Responding to: email@example.com (John Denning)
JD> But often our bread comes out short, and compact. We are at about
JD> 4200'. Could that be it? We are also in a dry climate.
You are describing a classic case of too little liquid. Many people make
the mistake of assuming that they can make their bread using the same
measurements week after week, no matter how the weather changes. That
Flour is very much affected by the ambient humidity. It absorbs moisture
when the humnidity is high and often gives it up when the humidity is
low. You must learn to adjust what you do to the amount of moisture in
You will have to learn how to judge whether or not to add more liquid
or flour when you start mixing the ingredients.
I suggest that you get into the habit of only adding 75% of the liquid
called for in the recipes. Start the machine and let it run for a minute
or so. Now open the cover and study the dough mixture. It should be
granular and probably will not have formed a dough ball.
Add liquid, 1 teaspoon at a time, waiting 30 seconds between additions,
until the doughball coalesces and smoothes out. If you go too far and
the doughball becomes slick and wet and a smear of dough forms on the
bottom of the pan or the walls of the pan get wet, add flour, 1 teaspoon
at a time, waiting 45 seconds between additions, until the bottom of the
pan cleans up, the walls of the pan are wiped clean and the doughball
becomes smooth and slightly dry.
Shut off the machine, reach in and feel the dough. It should feel
slightly dry, very smooth, soft and elastic. Like a "Baby's Butt."
Restart the machine. If the dough was tacky, continue adding flour as
before until you obtain that "Baby's Butt" feel.
Add one final teaspoon of flour, close the machine and go away until the
baking and cooling cycles are completed.