High Altitude Baker-at-Large Comparison: Lemon Poppy Seed Loaves

I recently asked a couple of locals to test two recipe books on high altitude baking. Here is the preliminary report from one such baker-at-large…

Being a bit of a cooking geek, I was drawn to Pie in the Sky. I
loved the carefully calculated charts for varying altitudes. I loved
the descriptions of her trip around the country experimenting at
different altitude and her tips for equipment and ingredients.

So, I gathered my daughter (Cook in Training), shooed the cats out of the
kitchen and proceeded to make Vail Lemon-Poppy Seed Loaf.

In the interests of science, CiT and I followed the instructions to the last
detail. (Following the chart for 7,000 feet.)

The end result was “fine.” It rose nicely and cooked in the
allotted time. I thought it a little dry and lacking in Lemony
Punch but CiT and DH pronounced it wonderful.

Though when asked about the Lack of Lemon, DH said,
“It’s fine for me, but then I don’t like lemon”

Hmm, you learn something new everyday.

Either way, it was all gone in three days.

Then I rounded up Cook in Training and cleared the kitchen
again for an attack on Cid’s Lemon Poppyseed Bread from the Muffin
Lady’s Baking at High Altitude.

I was prepared for disappointment as the recipe was unchallenging–
I would go so far as to say fool proof.

There were no charts, no variations for different
altitudes and no instructions as to oven rack placement. CiT and I
whipped through the process in no time and sat back to wait for 60
minutes or “until an inserted knife comes out clean.”

The finished result de-panned easily despite having just sprayed the pan with
cooking spray (unlike Pie in the Sky’s detailed instructions for
greasing with shortening, flour and lining the pan with parchment
paper.). It rose nicely and stayed up when it came out of the oven
and after waiting five minutes I poked it with a fork and sloshed the
lemon glaze over the top.

The results were interesting. The addition of nearly a cup of
sugar/lemon solution gave the finished product the weight and density
of a house brick. BUT, it was a very lemony house brick and had that
intense citrus zing that the Pie in the Sky product was lacking.

In conclusion, both recipes produced much the same result and, taking
out all the bells and whistles from Pie in the Sky, both used the
muffin/quick bread method of dumping wet ingredients into dry.

Both were rather bland but if you like lemons, the Muffin Lady’s lemon
glaze gave her bread the edge.

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This entry was posted on Monday, March 10th, 2008 and is filed under Baking & Cooking, GG's Reviews, Mountain Lake Resort, Small Town Living.

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