Yeast, high altitude

Discussion in 'The Iron Chef' started by Leslie, Jul 13, 2011.

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  1. Leslie

    Leslie Puritan Board Junior

    I live at high altitude, 6800 feet. I have trouble with bread not rising the second time. Maybe I'm using too much yeast. Recipes call for packages of active dry yeast. I have the stuff, but in half-kilo bags. Can someone please tell me how much is in one package, in terms of tablespoons?

    My maid mixes and kneads the dough. I think she does not put enough flour in it. It rises fine, in fact too fast, the first time. Second time it rises just a tad and then sits there. The final product is way too heavy. Any hints would help a lot. The store bread here is unbearable, a mouthful of air and made with cassava flour.
  2. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    When I was growing up we were sort of high altitude: 5500 feet. My mom always used less yeast than what was called for. If the first rise is too fast, the second rise will usually be flat.

    I don't know any more details, but I did run across this, which seems to say the same thing:

    High Altitude Cooking: High Altitude Bread Baking
  3. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    BTW, I just looked at a packet of Red Star bread yeast. It says it contains 7 grams. I don't know how that works out in teaspoons, but a half kilo bag would have a bit more than 71 helpings.
  4. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    I asked my wife and she writes the following:

    We live at 7500 ft (moved here from sea level 5 years ago) and I've made lots of bread. Because of the altitude things tend to rise MORE, which means you need to use slightly less yeast than the recipe calls for. Things also dry out, so I add around 1/4 c. more flour, and slightly more water as well. Packages of active dry yeast contain approximately 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of yeast. (They say 1 1/2 but I've found ours usually contain 2 tablespoons.) That said, if the recipe calls for a package I'd reduce it by 1 heaping teaspoon and try that. Also make sure to add more flour and water. Dough consistency is more art than science, but when kneaded it should be spongy, and spring back immediately when pressed with a finger. (If it's very sticky then you need to add more flour). If your recipe calls for bread flour, you can make your own by adding around 1 tablespoon of vital wheat gluten per loaf to regular flour, which will give the dough a denser, more elastic texture.

    Also, as you may have discovered, water boils more quickly at high altitude, so that things like rice need to cook longer.

    Here is an article on general high altitude baking that might be helpful:

  5. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    :wow: My mind's just been blown! I seriously never knew that water boiled more quickly at high altitude.
  6. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Another way of putting it is that it boils at a lower temperature. Boiling point goes down as air pressure goes down.
  7. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    For example, here at 7,500 feet water boils at 198 degrees F. At that lower temperature, a hard boiled egg takes about two extra minutes to cook.
  8. Leslie

    Leslie Puritan Board Junior

    Many thanks for all your help. I'll give it another whirl this next week, see if we can get some edibles out of this.
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