Bread Machine at Altitude

My baby is a Zojirushi BB-PAC20. It does everything you’d want and a few things I’m not sure I’d ever need. Bread, cake, meatloaf, jam…you name it.

The one problem is that the altitude adjustments in the Zoji cookbook aren’t very helpful or clear. I had mixed results with them, so I did some experiments. I’ve already said the key is to use fast rise yeast on the regular rise setting in another post and I swear to you that is the fastest way to make sure things come out light and fluffy.

BUT there are some other things you need to do to ensure your recipes come out. First and foremost, you need to reduce your amount of yeast by 1/4 to 1/3, depending on how high up you are. I’m in Denver, and if a recipe says 2 1/2 tsp yeast, I put 2 tsp or so. I also put in a little less sugar or honey. More liquid is also a good idea if you’re in a very dry climate like I am. Finally, I almost always add a whole egg. The extra protein and structure REALLY helps to keep everything lofty and chewy and delicious. I crack my egg into my liquid measuring cup and then add more water or milk to the line.

If you’re using sourdough starter, I HIGHLY recommend feeding it the day before and keeping it very very runny. It seems to really help.

Without further ado, here’s my basic Zojirushi bread recipe. I’ll add some more as I get them perfected, but this one WORKS. If all you have is active dry yeast, I suggest using the regular dough course and then letting it rise a little longer before throwing it in the oven.

Basic white bread (for a 2lb bread machine)

1.25 cups water/milk (or watery sourdough starter if you’re feeling daring)
1 egg
4.25 cups bread flour
3.5 Tbsp Sugar
2 Tbsp Dry Milk (omit if you’re using actual milk)
2 tsp Salt
2.5 Tbsp butter
2 tsp Rapid Rise Yeast

Use the regular basic setting and let ‘er rip. I keep an eye on everything as it mixes, and add a little more liquid if it doesn’t look wet enough. If you can’t watch it, err on the side of more liquid and just add a tablespoon or two of extra water or milk. Too wet is better than too dry in my experience.

The machine will do the rest, but if you want a more evenly shaped loaf, you can muck with it a bit after the final rise. You can also remove the paddles if you want a prettier loaf, but I don’t care enough to bother with that crap.


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