High alt bread coming out a little dense

Discussion in 'Bread' started by balsum, May 16, 2019.

  1. balsum

    balsum New Member

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    I've been trying to learn how to make bread. it doesn't help that I'm at 9000'. I read some book, watched some videos, talk to some chef friends and basically, I've learned that it's mostly about experimentation. I found a 5 ingredient bread recipe and started adjusting.

    the base recipe is:
    3 cups of bread flour,
    1.5 tsp Salt
    2 tbsp sugar
    2.75 tsp Yeast
    1 cup of hot water.


    from my understanding of the effect of elevation and beaking I made the following adjustments

    3 cups of bread flour, add 3 tsb's
    1.5 tsp Salt
    2 tbsp sugar - subtract 10% - 12%
    2.75 tsp Yeast - subtract 20% - 25%
    1 cup of hot water. add 6%

    I tired small variations of all and so far have had similar results.

    what am I missing?
     
    balsum, May 16, 2019
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  2. balsum

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    You cannot use volume measurement to make adjustments that are based on weight.

    Volume measurement is the incorrect way to bake since all recipes are actually based on baker’s percentages. Bakers percentages is a system in which we express the ratios of each ingredient by weight. So when we talk about changing a percentage of yeast, or percentage of water were are in fact using baker’s percentages.

    But the problem is you cannot actually make those adjustments with measuring cups and teaspoons. You must know the weight of all your ingredients.

    Assuming the recipe developer spooned the flour into the measuring cup and level it off this would be the approximate weight of the ingredients in the original recipe. Do you want to calculate your percentages based on the weight.

    360g bread flour
    8.5g salt
    25g sugar
    9.625g yeast
    236ml hot water.

    You didn’t mention oven temperature. At 9000 feet you may have to kick up your oven temperature. Again it’s about experimenting. I would preheat your oven 25°F above the stated temperature on your recipe for a good 35 to 40 minutes before you put the bread in the oven. This will ensure your oven chamber is this will ensure your oven chamber is fully heated and hotter than Then as soon as you put the bread in the oven lower the temperature to about 10° above the temperature is stated in the recipe. Never bake by the time no matter what altitude you’re at. Baked by internal temperature bread is done at an internal temperature 190°F. Enriched doughs Like brioche 200° - 205°F.


    Also drop your oven rack one wrong down from the middle you don’t want to go to close to the oven floor but just take it down one rung.

    Kind of just thinking out loud... The reason for adding extra liquid is at higher altitude you get more of a drying affect. Bread flour is a higher protein which makes it absorb more liquid. So even though you’re adding more liquid that higher protein is canceling out that extra water. So maybe pull back on the flour a little bit. Maybe take out about 25 g which would be but maybe the equivalent of 3 tablespoons of flour.

    During the second rise you might want to place the loaf pan in your microwave or other enclosed space with a very small cup of hot water to provide some humidity to keep the dough moist. Or you could cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. If you do cover it with plastic wrap you’ll just need to take it off before the dough reaches the top of the pan.

    A food scientist by the name of Patricia Kendall (not sure of the spelling of her last name) out of Colorado State University wrote a cookbook on high altitude baking and I think the title of it is high altitude baking. I haven’t actually seen the book, but I heard it was one of the best out there on a high altitude baking. It was published some years ago but it should still be in print. Given that it was written by a food scientist I would think and hope that it is in weight measurement and not volume.
     
    Norcalbaker59, May 16, 2019
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  3. balsum

    balsum New Member

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    I got some learning todo! I had never considered that it was by weight and not volume. I will do some more studying and try again.

    I agree that the adjustments for elevation are because of the difference in boiling point, humidity... there are just so many variables that it's hard to keep track of what changes bring about what results. I'm the type that learns by testing and analyzing the results.

    I am using the plastic wrap over the second rise because it's so dry where I am right now. I will try out your suggestions this evening and see how it does.




     
    balsum, May 16, 2019
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    Norcalbaker59 likes this.
  4. balsum

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Cookbook authors/food bloggers who attended culinary school were properly trained to bake by weight. Unfortunately home bakers are reluctant to use weight measurement, so cookbook authors convert their recipes to volume measurement.


    It’s really a disservice because recipes cannot be scaled for different quantities, scaled to different size baking tins, or adjusted for different altitudes when volume measurement is used. And when different brand and types of ingredients are used, which also affect the end product, it’s impossible to troubleshoot a recipe without knowing the ratio of all the ingredients to the flour.


    Aside from all recipes being developed in bakers percentages, most are developed for sea level. The atmospheric pressure at sea level is 14.7 psi. Atmospheric pressure decreases with altitude.


    With decreased air pressure, it takes less energy to boil water. So water boils at a lower temperature. Since water boils at lower temperature, the leavening process is accelerated, so the dough expansion happens sooner and more intensely than at lower altitudes.

    The rate and range of protein denaturalization and starch gelatinization in flour also change at higher altitude. These chemical changes are responsible for creating the structure of baked goods (set the dough or batter). If it doesn’t happen correctly the bread or cake collapse. If they do not collapse they frequently set into a wonky shape and are often dry and have a strange texture on the outside.

    Something just came to mind… are you using instant or active dry yeast? They are two completely different strains of yeast. I would recommend active dry yeast if you are not already using it. Instant dry yeast is a much slower acting yeast. It’s developed for long fermentation.


    Instant dry yeast is a strain of yeast is for short fermentation. Its best for dough that you want to Mix and bake within a couple hours. So the baker gets a very strong and quick rise. And at high-altitude instant yeast will probably give way too much rise. I am not a fan of instant yeast at all.


    Maybe instead of hot water use cool water. Yeast is a living organism. The small amount of sugar serves three purposes:

    Food for yeast

    Aids browning

    Hygroscopic so creates moisture


    sugar and warm water in the dough creates ideal conditions for the yeast to develop. You can better manage the yeast development by using active dry yeast and cool water. The ideal temperature for yeast development is 75-78°F. Maybe use cold water 60°-65°F or consider an refrigerated overnight first rise.
     
    Norcalbaker59, May 16, 2019
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