But never fear! High altitude baking can be done. I've been using this homemade bread recipe for months now, and it just keeps getting better.
The recipe yields two loaves of whole-wheat bread that rest between sandwich-grade fluffy and moistly dense. For those of you at sea-level, I'll include some alternate ingredient measurements.
~ 4 teaspoons fast rising yeast or 1 package active dry yeast
~ 3/4 cup warm water
~ 2 Tbsp honey
~ 2 cups warm water / whey
~ 4-6 cups whole wheat flour
~ 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
~ 1 tablespoon salt
~ 1/3 cup honey (1/2 c. for sea-level)
~ 1/4 cup olive oil
+ extra goodies: pepper, cheese, garlic, herbs, etc. (optional)
~ large mixing bowl
~ measuring spoons & cups
~ stirring tool (fork, spoon, stick, whatever)
~ chopping block or other kneading surface
~ kitchen knife (optional, to chop goodies)
~ 2 cloths to cover rising dough
~ baking pans
~ 4 hours
+ good company, if only yourself
+ good music
+ homemade margarita (optional)
In your mixing bowl combine the yeast, 3/4 cup ~100 degree (F) water, and 2 Tbsp of honey. Stir 'til fully mixed.
But... since this is high altitude and we need all the help we can get: add 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten and mix well. This is actually optional, whether you're at sea level or altitude - but it will give you a fluffier, more sandwich-like loaf.
Now start adding flour in 1/2 - 1 cup portions. Fully mix in the flour before adding more. Here's where your concoction moves from liquid to dough-like.
The second knead is important, for reasons I still don't fully understand. But it is, and apparently makes the bread rise higher, so divide your loaf in two and knead in the various optional goodies.
Form your loaves into, well, loaves - flatten each piece out to a rectangle about the size of the pan then roll it up tight and pinch the seams together, tucking the ends underneath. Grease pans with butter (& cornmeal, if on a shallow sheet). Put your loaves in the buttered pans, seam side down.
Time for the second rise. Cover your formed loaves with a dish cloth and let sit (in a warm place!) for 20-45 minutes, or until 1.5-2x larger.
This is a good time to preheat your oven to 375 F - the heat will make the loaves rise faster.
Once your loaves have risen, bake them in the oven for 25-35 minutes. About 10 minutes before they're done, rub some butter on top to give the bread a golden, delicious finish.
Check done-ness with a knife: Insert a clean knife, and if it comes out pretty darn clean, you're good to go. If it has all sorts of dough goop stuck to it, keep it in the oven for another few minutes and check again.
How did this recipe work for you at altitude? How about at sea-level? What sort of goodies do you like to add to your bread?
You might like:
- Kombucha: Brew Your Own 'Booch
- Windowsill Arugula
- Herbal Sleep Aid Tea
- Cloth Menstrual Pads - DIY
This post shared at Sunday School, Seasonal Celebration Sunday, Monday Mania, Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Homestead Barn Hop, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Wildcrafting Wednesday and Fight Back Friday!