Quickie Yeast Bread

In winter, I bake a lot of bread. Because I have a fabulous track record of failing about 50% of the time.

The upside to this is all the birds who call my garden 'home.' (They get to peck away at my rejects.) Since fewer birds are migrating south these days, they're quite delighted when I screw up.

Dry air messes with my breads. High altitudes do, too. Yeast breads rise much faster at 7,000 feet. When bread dough rises that quickly, the flavor doesn't have adequate time to develop.

Here are two hot tips for tackling high altitude bread baking. And, a breakthrough recipe. I really loved the flavor of this one. So much so that the little birdies will go hungry this week.

High Altitude Bread Tips:
  • Never let your bread dough double in size. Check after 30 minutes and punch it down. If your bread dough is rising like crazy, it's okay to punch it down twice (vs. once at lower altitudes.) 
  • Salt is your friend. Worry about your sodium intake with other recipes. Salt is a yeast retardant and a cook's blessing when it comes to high altitude bread baking.
Light texture. Great crunchy crust.
Quickie Yeast Bread Recipe:
~ Stir 1.5 tablespoons dry yeast into 2 cups of warm water. Let it rest for a few minutes. Until you see some foamy action in the bowl.
~ Add 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 cup light vegetable oil to the yeast/water mixture.
~ Stir in 2 cups of bread flour.
~ Sprinkle flour on your counter top. Rub a bit of cooking oil onto your hands to avoid the stickies.
~ Plop the loose dough onto this floured surface and knead 2 more cups of bread flour into the dough.
* Depending upon your elevation, you might want to add one more cup of flour to this recipe. Judge this by how elastic your dough feels. We don't want the dough to feel stiff.
~ Rub your dough ball with a little bit of oil. Place it back in the bowl, in a warm spot, and check it about 30 minutes. Punch it down.
~ Shape it into 2 loaves. Let it rise again. Bake @ 400 (F) for about 30 minutes.

* Bread flour, which is higher in protein, contains a little bit of barley flour. This helps the yeast work properly and provides a more delicious texture.


Tufa Girl said...

I have been looking for some bread recipes! I will give this a whirl.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Tufa!
Thank you for commenting on my lame cooking blog. :) Let me know how it turns out.

Dustin's Fly Box said...

Great tips! Great blog, you got a new follower! I'm goin to go through it all. I am a culinary student so I hence I love cooking

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

And, the day brightens...

Thanks, Dustin!

Michelle C said...

I love your High Altitude Cooking blog. I wish i would have found this a few years ago. For the last 2.5 years we have lived in CO at an elevation of 8,500 feet. We are from PA and my high altitude baking leaves a lot to be desired. Sadly we are soon moving back to sea level but my baking will be back to normal. Your recipes look and sound amazing.

KGKLove said...

I am so happy I found you! I grew up here in utah but spent almost 9 years in california. In CA I was right at sea level literally. My breads were famous in my group of friends and I refused to buy bread so only fresh bread made it to my table! Now I'm in utah I cannot bake or cook anything for that matter and can't figure out why! Nothing comes out right for me anymore didn't consider altitude would be such an important factor ! My cookies come out worse than my breads though even with high altitude modifications. Can you help with this?

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, KGK;

Bake a test cookie before baking the whole batch. That way, you can adjust ingredients before baking the rest.

Part of the problem may be getting used to our dry desert air. I typically add more moisture to recipes to compensate. But, there is no way for me to give you general directions on that. Take a look at the high altitude adjustments on the blog, that's a good place to start.

And, if all else fails, just go skiing. There are plenty of other bennies to living in Utah. :)

Thanks for stopping by.