Preserving cookies in High Altitude

Discussion in 'Professional Pastry Chefs' started by WhiskMagik, Dec 13, 2017.

  1. WhiskMagik

    WhiskMagik

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    Pastry Chef
    Greetings all.

    I have been fussing with my cookie recipes at work for catering in Denver, CO. I have made the appropriate altitude changes to the recipes but still having a problem with them sitting for a couple hours and going stale. My exec chef and GM are wanting me to look for alternative was to prolong shelf life. My boss is not opposed to using possibly calcium sulfate, which hurts my soul a bit, instead of switching out butter for shortening. Corn syrup has not helped me very much?

    Any other ideas? Or any one have knowledge or use chemical preservatives?

    Thanks so much.
     
  2. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Retired Hospitality
    How far ahead are you baking?
    Not my circus but a one day hold is my standard for most products.
    You could try a vacuum seal....

    mimi
     
  3. chefpeon

    chefpeon Kitchen Dork

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    Professional Pastry Chef 27 years
    I had the pleasure of coming to Denver to participate in a TV baking challenge back in 2009. We were NOT prepared for the climate, but we were prepared for the altitude. By climate, I mean how absolutely DRY the air is. We had no idea about the
    dry air before we got there and how much it would throw a crimp in pretty much everything we did. Makes working with fondant a bit of a nightmare. Anyway, I suspect the dry air has a LOT to do with your cookies staling so fast, and maybe better packaging is all you need. Messing with the recipes themselves will change the nature of the cookies. If I were to futz with the
    recipes, I'd be looking at ways to add/keep moisture like with brown sugars or corn syrup or different types of fats. But again, it'll change the whole cookie.

    Another thing: are you converting standard recipes that are written for sea level and making high altitude adjustments? Or are you using recipes that are already written for high altitude baking? If it's the former, have you ruled out possible errors when adjusting for high altitude?

    I've personally never used calcium sulfate, but I know it's a dessicant which means it attracts moisture. Maybe you could experiment with it. I'd like to know results and whether it affects texture and taste.
     
    flipflopgirl likes this.
  4. dueh

    dueh

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    Being only an hour south of you, In Colorado Springs, i know exactly what you are talking about. The best thing to do is let them cool completely, and do your best to wrap them. Either plastic wrap sheet trays, or find good airtight storage. With your altitide adjustment you should be adding extra liquids ( around a 15% increase for 5000 feet) along with a increase in flour and eggs. Decrease in sugar and fat.

    Another option is to "cure" your dough in the fridge overnight. Let as the flour suck up as much moisture as it can as a dough before baking.

    Possibly soft bake your product slightly?

    Some cake/pastry shops i have worked for have dipped cookies in chocolate, or decorated with royal icing. Not sure if that is really cost effective as a catering company vs a retail setting..