Bread with attitude and altitude

Reply Thu 16 Jul, 2009 06:15 pm
I've used Carol Field's The Italian Baker book for years and years with great results. However, now I live at 5,000 feet in altitude and an old tried and true recipe for pan bigio turned out miserably the first time I tried it here. Pan bigio involves the use of starter (biga) and a mix of flours.

Today I'm trying again, listening at least somewhat to the websites that deal with high altitude baking (which mostly say 'play around with this', with a few principles thrown in).

I hate to just give the recipe, since I've copied her recipes onto a2k before and I don't want to overdo the quoting - I'd rather have people buy the book, even used. I gather one doesn't have to worry about the altitude business under 3,000 feet.

I've often made her pan bigio recipe with unbleached flour and whole wheat flour, except that I'd been for a bunch of years substituting semolina for whole wheat flour. Today I'm using unbleached flour and buckwheat flour.
I've added the apparent recommendation from various websites of 8 additional tablespoons of water... actually the one I used said ten, but the dough is already very wet.
I'm going to let this rise one more time than usual.

The added water is because water evaporates faster at high altitude.

So.. I'm looking at a wet dough here, which I've played with before, some dough recipes for different breads being wetter than others. This could get interesting. I might even need to put on an apron..

I'm on the first rise. .. we'll see.

Feel free to add bread making adventures, at altitude or not.
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Reply Thu 16 Jul, 2009 06:36 pm
This is a book worth investing in:


Pie in the Sky Successful Baking at High Altitudes: 100 Cakes, Pies, Cookies, Breads, and Pastries Home-tested for Baking at Sea Level, 3,000, 5,000, 7,000, and 10,000 feet (and Anywhere in Between)

Check out the user reviews.

Reply Thu 16 Jul, 2009 07:16 pm
Thanks, butrfly.
Reply Thu 16 Jul, 2009 10:24 pm
Ok, the bread came out great, though I'll never do it the same way again... way too wet, and I had to keep adding flour. But, having done that, it's a toothy bread with delicious flavor and great texture including the chewiness I like, more like the homemade ital breads I'm used to - I'll certain try the buckwheat with unbleached flour again and fool around with the water.

I think I probably added too much biga, as the dough had a strong will to stay sticky - but on the other hand, that is probably why it is so chewy and good.

Well, I'll play with this again, and write up the info when I work it out.
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