usta know is all over the map. Bread and croissants are now in my "I am pleased" happy baking place. Quick breads and scones ....well... scones...forget it. Muffins are all over the map. My MAIN problem is I have no clue what I'm looking for. They can bake for friggin ever and get browned to the point of looking burned based on the recipes and temps (which btw do NOT provide any clue about how long or what I'm looking for...just "bake until done". All-righty) AND be undercooked on the inside. Standard wood testers are of no use. In those last golden minutes it can look done, feel done, use the testers and they come out clean....and you would only know that it's undercooked is if you take the end of one of those picks and disemboweled the stupid thing ... ONLY to find that it's still underdone in the very center.

    I know it can be done, it's just seriously frustrating me because I've been doing food and baking for over 40 years. Particularly the scone thing.

    Or then there's the dense cake issue. A few days ago I had to bake off several 12 " cakes, 10" cakes and had to leave before they were done. I had asked the server to put them in the (turned off) proofer (since we don't have adequate overnight cooling racks) when they were cool enough and she put them in when they were hot, the proofer was warm and ...well they ended up dense and wet. Like pound cake. My boss insists that I over-mixed (which I didn't) and I am pretty much convinced the moist proof box overnight (which killed a few hundred petite fours she had done just the other day) was the culprit.

    I mean, how can a cake be raw only on the top 1 inch or so?

    In any event, as usual it's a frustrating at best learning situation.

    Oh well, it's all magic anyway.

    Thanks again.

    April