Recently I did a post on making bread and used a white bread recipe as the model. From this, I had several requests for other recipes, specifically whole wheat, and questions on baking at higher altitudes.

If you haven’t read the first blog you should do so to learn what you are looking for in a proper dough, and the general tips all still apply.

You cannot just swap whole wheat flour for white flour straight across, so here is a recipe for 100% whole wheat, and later I will share with you how to replace some of the white flour in other recipes to healthy up your family favorites with whole wheat, without having to start from scratch with a new recipe. I will also talk about other types of flours available and will have an entire blog on sourdough so there is a lot to look forward to!

My favorite basic whole wheat recipe is here, let me walk you though some possible substitutions so you can make a loaf based on what you have on hand.

1 1⁄2 cups liquid (water or milk)
2 tablespoons powdered milk (omit if using milk for the liquid)
2 tablespoons “fat” ~olive oil, melted butter ect.
4 tablespoons honey~ or use half molasses
1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
3 1⁄3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1⁄2 teaspoons yeast (or one package)

Use the whole wheat setting on your machine and also be sure to place ingredients in your machine per manufacturers instructions. Find more on that here on my original bread blog:

High Altitude Baking:

I live in the rocky mountains, my bread making career started in Europe at sea level. I’ve never personally tried to bake a loaf of bread above about 6500 feet but here are some general tips for good high altitude bread.

Bake often, experiment and figure out what works, and write it down.
Change one variable at a time to know what is working, if you never conduct some type of “experimenting” you will not figure out the balance.

Things to try and manipulate!

More or less flour/liquids:

This is really about knowing what a proper ball of dough should look like, higher altitude breads often lack moisture due to atmospheric conditions so both reducing the flour 1/4 cup and increasing liquids by a Tablespoon or two may be necessary.

Less yeast:

As atmospheric pressure is less when you are higher, bread often rises too quickly or too much affecting the taste of the bread. Bread may even rise and “collapse” on itself. Try reducing the recipe by 1/8 teaspoon, then 1/4. Another way to regulate this problem is to slow the rising process via regulating temperature. For example try putting the bread pan in the refrigerator for part of the first rising time. A good rule of thumb is to never let the dough more than double in size.

Many of these high altitude instructions make baking in the bread machine more difficult as the machine is designed to work with “averages”, if you are really struggling to make a good bread, FIRST make a few loaves by hand to help you understand the process of what is happening and control variables, then figure out how to use the machine, perhaps locating it under the swamp cooler reduces the temperature enough to slow the rise..ect…

Baking bread is science, but the knack for knowing how to make a good loaf only comes with EXPERIENCE so whip that flour and yeast out and show me the loaf you make!!!!

Stay tuned for more blogs on bread making, Next topic how to make very simple loaves, I call them peasant breads, from basic ingredients, including several of my all time favorite recipes and even more tips!!!