DENVER (KDVR) — Denver is known as the Mile High City for a reason: it sits at an elevation of 5,280 feet — one mile — above sea level.

While Denver’s elevation has nothing on some of the mountain towns west of it, residents still have to keep it in mind in their everyday lives.

This includes cooking and baking. What works in a kitchen in Los Angeles — situated at just over 300 feet above sea level — won’t work in Lakewood, and vice versa.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, most cookbooks consider anything 3,000 feet above sea level and higher “high altitude.”

Given the Denver metro sits at least 2,000 feet above that, there are some issues from the high altitude that might come into play when you’re searing a steak or baking banana bread.

How does it affect cooking?

According to the USDA, the higher the elevation, the lower the atmospheric pressure.

One way this impacts food preparation is by making water evaporate faster and boil at a lower temperature.

For example, at sea level, water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. At Denver’s elevation of 5,280, water boils at a little over 202 degrees. This lower boiling temperature makes your water boil faster.

However, this won’t save you time cooking your favorite pasta. In fact, because the water is boiling at a lower temperature, you have to cook it for longer than you would if you were at sea level.

Turning up the heat won’t help speed things up, either, because water can’t go past its own boiling point. This means that 202 degrees — or below if you live at an even higher elevation — is as hot as water will get here.

If you do turn the heat up anyway, the water will boil away and may dry out your food faster.

On the contrary, cooking foods in the microwave could take less time than at lower elevations because of the faster evaporation of water.

This doesn’t include meat, poultry, pasta or rice. According to the USDA, you should microwave these items for the maximum cooking time.

How does altitude impact baking?

According to a guide by Food Smart Colorado, a collection by Colorado State University, the most pronounced effect of high altitude is how long it takes to rise bread.

The higher the altitude, the less time bread takes to rise. This can interfere with flavor development, CSU said, meaning less yeast can be used or dough can be punched down so it can rise a second time.

There are a few ways to tweak cookie recipes to give you better results, such as slightly increasing baking temperature and slightly increasing the liquid ingredients and flour, among other things.

Most boxed cake mixes have high altitude suggestions on them and typically call you to add all-purpose flour and liquid to them. This is to strengthen the cell walls of the cake mixture.