High altitude toffee

I've lived my whole life at sea level but recently moved to 4,500 feet. I made my traditional English toffee today and it was a big flop. It never got dark brown but instead foamed up and turned sugary. Can anyone tell me how to adjust for my altitude? Thanks. It's so frustrating to feel like a beginning cook again.

  • Posted by: Teresa
  • December 10, 2014


Inko December 11, 2014
I had the same problem at low altitude. Frustrating! A waste of time and butter! I've also made toffee successfully for many years. I was cooking on an induction range with using an all clad pan. I cooked it again using a small lecreuset cast iron pot and it worked.
Teresa December 11, 2014
Thanks very much for your suggestions. I guess that after 40 years of baking I'm going to have to relearn some skills to compensate for the altitude change between California and Utah.
KarynLN November 7, 2022
I realize this was 8 years ago, but I *just* moved to Utah from San Diego and *just* tried making toffee after doing it for 30 years the same and wasted three batches. I'm in Ogden, which I suspect is near where you are. Did you ever get it to work?
Dona December 11, 2014
I don't have high altitude situation, but this blog explains it.
boulangere December 11, 2014
Well, now that you're living at 4500 feet, I'd suggest that now is the time to get out your thermometer. It will lend you more consistent results than eyeballing it. Where do you live, by the way?
Teresa December 11, 2014
Yes, it crystallized but not until it had been boiling quite a while. It just never got brown like it's supposed to; I've never used a thermometer when making this, I just eyeball it and take it off when it gets to be the right color, but that never happened today. Weird.
boulangere December 10, 2014
It sounds as though it crystallized, which doesn't necessarily have anything to do with altitude. To prevent crystallization, you can either place a tight-fitting lid on your pot until after the mixture comes to a boil, which causes steam to build up and effectively wash down the sides of the pot, or you can carefully wash down the sides with a brush and water, but only until a boil is reached. The principal difference that you will notice with altitude is that your toffee will take a bit longer to reach temperature because water boils a 1 degree lower for every 500 feet of elevation beginning at 1000 feet.
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