Tips for Baking @ 4k

Welcome to Baking at 4,000 ft. Here you will find tips to help you turn out a perfect loaf of bread every time. I use only organic flour, butter, farm fresh eggs and raw milk.  We do our best in the Hall family, to avoid pesticides, genetically modified organisms and other health affecting toxins.

The first thing you need to remember the darker the pan, the better. Light colored aluminum pans don’t bake well in the mountains, if that’s all you have, just remember things can burn and still appear undercooked. Use a thermometer.

Sourdough Croissants

Sourdough Croissants with Ham, eggs and cheese.

You will notice the last thing to be added to each recipe is the flour.  That is where we will make most of the recipe adjustments.  After doing this for awhile you will be able to judge the dough from sight and touch.  You can really feel a good dough when you begin to roll it out.

I always add about two tablespoons of liquid. So, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of water, use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons.  The same goes for milk. When it’s raining in the mountains, I don’t even attempt to make bread because it’s just not right.  The bread is always dry.

We are attempting to develop a really good sourdough croissant, I’ll let you know when I’ve finished.


Pretzel Hot Dog Bun

Recipe: Pretzel Hot Dog Bun

This pretzel bun recipe rocks!  The are salty, soft and luscious.  We use Applegate Farms Organic Uncured Beef Hot Dog for the best tasting dogs around.

Pretzel hot dog buns

1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 1/4 tablespoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
2 tablespoon garlic cloves, chopped
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour
1/2 cup baking soda
Pretzel salt or coarse ground sea salt, for sprinkling

In a small saucepan, set to medium, heat the milk, brown sugar and honey, to about 150° (do use a thermometer) remove from heat, add the butter and garlic. Stir occasionally, until the butter is melted. Mixture will clump up a little, that’s okay.

In a stand mixer sprinkle yeast over the water mixture and wait for at least 10 to 15 minutes until the yeast blooms.

Combine the all-purpose flour and bread flour in a mixing bowl.  Then add flour mixture to the bowl with the yeast mixture, pour in melted butter and garlic mixture. Mix on medium speed until the dough has come together and is smooth and elastic in texture and pulling away from the sides of the bowl, 5 to 7 minutes.

Line two baking sheets with silicone mats. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured cutting board and form into a ball. Cut into 4 equal pieces, and then cut those in half to form 8 equal pieces. Using your hands, roll each piece into a ball and place onto a prepared baking sheet. Cover with a dish cloth and let them rest in a warm place for 12 to 15 minutes.

Once rested, lightly dust your work surface again and roll the balls into 7-inch logs. Place onto the other prepared baking sheet, cover, place back in the warm spot and let rest for an additional 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place one oven rack high and one low. Line 2 more baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.

In a large pot, bring 8 cups water to a boil, and then add the baking soda. In batches, place the dough in the water and cook for 30 seconds on each side. (Don’t fill the pan, with water, adding the baking soda will make it boil over.  Be careful.)

Using a slotted spatula, remove the pretzel rounds and place onto the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle the pretzel rounds with course seasalt as they come out of the water, to ensure the salt sticks. Then cut 3 diagonal slits on top of the bread, not too deep.

Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, rotating between the top and bottom racks of the oven halfway through the cooking.

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