How to Bake at a High Altitude?

For some, baking can be a tricky task. While some bakers are natural-born, others take years of training and experience to perfect decadent desserts. However, baking at a high altitude can be a challenge for individuals of any skill level. Changes in the weight of air that are prevalent with high-altitude cooking can greatly alter the outcome of dishes that are baked, particularly desserts and cakes. As a result, it is important to follow high-altitude baking directions and tips to ensure optimal results.

Science of High-Altitude Baking

Though the general techniques of baking are uniform across a wide array of environmental factors and demographic conditions, why are high-altitude climates so different? The answer is simple: low altitude pressure causes baked goods to rise more easily and lose pressure more quickly. Since water requires a lower boiling point at higher altitudes, baked goods lose this water faster as the liquid evaporates. As leavening occurs at a quicker rate, the result includes the creation of gas bubbles that coalesce into larger, irregular pockets in dough and batter. This leads to a more coarse cake that is less desirable than fluffy, moister versions. In addition, these bubbles can become so great that they burst, causing cake walls to stretch to their maximum point. As a result, bakers are left with a fallen cake.

Necessary Adjustments

If the results depicted in the previous paragraph seem less-than-desirable, you may want to try one of these tricks to achieve indulgent baked goods in high-altitude regions.

  • In general, with the exception of angel food cake or sponge cake, use parchment paper inside cake pans or dust with flour and grease to prevent sticking. Cupcake liners are acceptable for muffins and cupcakes.
  • In every recipe, subtract one to three tablespoons of sugar per cup of ingredients. Cakes that display a mottled surface depict the use of too much sugar. The removal of one to three tablespoons of fat per cup may also be necessary.
  • Add one additional egg or egg white. This increases the amount of protein in a recipe and coagulates to make the cake set faster.
  • Decrease the amount of baking soda or baking powder by 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon for every teaspoon needed. Baked goods that have a stronger structure, such as cookies, squares, and quick bread may not require this improvisation.
  • Add one to two teaspoons of extra liquid per cup to make up for lost moisture during the baking process.
  • Decrease the rising time for bread, and only allow the dough to rise twice before reshaping. Using 20% less yeast may also suffice.
  • Beat egg whites for foam cakes prior to incorporation to allow for better expansion.
  • Increase baking temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit to allow baking to set and reduce the risk of overstretched cells.
  • As always, check for doneness and manipulate baking time accordingly.

Utilizing Resources

Since most recipes are formulated for sea-level baking, making a few adjustments can leave bakers with a spectacular cake or mouth-watering loaf of bread. Instead of utilizing every tip at once, simply try one or two and determine how these changes affected the overall product. If needed, incorporate one or two more techniques to improve the outcome.

General Overview

In order to enhance your high-altitude baking experience, we have include the following high-altitude baking video. Just remember, the higher the altitude the more drastic you will need to be with your baking implementations and adjustments. With just a few minor changes, you will be baking delicious breads and sweet desserts in no time!

How to Bake Baby Back Ribs?

Baking baby back ribs can be a great way to make one of your favorite meals at home without having to use a grill or smoker. You can still get the same, authentic taste with just a few little tricks and tips. No matter how you cook them, the first trick to the perfect ribs is to choose the right ones.

Choosing the Best Baby Back Ribs 

Like the name implies, these are smaller, more delicate racks of ribs. Unfortunately that means that there is a risk of being less meat and a risk of ruining their taste and texture with improper cooking methods. Choose the meatiest rack of ribs that you can find, steering clear of the packages with a lot of exposed bone or tough looking gristle. The meat should be a deep reddish color- so avoid any that is overly pale or brown in appearance. If the package feels sticky or there is an unpleasant odor coming from it, tell the meat manager so that it can be removed from the counter.

If you are buying meat from a butcher, ask him to cut the ribs as you would serve them.

To Pre-cook or Not to Pre-cook: That is the Question 

Because baking can be very drying, it is important to minimize the time that the ribs spend in there. It is equally important to make sure that the ribs are cooked all the way through. To minimize drying and the risk of getting tough, some cooks like to par cook their rack of ribs. One method is to gently simmer them in a bath of your choice of liquids. One choice is a bottle of good beer. Another choice is a mixture of white wine, liquid smoke and garlic. It is important not to boil the ribs or to cook them for too long or they will get tough and stringy.

Giving the Ribs Some Good Flavor 

A favorite method of flavoring baby back ribs is with a dry rub. You can make a dry rub out of whatever combination of spices and flavors you would like. Start with brown sugar and add a little garlic powder, a pinch of mesquite blend spices and even a touch of coffee grounds. Grind all of the flavors together and then liberally rub them into the ribs, making sure to cover both sides. For more heat, add chili powder or dried cayenne. You can take the flavors in any direction that you want. Your ribs can be Indian ribs with a curry infused dry rub. Make Asian ribs with a little Chinese All Spice.

How to Bake the Baby Back Ribs 

The actual baking should be done on a shallow pan, preferably one that is nonstick. If you have any doubts about the surface of your pan, a very light spray of olive oil based cooking spray will help the ribs cook without sticking and will not change their over all flavor. If the ribs are very meaty or you are cooking a lot of them, you can go low and slow. If the ribs are a little on the sparse side or you are making a relatively small amount, you should stick to a 350 degree oven for only as long as it takes to cook them completely through (Around 15-20 minutes).

You can cook them on a rack on the pan so that the heat circulates on both sides evenly which will also speed up cooking time slightly.

Finishing the Ribs Off 

If you want to sauce the ribs while they are cooking, wait until the last few minutes of cooking time and then brush the sauce on. You should plan on flipping them and brushing the opposite side as well. Some people prefer to serve several dipping sauces, a la carte alongside the finished ribs so that people can choose what kind of flavors they are interested in. If you plan to do that, offer sweet based sauces as well as a sauce or two with a little more fire to it.

How to Bake a Sirloin Steak?

Baking a sirloin steak is one way to ensure you get a delicious steak that is prepared in a healthy method. Sirloin steaks are often preferred by people because they are a semi-prime cut of meat that is also budget-friendly. The key to getting delicious flavor from your sirloin steaks is to create a rub or marinade and allow the steak time to soak up the flavor from the seasonings. This will result in added flavor that will enhance any steak and will make the meal one to remember.

Create a Succulent Sirloin Steak Rub

Many chefs go back and forth between rubs and marinades when it comes to seasoning meats. Beef is a type of meat that is versatile and can work well with a variety of rubs or marinades. On the Food Network website, Chef Bobby Flay has provided an example of a mouth-watering steak rub. Mr. Flay’s steak rub consists of cumin, paprika, black pepper, coriander and kosher salt, just to name a few of the ingredients. These seasonings will produce a very rich and savory rub that will enhance the flavor of a sirloin steak.

Another rub that works well with steaks to enhance flavor consists of freshly-diced garlic, cracked black pepper, seasoning salt, onion powder, chili powder and cilantro. These ingredients will give a steak a very nice Tex-Mex rub that will explode with bursts of flavor.

Flavorful Marinades Enhance Steaks

People who prefer exceptionally tender and moist steaks may decide to lean towards a steak marinade. An ideal marinade for sirloin steaks consist of four tablespoons of soy sauce, one tablespoon of teriyaki sauce, one teaspoon of ground white pepper, one teaspoon of oregano, one and a half cups of dry red wine, and two tablespoons of olive oil. Do not add salt to this marinade as the soy sauce and the teriyaki sauce already contain ample amounts of salt. Place the steaks in a plastic container; pour marinade over the steaks, allowing it to coat all the steaks, cover and place in the refrigerator for twenty-four to thirty-six hours. This marinade recipe will provide enough marinade for up to seven steaks.

Simple Steps to Caramelize and Bake a Sirloin Steak

If you want to caramelize your steak, simply add a quarter of a cup of olive oil to a pan and toss the steak into the pan on the range once the olive oil is heated. Allow the steak to caramelize on both sides as shown in the video below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqGUdcn478Y

Julienne slices of onions and bell peppers may also be added for additional flavor. Once the steak has been lightly caramelized on each side, place the steak into a baking sheet and put into an oven that has been preheated to broil for fifteen to twenty minutes.
Once the sirloin steak is in the broiler oven, it will only need to cook for approximately two to three minutes to reach a tender medium rare. Flip the steak and allow it to cook two more minutes on each side to ensure it is evenly cooked. For medium steaks, add two more minutes to the cooking time on each side.

The website Thekitchen.com  recommends using a cast iron skillet to bake the steaks in. Baking a steak in a cast iron skillet at broiler temperatures will help you to achieve tasty crisp, blackened edges that provide a nice crust to the outer portions of the steak.

How to Bake BBQ Beef Ribs?

Barbecue beef ribs are an ideal choice for any occasion, whether it’s a cookout, picnic or Sunday night dinner. Even people who don’t own a grill can enjoy them by baking them in the oven. Cooking ribs in an oven is very different from grilling them, but the results can be far superior to other cooking methods. Here’s how to bake BBQ beef ribs.

What You’ll Need

Enough beef ribs for everyone
Barbecue sauce
Barbecue seasoning (optional)
Meat tenderizer
Paper towels
Salt to taste

Choosing the Ribs

How your ribs turn out depends largely on the particular rack you select. Because lean beef can be very dry and tough, it’s recommended that you choose ribs that possess a generous layering of fat. This fat will also contribute massively to the flavor of the finished product. The amount of ribs is also something to think about. Beef ribs are mostly bone, so even a large rack may not be enough to feed more than a few people. It’s always a good idea to buy extra just in case. Similarly, try to get the least bony ribs you can find if you want more value for your money. Unfortunately, this can require visiting different stores.

Seasoning or Sauce?

Barbecuing doesn’t always have to include sauce. There are also a number of delicious barbecue rubs available on the market. If you prefer something homemade, you can do that, too. Some people like to use both sauce and a seasoning rub, and often times, the rub helps the sauce cling to the meat more. Furthermore, it gives the meat that smoky taste that you would normally get from a grill. Here’s are recipes for a homemade sauce and a homemade rub.

Barbecue Sauce

1 cup of dark brown sugar, packed down
1 cup of ketchup
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup of water
1 1/2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon of mustard powder
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 1/4 teaspoons of salt
3/4 teaspoon of black pepper

Barbecue Rub

1 tablespoon of black pepper
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 tablespoon of onion powder
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of ground chipotle pepper
1 tablespoon of ground ginger
2 teaspoons of mustard powder
Smoke flavoring

Preparing Your Ribs

If you want the best possible results, don’t be hasty to get the ribs in the oven. Rinse them off, set them on a cookie sheet or in a baking dish and pat them dry with paper towels. Generously sprinkle some meat tenderizer on both sides, followed by salt. If you’re only planning to use sauce on your ribs, wait until the last 45 to 60 minutes of cooking. If you want a bolder flavor, any seasonings or rubs should be applied now and massaged into the meat thoroughly.

Let the ribs stand in a warm place for about 40 minutes. This gives the enzymes in the meat tenderizer an opportunity to break down the protein in order to make it more succulent. At the same time, the salt will draw moisture and seasonings deep into the meat, further aiding its flavor and tenderness. Set your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and be prepared to be taunted by the aroma for a few hours. Check on them once in a while to monitor their progress.

Testing for Doneness

No matter how good they smell, try not to pull them from the oven prematurely. Slow, prolonged cooking produces the best results, so patience is a must for a memorable rack of ribs. When you suspect that they’re nearing doneness, you probably won’t be able to tell just by looking because of the sauce and seasoning. Instead, take a sharp knife and insert it into the center of the rack in a meaty part between bones. If they’re cooked to an ideal state, the knife should slide in effortlessly. If there’s still a lot of resistance, let them cook longer.

Although baking BBQ beef ribs in an oven requires some adjustment, it can be much better than grilling. That means no more costly fuel tank refills, no more tending meat in the cold and no more struggling to get the charcoal lit. By following these easy instructions, you can enjoy succulent barbecue beef ribs without a hassle.

Related Video:

How to Bake Beef Ribs in the Oven?

Many barbecue enthusiasts argue beef ribs, or any type of ribs for that matter, cannot be properly prepared in the oven. In fact, ribs can be prepared so well in the oven, enthusiasts will never know they were not prepared in a smoker or grill.

The secret to delicious, fall-off-the-bone style ribs is the marinade or dry rub. The marinade and dry rub work to break down tough fibers in meat.

Whether a wet marinade or dry rub is used, depends on the area of the county or the preference of the cook.

Wet Marinade

Beef ribs should be soaked in the wet marinade for 12-24 hours before cooking. Place the ribs in a baking pan, and pour the marinade over the ribs. The, place foil tightly over the pan. Place the pan in the refrigerator. Once the ribs have marinated, remove them from the refrigerator at least two hours before placing in the oven, allowing them to come to room temperature.

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup apple juice or apple cider vinegar
3 medium cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp dark molasses
Pinch of Kosher salt
2 Tbsp hot sauce, if desired

Dry Rub

In a dry rub different spices and seasonings are mixed, then rubbed onto the dry meat. The meat is then placed in a baking pan and secured with foil. Beef ribs should sit in their dry rub for 12-24 hours, just like with a wet marinade. The longer the ribs sit in their marinade, the better. Ribs can safely sit in their marinade for at least 36 hours inside the refrigerator. Once the ribs have marinated, remove them from the refrigerator at least two hours before placing in the oven, allowing them to reach room temperature.

Wash and dry meat before proceeding with the dry rub. Also, when using a dry rub, remove the silver membrane located on the bone side of the ribs. The membrane, while safe to eat, is tough and inhibits the penetration of flavor.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp coriander
2 Tbsp cumin
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp white sugar
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp dry mustard

Mix all ingredients together. Slather generously over washed and dried ribs.

Why should Beef Ribs come to room temperature before baking in the oven?

Beef ribs at room temperature cook evenly. Bringing meat to room temperature allows the meat to “relax,” keeping it from being tight and dense. The exterior of cold, dense meat dries out when placed in a hot oven.

Baking Them

Moisture makes beef ribs tender.

If you are cooking with a gas oven, there is already a small element of moisture in the oven from the combustion needed to heat the oven. If you are cooking with an electric oven, the moisture element is not there.

For best results, place the ribs on a rack above a pan filled with two inches of water. At this point, wood chips can be added to provide additional “smoky” flavor.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the ribs on the rack bone side down.

Cook the ribs for three hours, removing and turning the rack and pan every 20 minutes. Do not move the meat, just turn the rack and pan.

After three hours, the ribs should be done. The meat should have pulled away, exposing the ends of the bones.

If you prefer ribs with barbecue sauce on them, add the barbecue sauce to the ribs at this point. Turn the oven to broil and place ribs back on rack and place in oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, flip the ribs and cook an additional 10 minutes. The sauce will be beautifully caramelized at this point. Watch the beef ribs carefully, as sugar burns easily and all barbecue sauces contain sugar.

If you prefer your beef ribs with no sauce or sauce on the side, wrap the ribs tightly in aluminum foil and allow them to rest for at least 45 minutes.

Serve with your favorite side dishes.

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