The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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.

Floydm's picture

last night's pizza

Tomatoes? From the garden.
Basil? From the garden too.
Garlic? Yeah, I grew that in the garden as well.
Cheese? Milked my own cow Ok, I bought that. But it turned out wonderful.

Altaf's picture

Finaly arrived.... The bread baker's apprentice at my hands :-D. It looks very informative &the beautiful illustrations make me want to bake.

I have to dedicate my time in the coming days for reading this amazing book.

Floydm's picture

Two baking experiments yesterday. One was a big success, the other a total failure.

The first experiment was tweaking the banana bread recipe. I made two small changes (added a 1/2 a cup of whole wheat flour and a cup of vanilla yogurt) and it was *sooo* good. I want to try it one more time to verify my measurements and then I'll post a recipe and pics.

The other experiment was to make the baked potato bread and leave the dough extremely slack. I didn't even stretch it to build up surface tension or anything. It probably would have been fine if I'd baked it in a loaf pan, but on the baking stone it just splayed out not unlike a biscuit.

I didn't really do this experiment on purpose, I just had a very busy day. I wanted to bake something but didn't have the energy to do it right. I figured I was taking a chance but it was worth a shot. I can live with one out of two being successful!

Floydm's picture

I made croissants in honor of Bastille Day today. They actually turned out OK, better than I expected.

I'll try to post the recipe in the next day or two. Too tired tonight.

Altaf's picture

I always had a fear towords making a preferments (in other words: starter, levain ,biga, poolish....etc). Why?...not sure, may be from the stories i hear about other people experiments or the long description written in professional bakers books.

well, yesterday night i decided to stop thoes annoying night mares. So i opened one of my cooking magazines which had a recipe of rye bread with a good amount of illustrations for a begginer like me. The recipe requires two starters : one made with fine ground rye flour and the other made with wheat flour (un bleached bread flour).

And Since the recipe demands leaving the starters in a room tempreture for 12 houres and up to 20 houres, i made both the starters at 21:00 july 12th. (Here comes the exciting part): :lol:

I waked up this morning july 13th, got dressed then went to take a quick glance at my starters(8:00) before going to work. And.... i found out that the rye starter had exploded :-o :-o :-o. I had to clean up the mess, and i put the both starters inside the fridge just for a precaution. Of course i was late to work

well this is the first disaster. I'll continue the rest of the story with some picutres......End of part one.

july 13th 3:00, Part Two:
I took the starters out from the fridge as you can see them below.....and left them at room tempreture

the rye starter on the right side and what left of it after the explotion. The white starter on the left is doing well.

The author said it`s better to knead the dough without flouring the work sufrace:-o .I followed the recipe steps carfully and another disaster happened, The dough was very very very stickey i could'nt work with. So i tried to solve this embarrssing sitiuation (while my sisters where watching me) by oiling the work surface, but it was sticky, then i floured the work surface a lot...still the dough had a bad behavior.

After one hour of wrestling, i decided to declare the dough's death.

End of the story. Comments from experts are most welcome.

Altaf's picture

I was in a short trip to Geneva. A lot of Nice breads.

Floydm's picture

I was preparing my my French bread article yesterday and I wondered whether it was un-American to bake French bread on 4th of July. Maybe I need to call it Freedom Bread, like the Freedom Fries they serve in the congressional cafeteria.

:-D (I'm joking, I assure you).

SourdoLady's picture

I bake a lot of sourdough bread. Over the past several months I have been trying a lot of new techniques and trying to perfect the quality of my loaves. The recipe below is how I am currently making my white bread. Next year I may have a whole different approach, as I am constantly learning and trying new things.

Deluxe Sourdough Bread

1 1/4 cups proofed starter
1 cup water
3 T. dry powdered milk
1 T. lemon juice
1/4 cup instant potato flakes
3 3/4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2 T. sugar
3 T. butter or margarine
2 tsp. salt

Combine the first 5 ingredients. Mix in the flour just until the mixture is a shaggy mass. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes. Add sugar, butter, and salt and mix until all is incorporated. Knead dough until it is smooth and satiny.

Cover and let dough rest for 45 minutes. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Pat each dough portion out into a large, flat circle. Gently stretch and fold the left side over the middle, then the right side over the middle (like folding a letter). Pat down with the palms of hands and repeat the folding with the remaining two unfolded ends. Shape loaves, always keeping the folded side as the bottom. I do free-form oval loaves and place them on parchment paper.

Spray the loaves with Pam and cover with plastic. Place in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, take loaves out and let them finish rising at room temperature. They should be very light. Do not rush it or your bread will be dense.

While bread is rising, preheat oven and stone to 400� F. I also place a shallow pan of hot water on the bottom rack for steam.

When bread is fully risen, slash top and slide onto hot stone. If you don't have a stone, just bake on a baking sheet. After 10 minutes, turn the oven heat down to 375� F. When loaves start to show color, water pan can be removed. Bake until loaves are a nice golden brown. Time will vary according to the shape and size of loaf.

Cool on a wire rack. You can brush crust with butter while still hot if you like a soft crust.

The small addtion of white whole wheat flour that I use in this bread gives it an interesting depth of flavor that I like. It does not change the color of the bread. I don't know if white whole wheat flour is easily available just anywhere. I am fortunate to live in an area where wheat is grown and milled so I have easy access to various flours.

Floydm's picture

I'm pooped. Busy weekend, but I did manage to do a fair amount of baking: a couple of french bread loaves with "stuff" in them (one seeded, the other with blue cheese and walnuts) as well as chocolate chip raspberry muffins. I'll try to post both recipes this week.

Tonight I tried making Zurek, a Polish soup that uses a rye sourdough starter as its base. It can be a wonderful soup, but I didn't quite get it right. It was edible, just not very good. I will try it again though.

Next time I think I need to let the starter age another couple of days: I gave it 4 days, but I don't think that was enough. I ended up adding some additional vinegar and lemon juice to give it a little more bite.

I also need to use better kelbasa. the Hillshire Farms sausage that was on sale at the grocery store was truly awful. Frankly, the store brand kelbasa is pretty decent, but it may be worth visiting one of the local Russian markets to find something more authentic. Well, semi-authentic: I don't mind keeping the higher food safety standards that we have even though it may not be the "authentic" Eastern Europe experience.


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