The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bakenstein's blog

Bakenstein's picture

Hi all you busy bakers,

I have been struggling for a while with just not getting that beautiful light open airy texture to my doughs. Its come close at time with Pizzas and flatbreads but no cigar yet.

For some reason I just brought up baking breads with someone and they told me about using water that had been purified by reverse osmosis. Never to use just tap water.
Recently I was at my wits end as I always proof the yeast first and saw very little activity after 10 min. everything was done up to par. Threw it out the batch 2x's.
I opened a brand new yeast packet same result. So with that exact packet I retried everything again. This time with distilled water as you can't even trust the source of bottled water from the supermarket these days.


Beautiful foam doubled in the measuring cup ready to go into my awaiting 14 cups of flour for my weekly Pizza Baking Extravaganza. (Seven Pies one stuffed crust)

Everyone including Holiday company announced it was the best I've ever made. Been making Pizzas every Sunday since August.

Its pretty darn hard to get acclaim from East Coast Italians on Pizza as its a regional Heritage and the birthplace of pizza in the US.

Now for that Chicago Metallic Baguette Pan.....


Bakenstein's picture

I finally started to do the little trick of holding back a cup of flour out of the recipe and using it as I knead. The dough has a much better hydration.
I am so used to cooking and baking very rapidly and always trying to organize for speed. Now its time to organize to achieve the bread's best potential. Slowly stepping it up to the next level.
I also decided to hold off on my starter. I want to thoroughly understand yeast breads first from the ground up-literally. Flat breads first.
Maybe somewhere down the road I'll build my Wood Fired Oven....but not too far!

Bakenstein's picture

Well since asking the question about what kind of adjustments are to be made at high altitude I have been researching on the web quite a bit. It is very perplexing, contradictory and fustrating. It is said that 37 states have cities that are over 3000ft. yet there are only a handful of books devoted to the subject. Think also of all those RVers traveling all over the place to multi mountianous regions you have an aweful lot of people who need a sound guide to help them out.

I have come to realize even in general cooking I've already made a bunch of adjustments out of necessity such using a pressure cooker,cutting back on sugar in desserts, buying only better pastas so it doesn't gum up from the extended low boil cooking, lower deep fry temps and more to come.

Some people have made adjustments and have never acheived the type of results they were accustomed to at lower alts. and even moved back to low baking Nirvana. Restuarants in CO. solve their bread and muffin problems by ordering from lower alt. bakeries. Then the brave claim absolutely NO Changes are necessary proceed as per recipe (a few of those were from these here parts in Northern AZ).

Then you have a master baker Susan Gold Purdy who unabashedly admitted to all the utter disaster in New Mexico when she tried to recreate a Chocolate Buttermilk Cake at 7000ft which crashed as it cooled. Those in attendance all encouraged her to seriously consider the vast undertaking of creating a systematic cookbook using 200 of her favorite recipes from all her previous books.

This has been accomplished over course of a number years in real household kitchens at 3000ft, 5000ft, 7000ft, and 10,000ft. Every recipe had to be indivdually ajusted and tweeked to match its sea level counterparts.

As I look at this weekends Baking Extravaganza sitting in my back porch do I really want to turn out another 3- 2lb loaves of Banana Bread that though not too dense have absolutely no dome to talk about? Or alas my Italian Bread attempt with good looking crust but is only a little higher than a Biscotti?

Yes right now there are many of our follow countymen, women, children without parents, some dead and still undiscovered in their ravaged homes who will never again be able to even flip a pancake. As I asked my own beloved should I throw this bread away? The reply I've been nibbling on it really brought it into perspective.

I can purchase "Pie In The Sky" by Susan Purdy in attempt to solve some of my little culinary problems but I better keep my feet on the ground and have LOVE in it or it just isn't worth it.

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