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Thread: Making bread in a high altitude area

  1. #1
    Super Member Chasing Hawk's Avatar
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    Making bread in a high altitude area

    Any tips?

    We live at 4200 ft and home made bread comes out dense. It tastes good but its dense with a nice brown crust. I use the freshest yeast I can get my hands on, unbleached bread flour (Bob's Red Mill brand) and the other usual ingredients.

    Last attempt was french bread, one loaf you could have knocked out someone if you threw it at them.......lol The second one was a tad bit better but not by much.

    I can cook just about anything, bake pies, cookies, banana bread, biscuits but bread-making eludes me.

    Any suggestions or tips would be so appreciated.
    Everyone is born right handed, only the gifted overcome it.
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    “If you can’t see a mistake from 12 feet away, it doesn’t exist, and there are no perfect quilts and that helps a lot,” .......Greg Biornstad

  2. #2
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    Hummmm?? I live at approximately the same altitude in Colorado. I have no problems. Do you let the bread dough raise twice? Are you using fast rising yeast? That is the only two things I can think of. I keep my yeast in the frig.

  3. #3
    Super Member Battle Axe's Avatar
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    You could tile the driveway with some of my baking. For baking powder biscuits, too much stirring is the problem. Lumpy batter is a good thing. They say the gluten is too far developed if you keep stirring. How about using extra yeast, watch raising temps, humidity.....find a good bakery.

  4. #4
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    I have always lived at high altitude. Right now we live at 8500 ft in the mountains. I have made lots of bread. I always use dry yeast that I buy by the pound and store it in the refrigerator. I increase the amount I use, use as warm as possible liquid (don'[t want to kill the yeast) and raise it as quickly as possible. I let it more than double before punching it down and shaping it. Again, I let it more than double. Bake at the highest temperature recommended. Be sure that your room temperature for the rising period is warm enough so the yeast multiplies quickly. I have put proofing bread dough in a slightly warm oven when necessary. Maybe some of this will be helpful to you.

  5. #5
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    I raise dough in the oven with just the light on and it always gives me great rise results. Yesterday did my pizza dough in there.
    Sorry to hear of your bad results keep us posted if you find an answer.

  6. #6
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    Google "Utah Extension +Bread Making". They have a no-fail recipe and great tips. Another tip I have found useful (I live in an area of about 5000 feet) is to add additional gluten. Check the package for recommendations as to how much to use. If you live in a dry area (like I do) you may need to add additional liquid. My sister taught me a tip that works, also. She uses a wire whisk to stir up the flour in the container before measuring it out. Serves the same purpose as the old flour sifter. And for very best results, use bread flour. It does make a difference.

  7. #7
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    my husband used to make bread in the bread machine his dtr gave him. always lovely.. recipes came with it.then he started doing his own thing and they came out too dense for me. not sure why.

  8. #8
    Super Member Chasing Hawk's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the amazing tips and suggestions.

    It must be the yeast, I am going to try and make some bread this week. Adding extra yeast and sifting the bread flour and rising it twice. Hopefully it will be soft and airy and won't be used as a wheel chock....lol
    Last edited by Chasing Hawk; 12-24-2017 at 11:49 AM.
    Everyone is born right handed, only the gifted overcome it.
    I have already committed my felonies, so people don't have to worry. (Russell Means)
    I swear to you, I am guilty of only being Indian. That's why I am here. (Leonard Peltier)
    “If you can’t see a mistake from 12 feet away, it doesn’t exist, and there are no perfect quilts and that helps a lot,” .......Greg Biornstad

  9. #9
    Super Member Chasing Hawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Battle Axe View Post
    You could tile the driveway with some of my baking. For baking powder biscuits, too much stirring is the problem. Lumpy batter is a good thing. They say the gluten is too far developed if you keep stirring. How about using extra yeast, watch raising temps, humidity.....find a good bakery.
    I use my stand mixer to make my biscuit dough, then turn out onto a floured surface flatten the dough and cut. Since starting this my biscuits are so fluffy and raise to almost 2 1/2 inches tall.
    Everyone is born right handed, only the gifted overcome it.
    I have already committed my felonies, so people don't have to worry. (Russell Means)
    I swear to you, I am guilty of only being Indian. That's why I am here. (Leonard Peltier)
    “If you can’t see a mistake from 12 feet away, it doesn’t exist, and there are no perfect quilts and that helps a lot,” .......Greg Biornstad

  10. #10
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    Are you using the freshest yeast? Maybe it needs a little boost during the first fermentation. Try adding a teaspoon of sugar to the yeast/warm water solution. Don't proceed any further until you see that the yeast is bubbly and expanded.

    I don't use packaged yeast anymore because it is not always that fresh and because I'm cheap. I made my own starter and it has been living happily in my fridge for about 6 years now. I KNOW it's fresh. I use it and refeed it about once a week. I've found that making bread over a two day process works for me. Don't rush it. Allow the yeast to multiply in the sponge and dough before you move on to the next step.

    ~ C

    ~ C

  11. #11
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    I'm not an expert on high altitude baking, but I can tell you some about bread. Use the least amount of flour necessary to get a smooth dough. too much flour will make the bread tough. knead it well, enough to form a gluten window when you stretch out a piece of dough. Good yeast of course is important, also be careful with adding the salt, it can kill your yeast

  12. #12
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    You can add gluten or some potato flour. That helps some.
    Barb

  13. #13
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    Before I start making bread, I turn my oven on for one minute and immediately turn it off. When I'm done kneading the bread, I check the oven's temperature...I like it around 80-90 degrees, and let the dough rise in there. Some of these newer ovens will heat up very fast, so the 1 minute warm-up may make the oven too warm so be sure to check it.
    Penny

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