Friday, March 07, 2008

Yeast Bread Recipe: High Altitudes

Behold the fruits of my labor. 7 hours of labor, to be exact.
Rocket science is child's play compared to baking yeast bread at high altitude.

Everything encourages yeast breads to fail at high altitudes. Yup, everything: dry air, thin air, aggressive kneading, water softeners... your apron is probably causing trouble, too. Yeast breads are just that temperamental.

  • The terms 'instant' and 'rapid rise' yeast are relevant to people who live at the bottom of the hill.
    • High altitude baking requires patience.
    • Let yeast percolate slowly in the 'frig for a few hours.
  • Use bread flour vs. all purpose flour and weigh it.
    • Measuring flour in cups as you do liquid screws everything up.
  • Water softeners fiddle with yeast magic, try bottled water. (I use sparkling water since it's always in my 'frig.)
  • Terra cotta planters and terra cotta saucers make great bread pans.
Artisan Bread Recipe

1 pound bread flour (about 3 1/3 cups)
1 teaspoon instant rapid rise yeast
3 teaspoons honey
10 ounces bottled or filtered water
3 teaspoons salt

Create a liquid yeast mixture:
Combine 1/4th of the flour and yeast with all of the honey and water. Refrigerate for a few hours.

Mix the rest of the dry ingredients with the liquid yeast mixture. Let rise for 30 minutes. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes.

Create a humid environment:
Fill your largest casserole dish with hot water, stick it in the oven. Put bread dough on upper oven rack, let rise for about 2 hours.

Knead gently, let dough rest for 15 minutes. Repeat. Give terra cotta pot or saucer a non-stick spray. Let dough rise about 1 hour.

Brush with egg white and water.
Bake @ 400 (F) for about 1 hour.

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