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!