Tips for Baking Yeast Breads at High Altitude
Bread that incorporates yeast in order to rise is also subject to change when it comes to altitude. The biggest issue with baking yeast breads at high altitudes is that they tend to rise much more quickly than at sea level. Following these tips helps to combat that problem.
Use ice water. Mixing yeast with water is one of the first steps when it comes to preparing bread dough. Using ice water in place of warm water can help slow the yeast’s action.
Reduce rise time. Over-proofed dough can behave badly during baking, by warping or collapsing while in the oven. To prevent this, only allow the dough to rise about 50% of its original size, rather than letting it double in size during the initial proofing.
Keep the salt. Salt helps improve flavor and also slows the growth of yeast and expanding gases in the dough. Do not omit the salt in yeast bread recipes.
Bake with a pan of boiling water. Improve the rise and crust on a loaf of bread by placing a pan of boiling water on the bottom rack of the oven. This adds moisture to the environment and forms a crisper crust. Remove the water for the final 15 minutes of baking.
Due to the lower air pressure at high altitudes, yeast breads can rise much higher than they normally would, which can result in a warped or collapsed loaf. The above suggestions help keep your bread light and airy when it needs to be, with a crisper crust and a better overall consistency. If all else fails, take a cue from generations of mountain dwellers around the world and try your hand at flatbread.
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