We live over 4,500 feet above sea level. This means that I have had to tweak my baking a bit. My bread though… My bread has never turned out that great since we moved here, no matter how many different things I have tried, until my sister-in-law shared her recipe with me and some helpful tips!
So I thought I would share with you too in case you have the same dilemma or are just looking for a good bread recipe. This has been adapted from the whole wheat bread recipe that used to be on the back of the King Arthur Flour bag. In my SIL’s words:
This recipe makes one loaf.
2 1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/3 cups warm water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
Approximately 3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup powdered milk
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
(1/4 cup flax meal)–this is not part of the original recipe but if I have it I like to put it into the bread.
More often then not, I make this by hand so this is the way I make it. You may find that a different technique works better for you.
1. Run the hot tap water until it steams. Measure your water and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add the oil, honey, and salt.
2. Add around a cup of flour and mix for about 30 seconds. (This can be done in a large stand up mixer, or with a small hand mixer, or just a wire whisk, etc.)
3. Add the yeast. cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes to activate the yeast.
4. After 10 minutes, add the dried milk and flax if using. I never measure the flour–instead I just add about a cup at a time and keep mixing until the dough is formed. If you’re using a standing mixer it’s usually until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, but will still sort of “stick” to the bottom. My big mixer died so I start with a small hand mixer until the dough gets too thick. Then I just dump it out onto a clean counter and add/mix the flour by hand. I know that I’ve added enough flour when the dough is moist and my hand sort of “sticks” to it, but I can easily pull my hand away without taking any dough with it. Knead for about 5-10 minutes.
5. Using a large bowl, (you can use the one you mixed the dough in if you want). Either generously spray the bowl with a non-stick cooking spray, or spread a thin layer of vegetable oil around the bowl, or grease the bowl with vegetable shortening–your choice. Then place the dough in the bowl, turning it a few times to coat the dough. Generally what I like to do is turn the oven on for only a minute, while I’m greasing the bowl, just to warm it up.
6. Place the dough in the oven and cover once again with a clean dish towel and let rise for an hour to an hour and a half, (or longer) until the dough has doubled in bulk. When it’s rounded over the top of the bowl then I know it’s done.
7. What I do next is spread a little oil, or shortening on the counter. Then I dump the dough out onto the counter and punch it down. Roll it into a log and divide into loaves, (if making more than one).
8. Place the loaves into a greased bread pan(s) and press down flat into the pan, until the dough fills the corners and it’s level on the top. I’ve found that this helps with air bubbles and gives the loaves a more uniform shape.
9. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Loosely cover the loaf(ves) with foil and continue to bake for 17-20 more minutes. Remove the bread from pan(s) and place on a cooling rack. I usually rub/spread some butter on the tops. Cool completely before wrapping and storing.
If you live at high altitudes follow these changes: Halfway through baking time when you drape the foil on top turn the oven down from 350 to 325 and extend the cooking time 5-10 minutes.
I really like how the recipe calls for shaping the loaves with shortening instead of more flour. It really helps you not dry out the bread with too much flour. The flax seed is a nice touch. I think adds that extra fat from the flax, along with the shortening for loaf shaping technique, helps it not be so crumbly either. I used white wheat flour and it tastes delicious!
Let me know if you try it!
Kylie Jones says
I am going to try this today! I think your blog is amazing!!!!
I know you posted this a long time ago but I just tried it and it turned out great. Thanks for the recipe!
I made this earlier this week using white wheat flour and agave nectar instead of honey. It is so delicious and I can't stop staring at my beautiful sandwiches now. Great idea to put the flaxseed in it too. 🙂 Thanks for this recipe!
This looks s simple and lovely! How might this translate to a bread machine? Kind thanks, K
Thanks! I have never used a bread machine, so I’m not sure. I’m sorry I don’t have a better answer for you.
Barbara Hicks says
I use the bread machine to make the dough and for the first rise and the second rise in the oven (not on)covered or with a pan of boiling water for steam, and then bake in the oven.
Thank you for the bread machine tips!
Do you let the bread dough rise a second time in the loaf pan before you bake it??
For this recipe, I don’t let it rise a second time. I have another recipe for which I do do that. Here’s a link: https://www.deliacreates.com/best-bread-ever-recipe/
Does this recipe also work at high altitude? Thanks!
Can I use regular milk instead of powdered?
Good question. Liquid milk will change the moisture content of the dough, so I would count it against the water. You *may* have to make micro adjustments to the amounts to get it just right, if simply replacing some of the water with milk doesn’t work.I hope that helps!
Sue Hedrick says
Whole wheat flour?
Denise Stetler says
Hello! I recently bought a set of bread pans that came with sliding lids. Can I use those instead of the foil?
Good question. I think it depends on how deep the pans are. The bread may rise above the lid line. If it doesn’t, then I think it would work great.
Hello – thank you for the recipe for the high altitude bread! I’m a novice baker (first time to make homemade bread actually) and I found that my loaves did not rise even with your tips/tricks. I live at 4300 elevation and the bead cooked nicely but looks very leavened. Any pointers would be appreciated!
I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble with the recipe. Do you mean they looked unleavened? Reasons your yeast didn’t rise could be: water was too hot or too cold, age of the yeast, is it too old? If this recipe gave you trouble, I have another recipe I have had success with at any elevation. I used to live at a high elevation and now live at almost sea level and it has worked for me equally as well in both kinds of locations. https://www.deliacreates.com/best-bread-ever-recipe/
I hope that helps!
Why do some Why do some recipes call for punching the bread down and others advise not to punch the bread down? And why does this recipe require baking at 350 when high-altitude breads it’s advised to bake at 375? I’m just new to this I live about 4200 feet and just trying to learn thank you so much
That’s a good question. I punch the bread down to get out air bubbles and prepare for the second rise. I suppose it could depend on how dense or how many air pockets you want in your bread. In some breads, those air pockets are desirable, in other breads, like this kind, air pockets are not as desirable. If 350 F does not work for you, you may want to experiment and try 375 F. 350 F is what worked for me when I lived at a high elevation (I no longer do and now live at almost sea level). I have also lived in many different houses, with many different ovens and have had to adjust temperature and time for every one that I have used, regardless of elevation. I hope that helps. Happy bread baking!
Gregory Miles says
just a comment regarding water: if you’re using hot tap water, thats fine with an instant heater – but if you have a traditional water heater, this is not a good idea. heavy metals build up (as well as other unhealthy aspects, which, yes, are allowed by the epa – think arsenic, barium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium, etc) and they are in high concentrations in hot tap water – especially if your water heater tank has been working a few years or more.
it’s never a good idea to cook with hot water out of the tap in this case. a better choice is to use good water and heat it via stovetop or microwave. you can refine the temp by adding cold water back to it until you get it just right, then measure.
I wonder if this recipe works at 10,000 feet. I live in Colorado mountains.
Wowee! I’m not sure. If you try it I would love to hear how it goes for you?
Lizzie Braden says
I’ve been baking bread at 9,000 feet on a wood stove since junior high. [that’s about 65 years!] The bread always turns out better than when I bake at 7,000 feet on an electric stove. The bread is always good, but often coarser than I would like. I don’t understand not letting it rise again before putting it in to bake. ? I’m anxious to try your recipe.