Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
kellycolorado

high altitude breadbaking problems

Recommended Posts

It's very timely that your Q&A is this week. I just "re-found" my copy of Bread Upon the Waters yesterday to start getting serious about breadmaking. I really love your analogy of bread development and spiritual journey and have reread it several times, learning something new each time. But now it's time for more hands on work...

I took a wonderful course you offered at Sur La Table back in 2000, then soon after moved to Colorado and the SF Bay area, now living in both places. In CO (alt. 6,000 ft) I had really bad luck at making any bread other than pizza dough, especially multigrain breads, and basically gave up.

I started by reducing the yeast and salt in my doughs by about 1/4 to 1/3, resulting in a dense loaf. Using the normal amount of yeast caused the bread to overrise and fall and become concave. Do you (or anyone else) have any suggestions or tricks for high altitude baking?

regards, Kelly


Edited by kellycolorado (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's very timely that your Q&A is this week. I just "re-found" my copy of Bread Upon the Waters yesterday to start getting serious about breadmaking.  I really love your analogy of bread development and spiritual journey and have reread it several times, learning something new each time. But now it's time for more hands on work...

I took a wonderful course you offered at Sur La Table back in 2000, then soon after moved to Colorado and the SF Bay area, now living in both places. In CO (alt. 6,000 ft) I had really bad luck at making any bread other than pizza dough, especially multigrain breads, and basically gave up.

I started by reducing the yeast and salt in my doughs by about 1/4 to 1/3, resulting in a dense loaf.  Using the normal amount of yeast caused the bread to overrise and fall and become concave.  Do you (or anyone else) have any suggestions or tricks for high altitude baking? 

regards, Kelly

I agree, you have to reduce the yeast by anywhere from 25-50%, depending on how high you are. Same with baking powder. Salt should stay the same. Baking temperature--well I lower the temperature by about 1 degree per hundred feet above sea level, but not everyone does this. It partly depends on your oven. Also, you may need a little more water in your dough the higher you go, but let the dough dictate that as you mix.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[Peter Reinhart,Oct 5 2004, 05:20 PM]

I agree, you have to reduce the yeast by anywhere from 25-50%, depending on how high you are. Same with baking powder. Salt should stay the same. Baking temperature--well I lower the temperature by about 1 degree per hundred feet above sea level, but not everyone does this. It partly depends on your oven. Also, you may need a little more water in your dough the higher you go, but let the dough dictate that as you mix.

_______________

Dear Peter,

I am at 6500 ft. I have not been reducing the yeast as much as you suggest, but rather giving the dough two or three rises. Would your technique result in a much different loaf?

Why do you suggest lowering the temperature when water boils at a lower temperature the higher you go?

I have been baking my bread at about 25 degrees higher temperature than specified in the recipes, which is why I am curious about your technique.

You are spot on about the water --- I always need to add quite a lot more since flour at high altitude gets very dry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[Peter Reinhart,Oct 5 2004, 05:20 PM]

I agree, you have to reduce the yeast by anywhere from 25-50%, depending on how high you are. Same with baking powder. Salt should stay the same. Baking temperature--well I lower the temperature by about 1 degree per hundred feet above sea level, but not everyone does this. It partly depends on your oven. Also, you may need a little more water in your dough the higher you go, but let the dough dictate that as you mix.

_______________

Dear Peter,

I am at 6500 ft. I have not been reducing the yeast as much as you suggest, but rather giving the dough two or three rises. Would your technique result in a much different loaf?

Why do you suggest lowering the temperature when water boils at a lower temperature the higher you go?

I have been baking my bread at about 25 degrees higher temperature than specified in the recipes, which is why I am curious about your technique.

You are spot on about the water --- I always need to add quite a lot more since flour at high altitude gets very dry.

  Well, everyone seems to have a way that works for them and I'm not an expert on altitude baking. The problem with extra rises is that you're eating up lots of sugar and making lots of alcohol, which could be robbing your loaves of sweetness and giving a yeasty aftertaste (but it depends on the type of bread and how much yeast you're using). If it works as you're doing it, though, keep doing it, or give my suggestions a try and see what method delivers the best flavor. The only true rule is: Flavor rules!  As for temperature, it is because water boils at a lower temp. that I tend to use lower temperatures--everything just seems to happen so much faster in altitude. However, refer to the Flavor Rule above and whatever works best--stick with it.

  Does anyone else have experience in this area?

   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I noticed that more liquid was needed because of the dry climate as well. Also, if I didn't reduce my yeast enough, the bread would overrise and collapse very easily. I look forward to trying both of your suggestions when we move back next year. I haven't tried experimenting with temperatures yet either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Peter,

Greetings from Mitch at theJ & W Providence campus. In regards to the high altitude baking, I baked for a number of years at 6,000 feet. I made no changes to the formulations, but I did control the dough temperature -- I maintained a temperature of 73 to 75 degrees when processing artisanal bread. I learned pan breads at an altutude of 7,000 feet from an old time, Dunwoody educated baker, and we never adjusted the recipes there either. I have used the same formulations of both types of bread at sea level without modification for over 20 years. I think that the main thing, as you have indicated in your writing, is to be in touch with your doughs; know them and monitor them, which is another benefit of the stretch and fold not previously mentioned -- it allows you to check in on how things are going. We miss you in Providence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi Peter,

Greetings from  Mitch at theJ &  W Providence campus.  In regards to the high altitude baking, I baked for a number of years at 6,000 feet.  I made no changes to the formulations, but I did control the dough temperature -- I maintained a temperature of 73 to 75 degrees when processing artisanal bread.  I learned pan breads at an altutude of 7,000 feet from an old time, Dunwoody educated baker, and we never adjusted the recipes there either.  I have used the same formulations of both types of bread at sea level without modification for over 20 years.  I think that the main thing, as you have indicated in your writing, is to be in touch with your doughs; know them and monitor them, which is another benefit of the stretch and fold not previously mentioned -- it allows you to check in on how things are going.  We miss you in Providence.

Mitch, are you Boulak? Folks, you can count on any of Mitch/Boulak's info--he's a great baker and teacher! Thanks for chiming in. I'll see you when I get back to the Providence campus in the spring. And by the way, please give my congratulations to Chefs Ciril Hitz and Sadruddin Abdoulah, (two other talented J&W faculty) for recently winning the Grand Prize Best in Show (and $50,000!!!) at the first ever National Bread and Pastry Team Championship. As you can see, I'm quite proud of my colleagues--I think we've assembled an amazing array of talent at all our campuses and I feel honored just having the chance to watch them work and learn from them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greetings Peter,

Yes, I am Boulak. I was in AC with the boys. It was great. We all miss you here and look forward to your next visit with great anticipation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your suggestions Mitch/Boulak. I've never tried a recipe without modifications! I look forward to trying when we return to Colorado.

If anyone else has high altitude success from these suggestions, please post your results. thanks, Kelly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By flippant
      I've had the CSO for a number of years now, but have yet to actually bake bread in it.
       
      Reading through the Modernist Bread thread on this forum I see many of you are using the CSO to great effect, which is heartening.
       
      To that end, I would like to know about your experience baking bread in it – what sort of extra equipment you use (pans, cast iron? etc), what breads work the best, any corrections you find yourself making, or anything you feel might be useful to someone else using the CSO.
       
      Thank you!
       
       
    • By trfl
      Dear fellow bakers,
      We have been baking no-knead bread at home for several years and as a family of scientists and engineers, we consistently tried to make it even more easier and convenient. 
      We liked what we ended up with so much that, I decided to start a small company (based in Eindhoven, Netherlands) to make a new bread kit product out of it.
       
      I am seeking your help to know your opinion of the product and how the story is told.
       
      LoafNest is an improvement on no-knead Dutch oven bread making. We took perforated silicone liner designed for professional bread baking and put it into a uniquely designed cast iron casserole. With this improvement, there is no need for shaping or second raising of the bread. You just mix, let the dough raise, pre-heat, pour the dough, bake and done!
       
      So, LoafNest is a no-knead, no-mess, no-cleanup solution for convenient and practical bread making.
       
      The perforated silicone liner is from the same company that makes Silpat mats. Our liner is a more advanced version with perforations that allow radiative, conductive and convective heat to all sides of the bread. It is also rated to a higher temperature (260C/500F)
       
      With less than 5 minutes of active work that can fit into a busy schedule, we hope to reduce the entry barrier for people who are willing to make bread. Our primary targets are people who buy expensive premium bread but want to make their own premium bread at home or people who use bread machines and want to eat better bread.
       
      While it is not a primary target, we also believe this is a nice solution for experienced bakers who want to use a high-humidity, high thermal mass baking environment.
       
      You can find the details and more images on http://trfl.nl/LoafNest  [still a little bit work in progress] and http://trfl.nl/loafnest-gallery 
      What are your impressions of the product? Visually and functionally? What are your thoughts on how the story is told? Any improvement to resonate better with people who are thinking of starting to bake their own bread? Any thoughts on pricing? I would be grateful to your feedback and suggestions.
       
      I am sure, in the end, we all want more people to eat better and healthier bread. So please support me in this endeavor. 
       


    • By Chris Hennes
      Of the many zillions of inclusions they discuss in Modernist Bread, one that I'd honestly never considered was sprouted grains. Apparently I'm out of touch with the "health food" movement! Have any of you made bread with sprouted grains? Can you describe the flavor difference between sprouted versus just soaked? Right now I'm sprouting some rye, but I'm curious about what to expect from the finished product.
    • By KennethT
      Is there a discussion in the book about the purpose of adding ascorbic acid?  I just saw the contest #2 in which the recipe called for it.  I'm curious because a woman I know on the internet used to work in a bakery in Vietnam, and said that to get similar results to the banh mi there, you need to add ascorbic acid.  Does it act as a gluten relaxer?  Traditional banh mi have a very tender and crisp crust, and a very light and tender, relatively closed crumb.
    • By Kasia
      A SANDWICH TO GO
       
      Today I would like to share with you the recipe for a snack which you can grab and eat "on the go". I know that it is unhealthy. We should celebrate eating and eat calmly and with deliberation. However, sometimes the day is too short for everything on our schedule and we still have to eat. Admittedly, we can sin and go for some fast food, but it is healthier and tastier to prepare something quickly in our own kitchen.

      Today, Camembert cheese and cranberries in a fresh, crunchy roll take the lead role. It sounds easy and yummy, doesn't it? Try it and get on with your day . Today I used a homemade cranberry preserve which was left over from dessert, but if you like you can buy your own.

      Ingredients:
      2 fresh rolls (your favourite ones)
      150g of camembert cheese
      1 handful of lettuce
      2 teaspoons of butter
      2 teaspoons of pine nuts or sunflower seeds
      preserve
      100g of fresh cranberries
      3 tablespoons of brown sugar
      100ml of apple juice

      Wash the cranberries. Put the cranberries, sugar and apple juice into a pan with a heavy bottom and boil with the lid on for 10-12 minutes, stirring from time to time. Try it and if necessary add some sugar. Leave to cool down. Cut the rolls in half and spread with the butter. Put some lettuce on one half of the roll. Slice the camembert cheese and arrange it on the lettuce. Put a fair portion of the cranberry preserve on top of the cheese. Sprinkle with the roast pine nuts or sunflower seeds and cover with the second half of the roll.

      Enjoy your meal!

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×