The vast majority of baking recipes are designed for sea level. Here in Burlington, Iowa we sit at a comfortable 700 feet above sea level — not anywhere high enough to affect the recipe.
But when you get to higher elevations, around 3,000 feet and up, the same recipe will produce vastly different results. The greater the altitude, the lower the air pressure — and air pressure has a big impact on baked goods.
Dough rises more quickly and loses moisture faster at high altitude. Water boils at a lower temperature and evaporates quicker, making baked goods more prone to sticking. Leavening occurs faster, causing air pockets in the dough that can burst and cause a huge mess.
High-altitude bakers compensate by carefully adjusting the recipes proportions of sugar, fat and flour.
It’s a delicate process that Sebastian Marcu, founder and chief executive officer of Bake In Space, is acutely aware of. During a presentation at American Society of Baking’s BakingTech in February, Marcu promised to “boldly bake where nobody baked before” — in space.
Baking Bread in Space
One of the primary concerns regarding a 1.5-year mission to Mars is the mental health of the astronauts. It’s close quarters with the same people day after day with few options for recreation. Studies have found that a diverse diet with variable foods is a key to mental health for people in extreme situations. Enter baked bread.
Four tons of flour would be required to supply a crew of seven astronauts with fresh-baked rolls each day. But the weight of the bread ingredients isn’t the primary obstacle — it’s how to bake it.
The oven’s exposed surfaces could not exceed 113˚F. The baking process would take around an hour compared to 15 minutes on earth because the dough would need to be placed inside an unheated oven and the bread could not be removed until the oven completely cooled down — which would dry out the bread and result in toasty bread with tons of crumbs, thereby causing a safety hazard.
These are the problems Bake In Space is trying to solve. As Marcu noted at the American Society of Baking’s BakingTech in Chicago, baking bread in space is like rocket science!
About Baker’s Pride
At Baker’s Pride, we provide reliable co-packing and advanced private labeling to help increase our customers’ production capacity and give them the ability to scale their products and distribution without incurring hefty labor and equipment costs.
We invest in our co-packing partners’ success by investing in the latest commercial baking equipment and skilled commercial bakers. Our large freezer space allows us to handle large productions and customized orders with ease—anything from donut holes and rings to delicious sliced packaged breads.
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