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 Post subject: Any advice for breadmaking at altitude?
Post Posted: Jan 27, 2019 12:37 pm 
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I've tried kneading until my arms nearly fall off. I've tried adding wheat gluten. Bread machine or the old-fashion way, makes no difference. Scratch (multiple recipes) or mix, makes no difference.

If I would happen to drop a loaf on my foot, I'd probably have to have the crushed foot amputated - the bread is that dense.

What am I doing wrong????


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 Post subject: Re: Any advice for breadmaking at altitude?
Post Posted: Jan 27, 2019 12:46 pm 
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Is your yeast fresh? Are you dissolving the yeast in warm water prior to adding the flour?

It's better to do two rising prior to forming into the loaf pans as with our lower pressure, the bread rises too quickly, at least for me. Are you doing the two initial rises and the final in a warm place?

Have you tried using a bakers stone (pizza stone)? Even if you are using loaf pans, a stone in the bottom of the oven help distribute the heat.

Are you letting your oven heat up to full temperature prior to putting your loaves in? Starting at a higher temperature (like 425°F) or 500°F for the pre-heating and then lowering the temperature when you put your loaves in will give you a better "spring" (a quick rise initially).

Are you covering your dough with plastic wrap so the top does not dry out too quickly?

I make bread quite often and it always raises quickly and is light, sometimes too light and doesn't cut easily.


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 Post subject: Re: Any advice for breadmaking at altitude?
Post Posted: Jan 27, 2019 12:56 pm 
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I have not tried the two initial risings or the bakers stone or the plastic wrap (I've been using a towel because my Mom did!); the rest of your list I am doing. Let me try at least the two risings with the plastic - that makes sense - thanks! I'll have to get a stone, but I've been thinking about doing that lately anyway. Just haven't gotten around to it.


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 Post subject: Re: Any advice for breadmaking at altitude?
Post Posted: Jan 27, 2019 2:24 pm 
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If you have a machine, I've done the following recipe several times now and have had success.

https://tastykitchen.com/recipes/breads ... -altitude/

Also if using bread machine be sure to add your ingredients in the correct order. I put in the liquids, followed by flour, followed by the rest of the dry with yeast last.

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 Post subject: Re: Any advice for breadmaking at altitude?
Post Posted: Jan 27, 2019 2:44 pm 
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Here are a few ideas.

1. Are you using instant yeast? If so there is no need to dissolve it first. As TB says, make sure it is fresh. I stopped using grocery store yeast decades ago and only use SAF instant from King Arthur Flour (I order online). I get a lb which I keep happily in the freezer for years.

2. When you mix your ingredients make sure the yeast never touches the salt; salt will kill it. If using a bread machine, make a well in the flour, well away from the salt. If using a mixer combine the salt with other dry ingredients and then add yeast.

2a. Are you using a scoop and level method to measure your dry ingredients, using a metal or plastic scoop? Using a glass measure for dry ingredients may get you more volume than the recipe calls for.

3. You may be over-kneading. Working the dough too much will make it very tough. Especially if kneading by hand.

4. You might try working with a slacker dough, meaning a bit more sticky. I often find I need to add a good bit more water than recipes call for because it is so dry here. You don’t want it so sticky that it sticks to your fingers, but just a little tacky.

5. Does your loaf rise, and then fall when baking — either fall entirely or get a sinkhole in the middle of the crown? If so, too much yeast. Cut back by 1/8 — 1/4 tsp till you find the sweet spot.

6. Are you doing basic white bread or wheat/rye/other whole grain breads? These need two kneadings, an initial one to make sure the ingredients are combined (might be shaggy), this may take 3 min but no more. The object is to combine. Then cover with a towel and leave for 10-15 mins for the gluten to develop. Whole grain breads have a higher protein content and it takes time for the gluten to develop; thus the rest. Then second knead for 5-8 mins, check dough consistency and add more water or flour if needed. If water I wet my hands or use a spray mister.

7. Yes, check your oven temp. Also keep an eye on the internal temp of your dough; if you have an instant read thermometer, the temp should be around 190. My stove runs hot so I start checking maybe 10 mins before recipe says done and it is often finished.

A stone is certainly nice to have, but I do think the issue may lie in how you are working your dough. (A confession, I bake 3x a week...) Good luck, you will get there!


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 Post subject: Re: Any advice for breadmaking at altitude?
Post Posted: Jan 28, 2019 8:22 am 
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Alrighty then! Snows falling...don't need to get out... As soon as I'm appropriately caffeinated, I'm baking! I'll let you know!


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 Post subject: Re: Any advice for breadmaking at altitude?
Post Posted: Jan 28, 2019 9:18 am 
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I bake on a regular basis, & have for years, at 8900ft. My key is to ALWAYS proof my yeast. I put it in warmish water with the sugar and let it sit until it's foamy. That time changes with every baking so I just watch. my yeast is Years old but has always been kept in the freezer. I take out the baggie, measure and return it to the freezer. I bought a 10lb bag 25 years ago and it still works. I'm down to the last baggie so it's time to buy more.

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 Post subject: Re: Any advice for breadmaking at altitude?
Post Posted: Jan 28, 2019 9:32 am 
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My mom sent me this book a few years ago and it's the best book ever about baking at altitude! It's solved all my elevation related baking issues with yeast breads, quick breads, etc. "Pie in the Sky Successful Baking at High Altitudes" - by Susan G Purdy. https://www.amazon.com/Pie-Successful-B ... 0060522585


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 Post subject: Re: Any advice for breadmaking at altitude?
Post Posted: Jan 29, 2019 6:12 pm 
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Well, I'm a day late due to snow removal, but I wanted to report back.

:wiggle: :multi: :hugegrin: :birthday smile: :dancing: :animated laughing:

I FINALLY GOT A DECENT LOAF OF WHEAT BREAD!!!!!

I did three things differently based upon your advice: I didn't knead the dough quite a much, I let it rise twice, and I made sure the dough was in a warmer place while it was rising. On the third point, our kitchen is on the north side of the house and tends to be cool, particularly this time of year. While I was making the bread, I also put together a batch of oatmeal cookies. I put those in the oven and set the rising bread dough on the stovetop where it could catch some extra warmth from the oven being on.

The bread turned out exactly how I wanted it to be - nice crust on the outside but not too tough, and the bread itself is every bit as soft as what I could get at the grocery store!

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR ADVICE!!!

(and I ordered some instant yeast today!)


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 Post subject: Re: Any advice for breadmaking at altitude?
Post Posted: Jan 30, 2019 10:42 am 
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Yay! So glad you were successful. It took me ages to get things right, but the more you bake the more instinctive it becomes. Have fun!


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 Post subject: Re: Any advice for breadmaking at altitude?
Post Posted: Jan 30, 2019 10:57 am 
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Good on you, cydl. Homemade bread tastes so good, I hope you have continued, and even better, success with your future breadmaking.


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 Post subject: Re: Any advice for breadmaking at altitude?
Post Posted: Jan 30, 2019 11:26 am 
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...and bonus!! I'll just have to bake some cookies or brownies or something to warm that stovetop so the bread will rise! :whistle:


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