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Changes for High-Altitude Baking

October 15, 1987|JOAN DRAKE | Times Staff Writer

Question: A few months ago you printed a recipe for Herbed Onion Bread, which called for six cups of buttermilk baking mix. I would appreciate your telling me how to adapt this recipe to high-altitude baking. I live in Lake Arrowhead at an altitude of 5,000 feet. I know how to adapt a recipe containing flour and baking powder, but not one containing the baking mix.

Answer: Using suggestions from General Mills, manufacturers of Bisquick buttermilk baking mix, we adapted the recipe, tested it in Lake Arrowhead and achieved excellent results.

HERBED ONION BREAD (High-Altitude Adjustment)

Butter or margarine

3 cups finely chopped onions

5 cups buttermilk baking mix

1 cup flour

2 eggs

2 cups milk

2 teaspoons minced fresh basil

2 teaspoon minced fresh dill weed

Melt 1/4 cup butter in skillet and saute onions until tender. Combine in large bowl with baking mix, flour, eggs, milk, basil and dill weed, mixing just until blended. Spoon into greased 9 1/2-inch round baking dish (2 inches deep). Bake at 400 degrees 60 to 70 minutes. Brush top with butter. Makes 1 loaf, about 8 servings.

And for those who missed it, here is the original recipe:

HERBED ONION BREAD (Original Recipe)

Butter or margarine

3 cups finely chopped onions

6 cups buttermilk baking mix

2 eggs

2 cups milk

2 teaspoons minced fresh basil

2 teaspoons minced fresh dill weed

Melt 1/4 cup butter in skillet and saute onions until tender. Combine in large bowl, with baking mix, eggs, milk, basil and dill weed, mixing just until blended. Spoon into greased 9-inch round pan (2 inches deep). Bake at 375 degrees 60 to 70 minutes. Brush top with butter. Makes 1 loaf, about 8 servings.

Q: I have a large oregano plant in my garden. I would like to know the best time to cut and dry the leaves for my spice cabinet. It is practically in blossom now.

A: According to "How to Grow Herbs" (Lane Publishing: 1972), "Although herbs may be cut and used fresh at almost any time, the main harvest of leaves and seeds for preserving comes during the blooming period. Herbs tend to lose some of their flavor during the drying process. The best time to harvest them for drying is when the flowers first open. It is then that the oils which give each herb its distinctive flavor and aroma (held in tiny glands in the leaves) become most concentrated. The only exceptions are: hyssop, lavender, rosemary and thyme--cut them when the blooms are fullest; and sage--harvest it when the buds first appear." All the sources we checked recommend gathering the herb leaves in the morning before the sun has warmed them but after any dew has dried.

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