hab-ww4

This is my go-to bread recipe when I want something that is tasty, soft, and can be sliced like regular sandwich bread.

I baked it for my trip to Moab, Utah, recently. I also had a loaf in the car while I drove across the country back to my home state, Indiana, to visit my family. At one point I was driving through Iowa and using one hand to reach into the bag and grab slices to scarf down for lunch. But hey, it makes my body feel better than eating fast food. I also like knowing what is in the food I put into my body.

And a bonus for us mountain/foothills people: bread rises much faster at altitude so we get to enjoy it sooner.

Sometimes you would think the opposite with high altitude baking. But the low air pressure found at high elevations causes the yeast to grow much faster than normal. This can be really handy when you’re short on time.

When I worked at the restaurant, I could bake bread or rolls (start to finish) for staff meal in under an hour and a half. The biggest thing you have to worry about is over-proofing, which will produce a spongy textured bread.

If you want your yeast breads to have a stronger, more developed yeast flavor, let them rise overnight in a refrigerator, which will slow down the yeast.

How to make this high altitude recipe:

Honey Wheat Bread (adapted from AllRecipes.com)

2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup grapeseed, safflower, or canola oil
5 cups all-purpose flour (I like Wheat Montana flours)
2 cups whole wheat flour

Dissolve yeast in the warm water. Let sit for five minutes until foamy. Add the salt, honey, oil, and flours. Knead 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. You should be able to stretch a small ball of the dough thin without it tearing. With any flour-based recipe at altitude, your flour may be drier than normal, so adjust by adding a little water if you find that to be the case. This step can also be completed using the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 20-30 minutes. Punch down the dough and shape into two loaves. Place each loaf in a greased 9 x 5 ” loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until the dough has risen to just below the rim of the pan (3/4-1″), about 20 minutes.

Bake at 350 F until the tops are a light golden brown and they sound hollow when tapped, around 20-25 minutes.

Let the bread loaves cool in their pans for 5 minutes, then invert and finish cooling on a wire rack. Slice thick and enjoy with homemade jam or local honey.

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