Hey guys! We’re back on the series I’m doing for Simple Recipes to Build Your Recipe Box, and if you want to see the other recipes from this series, have a look over there! Today though we’re touching on bread.
I wanted a super simple bread recipe that worked well for a classic sandwich bread loaf, but that can also be a great base for other bread recipes! What you get here is a pillowy center of bread, a medium-thickness crust, and an overall buttery, lightly-sweet flavor.
How to Make High-Altitude Bread
This recipe comes together quickly, and it’s easiest to use a stand mixer, but you can make it by hand as well! A big part of making high-altitude bread is making sure that you knead it well enough to really build up the gluten. Give it a good 10 minutes on a stand mixer, and 20 minutes by hand to make sure the dough is very stretchy, elastic, and smooth.
Here’s what it looks like at the start of the rise time, and after:
In a lot of ways, I’d totally love to be one of those moms that makes homemade bread for the homemade lunches of her children every week, but I also know that’s never going to happen for me. It’s cool, we do not have to do this actually, it turns out grocery stores really give us a hand sometimes.
BUT, it is really, really nice to have the smell of homemade bread wafting through your house sometimes, and this is a great place to start.
Baking bread at high-altitude is really tough. It’s always been one of the most-failed types of recipes for me, but often the fix is fairly simple here. The thing that is most important for high-altitude bread baking is to not let it rise to much! Where sea level recipes typically take longer to rise, you also don’t want to rise your dough as much in size- for example, if it says to double the size, you probably only want to see it rise by about 1/3 in size here at altitude.
I actually usually take a picture of my dough with my phone right when I set it aside to rise, and use it for reference to make sure I know how big it’s getting. It’s tough to remember, or maybe that’s just because I’m getting old? Anyways, my point is- don’t over-rise your doughs!
The other main issue here is that liquid evaporates a bit faster up here, so I usually add an extra couple of tablespoons of water or milk to my bread recipes to compensate for that. And finally, you may notice bland-tasting bread on occasion, so you just want to be a bit more generous with salt and sugar!
So here we are. The perfect sandwich bread. It’s sweetened with a little bit of sugar and also a little honey, which adds a nice touch of flavor. Plus, it’s brushed with butter both before and after baking, it’s fantastic you guys!
Tips & Tricks for High-Altitude Bread
This is the best recipe out there for high-altitude bread. Here are some tips and info to help you along the way:
- How do I know when the dough has been kneaded enough? The dough should be smooth, elastic, and soft. You should be able to stretch a small piece of dough between your fingers without it breaking.
- Can I make this in a bread maker? I don’t use a bread maker, and I highly recommend making this bread without one. However, you should be able to make it in a bread maker, though it may be a bit large for standard models.
- Can I double this recipe? Yes, you can double the recipe without any issues, but you may need to let the dough rise a bit longer- again just pay attention to the size of the dough throughout the rise!
- Can I use rapid-rise yeast? This recipe was developed with active dry yeast, but you can use rapid rise yeast if needed. You want to reduce the yeast by 1/4 tsp, and be sure to watch the rise time as it typically will move faster.
- Watch your rise times. My indicated rise times are just what it takes for me, but I highly recommend you focus on the actual size of the dough instead of the indicated times. Just keep an eye on it! If it’s warm in my house, sometimes the process is much faster.
I hope you enjoy this one- there’s really nothing quite like fresh-baked bread, so if you’ve never done it, make today the day!
High-Altitude Sandwich Bread
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tbs. sugar
- 2 tbs. honey
- 1 tbs. butter
- 2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
- 4-5 cups all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3 tbs. melted butter
In a microwave safe bowl, heat the water, milk, sugar, honey, and 1 tbs. butter in the microwave until it reaches 110-115 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Stir in the active dry yeast, and set aside to bloom for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbly and foamy.
Transfer the yeast mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer (or into a large mixing bowl), and add in two cups of flour along with the salt. Mix until combined with a paddle attachment, or with a wooden spoon. The mixture will be liquidy and lumpy at this point.
Add in another cup of flour, and continue adding in 1/4 cup portions until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Switch to a hook attachment at this point. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky when you stop adding flour.
Knead either in the mixer or by hand until the dough is elastic. By hand, this will take about 10 minutes, and by mixer it should take about 5. The dough may still be slightly lumpy, but should spring back when you touch it.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled large bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise by about 1/3 in size, which takes about 30 minutes for me, but keep an eye on your dough size to avoid over-proofing.
Grease an 8 or 9 inch loaf pan. Set aside.
Roll your dough into a large rectangle. One side should be about the same length as the length of your loaf pan. Roll the dough, starting on the loaf-pan-length side, into a tight log, and place seam-side down into your prepared loaf pan. Cover with plastic.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Let the dough rest for about 15 minutes. It will be just slightly puffed. Brush the top of the loaf generously with some of the melted butter, and bake for 45-48 minutes. The dough should reach a deep golden brown color, and you can use an instant read thermometer to see that the inside reaches 195 degrees.
Brush the remaining melted butter over the top of the loaf immediately when you take it out of the oven. Cool for about 20 minutes in the pan, and then turn out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling. Wait until the bread is completely cool to slice. Enjoy!
Hello and welcome! My name is Nicole, and Dough-eyed is a food blog for people who want to bake for their family and friends in high-altitude areas. Think of me as a friendly voice there with you in the kitchen, here to give you confidence when you’re baking, and to help you with the struggles of baking at high-altitude. Come back every week for new recipes, tips, and advice on high-altitude baking!
Ouan Copeland says
Hi Nicole, the bread looks lovely. I want to make it but I have one question, the oven @ 375F is it fan force or bottom bake only?
Hi there! I have a conventional oven that heats from the top. I hope that helps!
I've in Ontario Canada I have tried so many sanswich bread recipes and they rise but when I bake them they stay that size I've tried about 4 different recipes I know my yeast is active because it works for other things ga like pizza dough/ cheese bread or a number of other things I make Could it be the altitude how would I determine if that is what it is?
Hi there! I'm not sure the exact altitude where you are, but from what I can tell you should be under 3,000 ft above sea level, in which case it should not be the altitude. As far as what is causing the problem, it really depends on the recipe. If you're yeast is good, consider lowering the salt or sugar in a recipe to avoid weighing it down. And another possibility is that you are letting it rise a little too much during proofing, so try going for a little less than double. I hope that helps!
Dawn Mckay says
I just made your recipe, I'm at 9600 ft. I took a quarter of the yeast out and oh man, it's perfect! Thank you for sharing. This will be my go to from now on! Merry Christmas!
Nancy Ahrens says
May I ask what your altitude is? Our cabin sits at about 10,000’.
Also, do you bake your bread on the middle shelf in your oven or where?
Hi Nancy! I'm at about 5,000 ft, so you may need to make a couple more adjustments up that high! I bake my bread in the middle rack, yes!
Pam Hinkle says
Hi, what adjustments should I make for Az. Dry- 3000 ft. ? I have attempted to make 4 loaves of various breads. No success. I am doing it by hand, no, mixer.
Please help. I love fresh bread, when I lived in CA. I had the recipes down pat. Since I've moved here, everything is a flop.
Thank you, the bread looks delicious!
Hi Pam! So there's two big tips I have for you- one, make sure you watch the size of the dough, not the rise time. You don't want the dough to rise too much- it should only rise about 1/3 in size. I usually take a pic with my phone so it's easier to tell. Second- if you're doing this by hand, it'll take a good amount of kneading, around 15 minutes, to make sure you get that gluten well developed. I am at 5,000 ft, and I usually find people at 3k don't need to make adjustments to my bread recipes. I hope that helps!
Try kneading your bread at least 300 times. I usually add the butter in thin slices cold. After the dough is mixed and comes together after 100 kneads or so and I use 3-4 Tablespoons of butter. You need to knead until the dough is glossy/shiny. I taught myself how to bake bread at 7,300 feet and the butter kept me motivated to knead and knead. Seriously, from my experience, you need to knead the dough at least 300 times. Also, let the dough rest after 50 – 100 kneads. James Beard knew this secret and I discovered this teaching myself how to make bread. The resting in intervals allows the gluten to develop. I hope this helps.
I saw another comment about using honey. I have to respond as honey makes the bread sing. However, if it is unpasteurized, you need to scald it with the milk. I add the honey to the milk and let it be at a low boil/simmer for 7-10 minutes to kill all of the honey’s bad guys that might compete with the yeast..
Laurel’s Kitchen has the best bread book and I wish I had it right now for the length of time it takes to kill the bad guys in the raw honey; however, that’s how long I simmer the milk with the honey. I keep losing my copy of this book. I have to constantly rebuy it as everyone keeps it, after I give it to them as a reference. This is your bible when you are starting out.
And King Arthur has the best staff, flour, and fun stuff to bake with! All of their ingredients are high quality, including the sourdough! And, I really like their bread flour. It makes a difference in the rise.
Now, I need to figure out how to bake a great high-altitude cake! I look forward to your advice!
All the best!
Can you tell me where the adjustments are made for high altitude? What did you change from regular bread recipe?
I'm just curious what the differences are. I'm in Denver. Thank you so much for this recipe.
Hi there!! In general, to adapt bread recipes you'll want to add a little bit more liquid, let the dough rise for less time, and often let it bake for longer. This recipe is one I've worked on for a very long time to get right!!
Karen Ludlow says
Can this be doubled easily?
Hi Karen! Yes, you should be able to double this with no trouble. The dough may need slightly longer to rise, but it should otherwise work the same!
Will this work with rapid rise yeast? I am at about 5500'.
Hi there! We are about at the same altitude, so you shouldn't need to make any adjustments for that. I don't usually recommend rapid rise yeast, but it will probably work in this recipe. You will want to keep a close eye on it while rising as I think it won't take as long to rise. I hope that helps!
This recipe is wonderful! I followed the directions exactly as stated and it turned out perfect! We had it with our breakfast this morning toasted with butter….
Oh. My. Goodness it is so good. Thank you so much for the recipe!
Hi Sarah!! Thank you, I'm glad to hear that it turned out great, it's one of my fav recipes!!!
omg! this bread is so freaking delicious. not to mention easy. I'm a beginner bread maker for SURE. And this is so good. will be adding this to my recipe box! Also in CO 🙂 at about 6,100 ft
I'm so glad it turned out well for you!! It's one of my favs!! I'm in the Denver area so we are very close in altitude!!
Kenna Miller says
My dough is very sticky, not much body.
I’m hoping for the best! Used almost all of the 5 cups of flour! I’m at about the same altitude as you! Easy recipe so far!
Hi Kenna! I hope it worked out!!
Could this, or any bread recipe be sustituted with any kind of dairy free milk and still work?
Hi there! Yes, that will work perfectly in this and most simple bread recipes!
Sandra Kraft says
After loaf after loaf of failed bread I found this today. Made my first batch and OMG delicious. We are at 10000 feet in the South American Andes and I think the tip that made this work the best was the lesser rising height. I followed your directions and only let it rise 1/3 and the dough held and looked great. Baked it – no fallen loaf – and delicious. Thank you so much. Now to check out all your other recipies.
Hi Sandra!! I'm so glad to hear that it worked well for you!! I'm at about 5000 ft, so when you get into cakes and some other recipes you might need further adjustments. Just let me know and I'd be happy to help!
Leslie B says
Hello, I want to try this recipe (at 8,000 ft in South America) but I don’t have a loaf pan… any idea if it would work without one? Would you recommend baking in a Dutch oven?
Hi there! I think a Dutch oven would work well, but I suspect it won't take as long to bake since it would be a little flatter- I would just keep an eye on it about 10 minutes earlier. I hope that helps!!
Julie Snyder says
At 6100’. Turned out perfect, exactly as written no adjustments needed.
Awesome, so glad to hear it!
Followed directions exactly. At 7,100 feet the bread is a skyscraper. It's really too tall. I will use 2 bread pans next time. I might decrease the yeast, too. Maybe try 2 tsp of yeast and see.
Interesting!! It must be rising a bit more at your altitude! Yes, I think reducing the yeast a bit will help.
Breannon Babbel says
Perfect sandwich bread! I’m in Denver and ended up only needing 4 cups of flour—did a mix of white (2.5 cups) and whole wheat (1.5 cups), soy milk (didn’t have regular) and it turned out great! Curious about subbing all honey to eliminate the white sugar.
That's awesome, I'm glad to hear it!! Yes, actually I think that sub will work out just fine!!
Due to covid19 the only yeast I could find was rapid rise. Any specific recommendations on using this in Denver for bread? I'm trying to make sourdough bread. Thanks
Hi there! You would want to reduce the amount of yeast slightly if using rapid rise as it will activate faster and could speed things up too much. As far as bread in general in Denver, typically it will rise faster both in proofing time and in the oven- so be sure to let it rise for a bit less time than normal. I hope that helps!
Fern Pannell says
I never ever comment on recipes (ungrateful I know), but this just blew my mind! I was always told bread wouldn't turn out right in my Andean town at 3000m (10,000ft) but this grew HUUUUGE big, no air bubbles, perfect crunchy crust and smooth perfect tasting inside. I just can't believe it. It's the best EVER, thank you!!!!
So glad to hear it!! It's definitely one of my favs!
Karen Martinez says
I'm at 7000' and this bread is amazing. I really struggle with making bread or baking things at this altitude. Heck many recipes say they are only good until 5000'.
I made this recipe weekly. Now my family wants nothing else. I have to bake two at a time just so they can dig into the first one and we will have some left over.
Thank you for this wonderful recipe.
So glad to hear it's working well for you!! I love this recipe!!
Hi Nicole – Thank you for this recipe! Do you think this would work alright with a gluten free whole grain oat flour (like Bob's Red Mill)? I'm also in Denver and have been looking for a high-altitude baking resource and am thrilled to find your site. Thank you!
Hi there!! Thank you so much for the kind words! Yes, I think it will work well with that flour change, but you may use slightly less flour in that case. Just keep an eye on how the dough feels- it should be soft and knead-able!
Nicole, thank you for this perfect recipe that needs no adjustment for altitude (I'm at 6400'). Sometimes ya just don't want to have to figure it out 3 times to get it right–this turned out great. I had some whole wheat and kamut flour on hand, so mixed that in with the all-purpose plus used almond milk and Miyoko's butter. It has a very nice crumb for sandwiches or toast or anything really. Will be a favorite around here.
That's great to hear, and it sounds like great ingredients to use! Glad you liked it!!
Mable M. Unchkin says
We are at 6,000 feet. The only change I made was to bake in two one-pound bread pans. (Being a dwarf, my husband prefers smaller portions.) the bread itself is in the same league as my goto bread recipe, only simpler… having one rise instead of three. Next time, I will substitute Sorghum syrup for the honey as I like an earthy taste.
Jessica Snawder says
I made this yesterday and it turned out beautifully! We live in Falcon, CO and this bread is perfect. Thank you for such a delicious recipe!
Stacy's mom says
Hi!! Could you substitute Bread Flour for some or all of the all purpose flours?
Hi there! You can sub out some of it for sure! I wouldn't sub more than half.
I live in Erie/Broomfield, CO and have a couple of food restrictions: Gluten & dairy. I am looking for a sandwich- bread recipe for my Cuisinart 2lb Convection Bread Maker, which has a gluten free setting. I have successfully made a gluten-based sandwich-bread for my Guy in the bread maker after much research and several attempts ~Yay! However, the gluten-free attempts have failed; the loafs have been lacking in flavor, texture, density (too dense) and far too dry.
I have used Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour (Ingredient list: Garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, whole grain white sorghum flour, tapioca flour and fava bean flour).
I also tried King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour (Ingredient list: Rice flour, whole grain brown rice flour, whole sorghum flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, cellulose, xanthan gum, vitamin and mineral blend [calcium carbonate, niacinamide (vitamin b3), reduced iron, thiamin hydrochloride (vitamin b1), riboflavin (vitamin b2)].
I recently bought Outrageous Baking Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour (Ingredient list: Brown rice Flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, sorghum flour, xanthan gum).
The dairy restriction is much easier for me to get around as I use almond milk and I tolerate ghee. The Gluten-free restriction is the conundrum. I am seeing adjustments for high elevation contradict adjustments for gluten-free goods, so I am stumped.
I have read that weighing your ingredients is a must with high elevation and gluten-free baking. Do you find it important? I really want to try your recipe. What advise and thoughts would you share with my parameters and your recipe at my elevation of 5,249 ft?
Thx in advance! ~Anastazia
Hi Anastazia! I know that gluten-free bread can be really tricky, but unfortunately I'm not an expert at GF baking. I do have a friend who lives in Colorado, so also high-altitude, who has a GF blog that I highly recommend you check out. It's goodforyouglutenfree.com. I'm sorry I can't be of more help here! I just know that it's a real struggle to create great texture without gluten. I will say that I'm typically not a fan of bread makers- bread is difficult as is, but I found that working it by hand made a huge difference in my understanding of how dough should feel- you may want to give a traditional method a shot!!
Kassadi Gabriel says
The only sandwich bread I'll be using from now on! This was delish! (Made in Boulder, CO)
So glad to hear that!!
I moved from Illinois to Fort Collins, Colorado this summer and learning to bake at high altitude was a big adjustment for me. This recipe is the first sandwich bread recipe that worked perfectly the first time! I'm so happy to have fresh baked bread again 🙂
Also, I stay away from animal milk so I've been substituting plain unsweetened almond milk instead and it's been working great.
Thank you for the great recipe!!
I'm so happy to hear it!! And I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe, it's a good one!!
Have you made this recipe into buns before? Trying it tonight!
Hi there! I have not, but it should work! You may need to work pretty quickly to shape the rolls to avoid over rising them.
Thank you for sharing this recipe.
Beginner baker here. By 9” pan you mean 9” long, right? I have a 5.25” by 11” cast iron pan. Should I preheat it first? Also, can I substitute milk for almond milk?
Altitude here is 7,200 ft.
Thank you kindly,
Hi there! I do mean a 9 inch long loaf pan! And it does not need to be pre-heated first. You can absolutely sub almond milk though. Hope that helps!!
Thank you so much for this recipe! I love making my own bread here at ~6100 ft, and worked long and hard to get my sourdough right (lots of frisbees; my family was very patient!). But I don’t always keep my starter work-ready, and waiting two days for bread can be bothersome. When I saw this recipe, I was apprehensive—I get tired of eating my bread failures—but it turned out great! Making my second loaf in as many days. 🙂
Hi there! So glad to hear that you're enjoying the recipe! It's definitely one of my favs!
Delicious recipe, I live in Denver and ended up putting about 4 and 1/2 cups flour to get the doughy consistency for kneeding. Really lovely amount of honey. Finished product is fluffy and has a nice crust. I do not have a rectangle loaf pan, so I used a 8 inch round and it worked great. Thank you so much!
So glad to hear you enjoyed this one!
Made a mile high and a resounding success!
So glad to hear that!
At last, lovely sandwich bread success! I had massive bread fails the last 2 weekends in a row, but the Dougheyed recipe today worked like a charm. I needed more than 5 C of flour – may have been because I was stirring & kneading by hand. Bit who cares – it worked!
So glad to hear it's worked well for you! Definitely one of my favs!!
Doubled the recipe and it turned out great!
How do people store their home made loaves ? I made two to get us through the week….would a plain old ziplock be sufficient enough?
So glad to hear you're enjoying it!! I store mine in ziplock bags, or wrapped tightly in foil!
Can I substitute the butter for oil instead? Will it work the same?
Hi Michelle! Yes, you can sub oil, using about 2 tsp. less oil than the called for amount of butter.
Ruthann Weaver says
How will this recipe work in a bread maker?
Hi there- I don't use a bread maker myself, so I haven't testing this recipe in one. I suspect it may just a little too much dough depending on the size of your bread maker, but if you have a large one I don't see a problem there!
Christopher Petersen says
Thanks for the great recipe! Worked perfectly for me here at 6000 ft.! Bread was delicious! (It didn't last long, but making another loaf today.) I did a 40-minute Autolyse, stretch and fold four times, 20-minute rest, Stretch and fold four times. Shaped the dough and tucked the edges under with a dough scraper to create surface tension, then let it rise in the pan, covered for about 40 minutes. Came out perfect! I am going to let the dough rest overnight in the fridge next time to see how the flavor changes.
Wow, love the pictures, it looks lovely!! I've never made this bread with sourdough methods, but it looks amazing!
Lisa R says
Could I sub sugar for the honey or would I need to add more liquid to make up for it?
This recipe looks amazing.
Hi there- you should be able to sub sugar here, though I would probably swap in some brown sugar in this case so you still get a good flavor boost. You should not need to make any further adjustments!
Ruthann Weaver says
I want to make this in a bread maker. What adjustments should I make to the recipe?
Hi there- I actually don't use or have a bread maker so I can't give you specific adjustments for this recipe on it. I have heard that people have done it in a bread maker, but in general it's just not my preferred method of making bread.
Working Ranch Wife says
Thank you so much!!! I’m at 7,000ft and have been trying to find a good recipe! This is it!! I look forward to trying to do cinnamon sugar and garlic herbs versions of this!
So glad to hear it!!
Nan Burton says
Hello! I’m at 6200 feet and while the bread is delicious, it split all down one long side. I tried the recipe twice. The 2nd time I punched it down a bit more but it happened again. Any suggestions are welcome – thank you!
Hi there! I think we may have spoken via email, but I believe this is happening because of the size of your loaf pan. Loaf pans aren't standard when it comes to size, so if you're using a smaller one than what I used to develop the recipe, you may find that it splits. If you don't have a larger loaf pan, you can split the recipe into two loaves. Hope that's helpful!
Hi! I’m at 4,500ft and am trying your recipe – however I’m a bit confused about one thing – do you not do a second rise at all?? I’m used to breads that require a 2nd rise. I’ve let it rise 1/3 and have shaped it into a loaf and rolls / do I really let it sit for 15 and then bake?
Hi there- Because we are at a higher altitude, yeast breads often take less time to rise, so that 15 minute rest period is the second rise in this case. The bread just doesn't need to rise quite as long at altitude!
The flavor is good, the crumb fine. I make a lot of bread at 8000 ft. This always splits and blows out of the pan like no other. I used the Larger pan, and scored I think that it needs a slower rise, maybe punch down then go again at my altitude.
Hi there- sorry to hear that it keeps splitting on you! You can also try to reduce the yeast in the recipe slightly here to help slow the rise a little bit. I am at about 5,000 ft above sea level, so that may be why we are seeing a difference here!
Got halfway through the recipe only to find out I need a stand mixer… wish I would have known that earlier.
Hi there- I'll update the recipe, but this recipe, as with most bread recipes, can certainly be made my hand. You can almost always swap in hand-mixing and kneading instead, though kneading by hand typically takes a bit more time. I will update the recipe to clarify this!
I’m so glad I found your blog and this recipe. I’ve been struggling with baking ever since we moved to Colorado (7000ft) from Texas. Yesterday, I was able to fill my home with the smell of freshly baked bread that my whole family enjoyed. I can say the loaf didn’t last long and we are excited to and your recipe into our weekly routine. Thank you so much. 💗
Amber G. says
Delicious recipe. Thank you so much. It was easy and increased my confidence in making bread! My husband can taste and smell everything, so he finds it too sweet. I skimmed through the recipe I read a few weeks ago and the comments and don't see any directions on if you can reduce the honey or sugar.
I am at 7000 ft and have struggled with bread. This recipe was perfect! It rose nicely and is delicious! Have you done this with wheat flour? Or half and half?
Stephanie Nasso says
I've made this recipe several times already and it's amazing every time. Thank you for helping this Texan adapt to 9,500 feet above sea level!